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Andy Lee to fight in June in New York

lee67111By Scott Gilfoid: Former WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee (34-3-1, 24 KOs) says he’ll be fighting in June against a still to be determined opponent in New York. The 31-year-old Lee lost his WBO 160lb title to Billy Joe Saunders last December in a 12 round majority decision loss at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK.

Lee was knocked down twice in the 3rd round, but Saunders did zero for the remainder of the fight, and it was a winnable one for Lee if he had with some more aggression.

“The preliminary plans are that I will fight again in June in New York, with an opponent to be confirmed,” Lee told “I want to win my title back. It hurts losing it. I worked hard to get it and I want to get it back just as badly.”

Well, Lee needs to try and get a rematch with the 26-year-old Saunders before someone else beats him, because he’s not exactly the best of the world champions at middleweight. Saunders is very, very vulnerable to losing his WBO 160lb title in my view, and I think even if he chooses to milk his strap by taking soft jobs, he could still lose. The World Boxing Organization has a lot of less than talented fighters in their top 15, but even those guys would difficult fights for Saunders.

As I mentioned previously before Lee’s loss to Saunders last December, Saunders is pretty much just a six round fighter. He gasses out after six rounds and stays gassed out. Unfortunately for Lee, he fought too timidly to take advantage of Saunders fading in their fight.

A good fighter would have jumped all over Saunders and likely taken him out in the second half of the fight. Lee was too busy walking on eggshells to score a knockout. Lee was jabbing and boxing Saunders like he was fighting a KO artist rather than a light puncher.

“He [Saunders] said he won’t give me a rematch so I’m going to have to force it by winning a fight again and putting myself back in that number one contender position spot.”

What’s interesting is that Saunders said last Saturday night that he would give Fedor Chudinov a shot at his WBO title following his loss to Felix Sturm in Germany. Chudinov lost his WBA Super World super middleweight title by a controversial 12 round majority decision in a fight that many fans felt that he deserved to win.

I’m not so sure how the WBO would feel about sanctioning a fight between Saunders and the beaten Chudinov. That would seem too much like Saunders hand-picking his opponents. Besides that, I doubt that Chudinov could melt down to 160 from 168 without it weakening him greatly. Chudinov would likely need to go through a lot of pain to drain

Lee is ranked #6 WBO, #10 WBC, and that means it’s going to take him a quite a while for him to get ranked No.1 with the WBO. The only way I can see Lee picking up a high ranking in a hurry if he faces someone difficult and beats them.

Will Lee face someone dangerous? My guess is no. If Lee could start fighting someone with a pulse, then I could see him picking up a No.1 ranking by 2017. But, I don’t think he’s going to do that. I see Lee taking the easy route by facing weak opposition, which means we likely won’t see him ranked No.1 by at least 2018 at best. If Lee does want to become ranked No.1 fast, then he needs to beat one or more of the following contenders: Arif Magomedov, Tureano Johnson, Hugo Centeno, Jr., Antoine Douglas, Tommy Langford or Artur Akavov.

Lee hasn’t won a fight since his 6th round stoppage victory over Matt Korobov in December 2014. In Lee’s last two fights, he has a 12 round draw against Peter Quillin and the loss to Saunders.

Lee will be turning 32 next June, and I think he needs to start taking some risky fights the way that Gennady Golovkin has been doing. Lee is too up there in age for him to take things slowly by fighting weak opposition.

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