Ireland’s very own, Andy Lee faces his biggest challenge in his professional career as he takes on unbeaten Mexican hero Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for Chavez’s WBC middleweight title on Saturday, June 16 in El Paso, Texas, and although a huge task lies ahead of Lee, I believe, unlike many pundits, it is a fight that he can win in style.
So Lee is a heavy underdog against Chavez Jr., but why? Lee is ranked at #6 in the world in the middleweight division (Chavez is number 3), sitting ahead of the likes of Matthew Macklin, Martin Murray and Darren Barker, three fighters who top analysts often consider stronger candidates than Andy Lee. Something I disagree with.
With only a single blot on his copybook, Lee sought out and avenged that defeat to Brian Vera by convincingly beating him after Vera stopped Lee in 2008.
Lee trains in America under the mentorship legendary trainer, Emmanuel Steward, who could be the difference come June 16th. Steward has said via his Twitter account that training is going very well and sparring is also looking good, Lee is much better than people give him credit for. He has the heart of a warrior and can trade big shots with every fighter he has faced. The question is can he take big shots from Chavez Jr. He is a big middleweight and starts training early to make the weight in time.
It is not as straight forward as many people think. Chavez Jr. has had trouble within his camp, with many people reporting a split with Alex Ariza, his strength and conditioning coach, so not the best preparation for a big fight.
If Lee can pull off a huge victory, it would be a huge achievement, in Irish boxing. It would also lead to a potentially huge clash with the best middleweight on the planet, and P4P #3 fighter Sergio Martinez. Martinez has chased a Chavez Jr. fight for 2 years, but Lee can tear up the script in dry heat of El Paso and become the man to beat in what is becoming an open competitive division.