Fresh off one of the more improbable and shocking comeback knockouts of the year, ‘Irish’ Andy Lee may now be in the running to get the first crack at the newly crowned middleweight champion of the world, Miguel Cotto.
This will be Lee’s 2nd attempt at capturing the very title that Cotto holds. Back in 2012, Lee made his first attempt against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. While Lee boxed effectively and won rounds, the lack of power to sufficiently keep Chavez on the outside of his jab allowed Chavez to walk Lee down. Chavez ate everything Lee threw at him and delivered harder, crushing blows to the body and head.
In the 7th round, Lee ate a big right hand followed by a barrage of hard body shots and hooks. Referee Laurence Cole stepped in ended the night for Lee. Lee was up on the scorecards, but without the fitness or power to keep Chavez Jr at bay, it was only a matter of time before he would be stopped.
Lee has been on the rebuild since then. He’s fought a handful of club fighters around the world including a crushing body shot knockout to Ferenc Hafner and a wild out-of-nowhere knockout of John Jackson on the Martinez-Cotto undercard.
Switching gears, one has to ask the question of why is Lee likely to get this shot against Cotto over other, more qualified contenders? One explanation is that Cotto’s December return is going to be on regular HBO.
Currently, the fights that fans really want to see Cotto in are all pay-per-view. Top Rank and HBO are probably aware that there’s been an overload of pay-per-view’s in the past year and sales have indicated as such.
December will likely be an opponent HBO can feel content with having on their regular channel and Andy Lee fits that description. He’s a tough competitor coming off a knockout win whose last loss can be explained by looking at fight night weights.
As for the elephant in the room, the man who is simply respecting box, he’ll continue to be the kid in the class whose eagerness (or desperation) to have a friend is off-putting. For Andy Lee, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. His last fight was at 154, perhaps in the hopes of taking an easier route at getting a title, and in a way it has been. Just not the title he was thinking of.
Should Lee get the fight, as a fan, one must ask how it’s acceptable that Cotto gets to defend the lineal middleweight title against a fighter who just fought as junior middleweight when not only is their a mandatory in Marco Antonio Rubio he could possibly face, but also a legit middleweight title holder that fans are demanding someone to fight.
If we’re to accept that Cotto isn’t going to face Golovkin, then who would you rather see him face, Andy Lee or Timothy Bradley?