Preview: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Andy Lee

By Sam Geraci: After some minor controversies surrounding the venue of the fight and the weights of their gloves, it appears that tonight in El Paso, TX, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (45-0-1, 31KOs) of Mexico and Andy Lee (28-1, 20 KOs) of Ireland are finally ready to step up in class to fight each other for Chavez’ 160lb WBC title.

Although neither fighter is recognized as the best in the 160lb division and the WBC title for which they are fighting can be viewed as another gift from WBC’s Jose Sulaiman to a big-name Mexican fighter in Chavez, similar to the gift of a title he gave to 154lb titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs), this fight is more significant than most.

To the boxing fan, this fight will establish the winner as a legitimate contender at 160lbs and as a worthy challenger to Sergio Martinez’ legitimate 160lb throne. To the winner, this fight should serve as a launching pad to big-money fights and recognition from the general public.

In what appears to be an excellent matchup between two offensive fighters in their primes who have not yet been tested by a top-ten opponent in his prime, Chavez is roughly a 3-1 favorite according to most odds-makers.

Despite the odds-makers’ views, which are rarely off, I am picking Lee.

While Chavez’s popularity and style are good for the sport and I have enjoyed watching his steady growth into a real fighter who delivers his shots with terrific leverage and purpose, I am not yet sold on Chavez beating a fast and talented fighter who is bigger than him.

In Lee, who might prove me wrong tonight and show that he is a fighter who lacks the “it” factor to get it done in a real fight, I believe boxing fans might rediscover the amateur standout who was once touted by many experts, including his legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, as the fighter who can do it all from an offensive standpoint.

Lee is a true 160lb fighter who is tall (6’2”) and strong. In addition to the size advantage that he brings into the ring, Lee also possesses one-punch power in both hands and is capable of throwing three and four punch combinations.

Although I see Lee’s power and size having an impact on the fight, ultimately, what I believe will determine the upset tonight is Lee’s ability to punch while moving. Unlike all of Chavez’ previous opponents, who were smaller than Chavez and lacked the footwork to avoid being broken down by thudding shots, Lee possesses superior footwork and he is capable of using that footwork and his solid jab to control the distance of the fight in order to create opportunities to land devastating counters.

Unless Lee doesn’t possess the “it” factor, which in that case I think Steward would have dropped him by now, I believe Lee should win by decision in an entertaining fight.

Article posted on 17.06.2012

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