Andy Lee vs. KeAndrae Leatherwood – Results
By Eric Baldwin: Former WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee (35-3-1, 24 KOs) defeated KeAndrae Leatherwood (19-4-1, 12 KOs) by an 8 round unanimous decision on Saturday night in the non-televised portion of the HBO PPV card at Madison Square Garden in New York. The judges scored the fight 80-72, 78-74 and 79-73. Boxing News 24 scored the fight 80-72 for the 32-year-old Lee.
Fighting for the first time in over a year since his loss to Billy Joe Saunders in December 2015, Lee fought in a tentative manner in the first three rounds against the 28-year-old Leatherwood. Lee looked like a fighter that was afraid to let his hands go in rounds 1-3. When Lee did throw his shots, he was getting countered by the quicker Leatherwood, who was countering hi during the early going.
The crowd was mostly patient with the lack of action in the first three rounds. There was scatter of boos in rounds 2 and 3. The boxing fans obviously expected more from Lee, as he usually is a very aggressive fighter that brings drama to his fights. He was fighting too timidly against a fighter that was not in the same class as him.
In round 4, Lee started to get more comfortable in landing hard jabs and left hands to the head of Leatherwood. This was the Lee of old that boxing fans were expecting to see tonight. However, near the end of the round, Leatherwood landed a big right hand to the head of Lee that caught him flush. Lee took the shot, but he didn’t throw many punches in the remainder of the round. Lee looked uncomfortable.
Lee dominated round 5 with his jab. He was landing it with more authority in this round compared to in the previous rounds, and Leatherwood looked uncomfortable. Lee turned it up a notch in terms of his offense in this round. Leatherwood was not ready for the transformation from Lee.
In round 6, Lee started to go to the body with some really hard lefts that had Leatherwood backing up. Before that, Leatherwood was the one coming forward trying to initiate the action. The hard body shots from Lee caused Leatherwood to back off entirely. Of all the shots that Lee landed in the fight up to this point, it was his body shots that seemed to intimidate Leatherwood. He did not like getting hit with Lee’s hard punches to the body. Leatherwood landed almost nothing in the entire 6th round. He was just standing in front of Lee without letting his hands go.
At the start of round 7, Lee hit Leatherwood with a huge right hand to the head that got his attention. Lee threw mostly jabs and left hands for the remainder of the round. For some reason, Lee did not open any additional right hooks. Going into tonight’s fight, Lee’s right hook had been his knockout blow. The fact that he rarely used it in the fight allowed Leatherwood to hang around instead of being stopped.
Lee fought in a conservative manner in round 8 in throwing mostly jabs and straight lefts. Leatherwood didn’t bother trying to mount any attacks on Lee, as he just looked like he was done for the night.
All in all, I was a decent performance from Lee. It looked like purposely fought slowly in the first three rounds to avoid getting caught. In Lee’s past fights, he’d been dropped in the first three rounds by Billy Joe Saunders and Peter Quillin. Lee appeared to be making a conscious effort tonight to start out slowly so that he could get warmed up properly before he opened up with his offense. It was a smart approach by Lee, because he sailed through the first three rounds without getting hit that much.