Andy Lee: ďI want to make it clear that I want the fightóI think I can beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr!Ē

by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This weekís edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with middleweight contender ďIrishĒ Andy Lee (27-1, 19 KOs)who is scheduled to face Saul Duran (40-19-2, 33 KOs) this Saturday night in Novi, Michigan.


Lee spoke about his upcoming fight, rumors regarding a June 2 bout against Julio Cesar Chavez Junior, his future plans, the upcoming fight between Sergio Martinez and Matthew Macklin, the current heavyweight picture, what itís like to train with Wladimir Klitschko, the Haye-Chisora press conference brawl, and more! Here are some excerpts from that interview:

His views on his upcoming fight March 10 (the opponent was since changed to Saul Duran):

ďHeís pretty good. Iím not sure if heís the opponent or whatís going on. There have been a lot of changes with the opponent. Last I heard it was Camacho, but it could change again. Who I fight to me, I know itís important who I fight, but Iíve trained well and Iím very focused and I know Iím fighting Saturday. So Iím just working towards the date and expecting anyone to be in the other corner. Theyíre going to have somebody there and hopefully Iíll have a good fight.Ē

Regarding the March 10 card that he headlines:

ďI think itís going to be a really good card. Anybody whoís here locally should come out and watch it, because there are a lot of good young prospects. A couple of guys will be making their debuts, Jacob Bamos and a guy named William McElroy. Tony Harrison is fighting on the card. Heís 5-0 with 5 knockouts. A guy named LeAndre White will be having his second, and Ernie Garza is a young Mexican kid from Detroit. He was a very good amateur and heíll be having his debut. There are some good prospects on the card, and Iím headlining the show. I remember when I made my debut here in Detroit. It was a big occasion for me and it meant the world to me, and itís real nice for these young fighters to be making their debut on my undercard, and Iím proud to be the headline fight on the night.Ē

Regarding rumors that he may possibly have a date ahead with Julio Cesar Chavez Junior on June 2, and whether he views his March 10 fight as a tune-up for that possibility:

ďYou know itís always dangerous when you go into a fight thinking itís a tune-up because you can fall into a sense of complacency. But Iíve prepared well and every fighter that gets in there with you has serious intentions of winning the fight, so you canít take anyone lightly but it is just a keep busy fight. Hopefully this leads to a bigger fight. Iím going to just keep busy until I get a bigger fight later on in the year. There has been mention of me fighting Chavez. Iím not sure where itís at right now. I know Martin Murray is also being mentioned. Hopefully I can get the fight. I want the fight. Iíve stated it. Iíve made myself clear that I want the fightóI think I can beat Julio Cesar Chavez! I think my time has come. Iíve served my time and cemented myself as a contender, and I want to challenge some of these guys who have the belts. If one of them gives me a shot I believe I can beat any of them. So itís only a matter of time. Iím going to keep winning, and keep moving up the rankings, and eventually some of these guys are going to have to fight me. They canít deny me forever! Itís been frustrating. Iím missing on the Felix Sturm fight, Iím missing out on fighting Martinez, but Iíll keep going and keep winning, and hopefully my day will come soon.Ē

On how he feels to finally get his 2012 campaign underway after having a strong finish to end 2011 when he avenged his only professional loss:

ďGood. Like I said I finished up last year pretty good and on a high end. I really wanted to kick off this year and land some big, big fights. But itís been frustrating. Itís not what I wanted for the first quarter of 2012. Like I said missing out on those bigger fights and having to take this fight, which is really just to keep me busy. In a way Iím lucky to have this fight, because if I didnít have this what we call a keep busy fight, then I wouldnít be fighting the total amount of fights Iíd like. I like to fight regularly and stay active. You know Iím always in the gym anyway, so I might as well be fighting. I have this fight and then hopefully it leads to a bigger fight later on in the year. Iím ranked across the board, mostly in the top ten across the board. The champions are there and theyíre having these rounds of fights, and after they have these whoever wins these fights with Macklin-Martinez, Danny Geale just beat Adama in Australia, and Felix Sturm is about to fight Zbik, and Chavez Junior is looking for a fight in June, and I want to fight any of those guys. I believe Iím ready. I believe my time has come. Iíve put the work in, Iím with the best trainer in the world, I got the best team around me, and itís time. The time is coming.Ē

His views on Julio Cesar Chavezís last performance against Marco Antonio Rubio, and his views on how Chavez Junior has grown and progressed:

ďI think heís coming along well there. You know at the start of his career he was a bit of a joke inside of boxing. You know he was kind of a gimmick that he had his fatherís name and he had a following in the Mexican crowd through his father. Top Rank was moving him nicely and matching him nicely. Now really I think since he had the John Duddy fight he kind of turned a corner, and people started taking him seriously. He started to prove himself in fights, and as a fighter he seemed to improve with Freddie Roach, and you can see heís steadily improving. He acts like a fighter in the ring now. You know when he gets hit he comes straight back and tries to hit the guys who put a little on him. He seems to have a good punch and he boxes well and knows his way around the ring. Heís a serious fighter now. You canít mistake it. Heís definitely improved a lot. In the fight against Rubio I thought he did what he had to do. You can see he wasnít having one of his best nights, but he kind of just bullied Rubio around the ring and outmuscled Rubio and used his physical advantage to push Rubio around. He got the job done. I thought he looked very good against Manfredo and he looked good against Duddy. Like I said heís improving and heís a serious fighter now.Ē

His views on the upcoming bout between Sergio Martinez and Matthew Macklin:

