By Jonny Stapleton
ANDY Lee wants to come home for Christmas before launching a world title assault in 2012.
The Limerick pugilist is determined to become champion of the world by summer of next
year and wants to use a fight back home to move him a step closer to a tilt at a major crown.
Fresh off a career best revenge win over Brian Vera, the Irish middleweight said he was looking at fighting in Ireland on December 17 before returning Stateside in a bid to become world champ.
Speaking to Newstalk’s Off the Ball the Kronx fighter said,
“I am knocking on the door of a middleweight title fight. I would fight any middleweight out there. I want to be world champion so bad. Before the first half of next year is over I want to be middleweight champion of the world. We will see what is immediately next over the next two weeks but I want to be out again before Christmas. Hopefully December 17 in Ireland.”
If the Emanuel Steward trained southpaw does secure a tilt he is confident it will most likely be against the middleweight deemed the best in the division, WBC Diamond champ Sergio Martinez.
WBC belt holder Julio Chavez Junior seems an easier route to the top and is a fighter Lee would challenge ‘in a heart beat’, but the Detroit based puncher claims the son of Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez hasn’t the bottle to face him.
Indeed Lee claims Chavez jnr is one of the most protected fighters in boxing and won’t fight anyone of note.
The Irish middleweight believes Top Rank- Chavez Jnr’s promoters- look at him as a commodity rather than a fighter and don’t want to risk the ticket seller against decent opposition.
“Chavez Jnr never beat anyone to become champ. The WBC ensured he could fight for a world title because his father is a legend and fought for their belts regularly. Top Rank won’t risk him loosing the belt. I would fancy that fight and would take it in a hear beat, but they won’t take it. So I have to focus on Martinez even though he is the best.”
Prior to his fight with Darren Barker on Saturday Martinez had been labelled the third best fighter in the world outside the power two Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
However after a less than convincing performance against a fighter, who has Lee and Matthew Macklin previous, the champ’s standing has fallen somewhat.
Lee believes talk of the Argentines demise is a bit premature.
He stresses the champion may have underestimated Barker and stressed he wouldn’t make that mistake against him.
“A lot of people are reading to much into Martinez’s performance against Barker. I think even though he didn’t underestimate Barker he subconsciously let his performance drop. If he was to fight me he would be totally different. I wouldn’t judge him on that performance,” Lee added.
With Martinez, Macklin and Lee all signed to Lou DiBella it is inevitable that one of the Irish middleweights will get a shot at the reigning champion. Lee believes he is ahead of Macklin in the running order and wouldn’t like to fight the former European champion unless something was on the line.
“Macklin is on the peripheral. I am in lead position at the minute. I am a leading contender. I would fight Matthew but if a title was on the line or there was a massive incentive.”