Andy Lee planning fall return, wants Jacobs
By Patrick McHugh: Former WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee (34-3-1, 24 KOs) plans on returning to the ring in the fall against an opponent still to be determined. Lee says he would like a title shot straightaway against WBA World middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs in his first fight back.
It’s unclear whether Jacobs will be able to accommodate Lee right away, because he’s using up his second straight voluntary defense by taking on Sergio Mora on July 30 in a rematch at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Unless the World Boxing Association is going to keep giving Jacobs voluntary defenses, I think Lee is going to have to fight someone else and wait for his crack at Jacobs.
The WBA is expected to order a fight between Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin soon, so it’s quite possible that if Lee wants a world title shot, he’ll need to go through Golovkin to get it, because Jacobs will almost surely wind up as another one of Golovkin’s knockout victims.
The 32-year-old Lee hasn’t fought since last December, when he was beaten by Billy Joe Saunders by a 12 round majority decision. Lee got careless in that fight and was knocked down twice in round three. Lee then waited too long before turning up the heat on Saunders.
By the time Lee started to fight hard, it was already the 6th round and he was hopelessly behind in the fight and needed knockdowns and/or a knockout to win. Unfortunately for Lee, he got neither.
“I haven’t anything in the works at the moment but I hope to return in the fall,” said Lee to ESPN.com. “I took a little time off as the last three years have been intense. Now I’m looking forward to returning to the ring refreshed. I’ve kept ticking over in the gym and when I return I’d like to fight [secondary titleholder] Danny Jacobs or have a rematch with [titleholder Billy Joe] Saunders. My ultimate goal is to regain a title and challenge [Gennady Golovkin].”
Lee has looked shaky in his last four fights against Billy Joe Saunders, Peter Quillin, Matt Korobov, and John Jackson. In each one of those fights, Lee trailed early and had to fight hard to come back. Lee knocked out Jackson in the 5th and Korobov in fights he was trailing in. In Lee’s fight against Quillin in April of last year, he was knocked down in rounds one and three. Lee came back and knocked Quillin down in the seventh and dominated the remainder of the contest to salvage a 12 round draw.
It might be a good idea for Lee to fight a rematch against Saunders because it would at least give Saunders an opponent to fight. Despite winning the title six months ago, Saunders still hasn’t defended the belt, and it’s unclear whether he will at this point.
If Saunders waits too much longer, he might end up getting stripped of his belt by the WBO for failing to defend the title. If Saunders could fight Lee, he would have a good money fight for the fans. It would be a winnable one for Saunders if he can start quickly like he did last December.