ďYou know it is an intriguing fight because Matthew Macklin comes in with a lot of intensity and he comes to fight every time. You know heís a come forward aggressive fighter and we know Sergio likes to move and counterpunch. So itís going to be an intriguing fight. Who can set their game plan and cement their game plan to the best of their ability. My heart wants Macklin to win, because heís a friend of mine and Iíd like to see him win. Then my head says Sergio because of his pedigree and what heís done in the past. But Sergioís getting on in age and he didnít look that good against Barker. This is a good test for Sergio because maybe after the Barker fight he has to prove a little bit more and show that heís still on top and that heís not in decline. Heís going to have to do that against Macklin who should suit him. People say stylistically Matthew Macklin suits Sergio, but Matthew Macklin can box as well! Heís not just a fighter. He can box, and I think if Matthew boxes a bit more than fights he could give Sergio some trouble. Weíll see! Itís going to be an interesting fight and Iíll watch with interest. Iíll be hoping Matthew Macklin wins the fight.Ē

His views on the recent heavyweight action and whether he thinks fans have hope that the division can be improving:

ďWell itís good that we had those three title fights in consecutive weeks. It brings more attention to the heavyweight division, but Wladimir and Vitali are the dominant heavyweights. Until they retire I donít see anybody beating them, unless they just hang around until theyíre 50. But there are some good young heavyweights coming up. I think those guys like Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, and David Price, those I think are the three best young heavyweights coming up right now. Sorry if I forgot anybody, but those three I see stand out. I think those guys donít need to rush into fighting the Klitschkos any time soon. The Klitschkos are experienced strong men and theyíre big and theyíre athletic, and they know how to fight, and theyíre smart. Theyíre smart boxers! Itís probably good advice for them to stay away from the Klitschkos, get their experience, put in their time, and in a year or two the Klitschkos will retire and then those guys will be ready and do something exciting for the heavyweight division. Especially now Iím a big fan of Tyson Fury. Iíve seen him train, Iíve trained with him, and I know what he can do. I think to me Tyson is the best out of the young heavyweights out there. I know he does a lot of talking and people donít always like to hear that, but Iím telling you he can back it up! Iíve seen him in the gym, Iíve seen what he can do, and Iíve seen him fight. Compare what he did to Chisora. Vitali had a tough night with Chisora. I know he was injured, but Tyson beat Chisora easy so that just shows what Tyson can do when heís on top form. For me Tyson Fury is the king of the future heavyweights.Ē

Regarding his experiences training and working with Wladimir Klitschko inside the ring:

ďWladimir is big and heís very strong physically, but heís also got good speed, and heís got good feet. Since heís been with Emanuel, you know Emanuelís improved his footwork and his coordination overall. He has this offbeat rhythm where his feet and he moves, but when he punches itís at a different rhythm. Heís very hard to time. Looking from the outside people donít know. Iíve been in camp with Wladimir countless times with him. He understands. When the new guys come in sparring, they all have these big ideas about what theyíre going to do to Wladimir. Everyone has this idea about what they are going to do, and Iím sure David Haye fully believed in his strategy and what he was going to do. But when you get in the ring with Wladimir itís a different world. Itís totally different. Whatís in your mind and what you think youíre going to do, when you get in there he just nullifies it. Heís so good at certain little things. You canít really see them until youíre in there with him. Heís very good defensively and he knows what heís doing. He jabs and he jabs, and he lines you up and he drops the right hand. If you attack him he knows how to tie you up and he knows lots of little tricks. Heís heavyweight champion and all of those fights, he has over 200 fights as an amateur and a professional and has years of experience. You donít do all of that without learning a trick or two, and Wladimir has a lot of tricks. Not only that, the Klitschkos should be held in higher esteem. I know they get a lot of criticism for being boring, but these guys are gentlemen inside and outside the ring and theyíre ambassadors for boxing. They do so much for charity. For me Wladimir is my favorite fighter because of what he does in the ring and what heís done out of the ring.Ē

His views on the incident that occurred between David Haye and Dereck Chisora and the type of attention it brought to boxing:

ďIt got a lot of hype you know, and David Haye seems to be good at getting a lot of hype. Some said it was a black eye for boxing that the two guys, especially British boxers, were over there making a show of themselves in front of the German press and the world press. But it did get a lot of attention and I guess if Haye and Chisora fight now it would be a pay-per-view sellout because everyone would want to see it. Thereís always been controversy especially with the heavyweights. Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis had a brawl. Even Ali and Frazier had a brawl on TV one time, and that stuff happens. Fighters are fighters, and once youíre challenged as a man, I donít think either of them could have walked away with that many people watching. It was a thing that just escalated. First it was all talk and just jibes back and forth, back and forth, and then it just escalated and just got out of hand. Iím sure both of them are regretting it right now because neither of them came out looking good. It wasnít good for either of them, but when youíre in the heat of the moment and you have tempers thatís what could happen.Ē

On what he expects in his upcoming March 10 fight:

ďYou know winning and look good and hopefully get a knockout. Iím not fighting a top of the line opponent. Itís not really about that. Itís not a big fight, Iím not making loads of money from it, and it was really hard to get an opponent. So itís a good exercise for me to go out there. You know Iíve been training and focused for a fight. I got my weight down. Iíll be 160 for this fight and Iíll get used to fighting at championship weight. Itís just a good exercise for me to go out there, put on the small gloves, have a nice fight, and hopefully get a good knockout and move on from there and look for a bigger fight later on in the year.Ē


For those interested in listening to the Andy Lee interview in its entirety, it begins approximately one hour and twenty minutes into the program.



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Article posted on 09.03.2012

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