By Jonny Stapleton
Andy Lee may be on verge of securing the world title shot he so desires and could replace Martin Murray as WBC middleweight Julio Chavez Jr’s June 16 opponent.
English fighter Murray initially beat Lee in the race to challenge the protected Mexican star, but visa issues meant he had to withdraw from his dream bout earlier this week.
Martin’s misfortune may prove Lee’s opportunity, however and the Kronk southpaw could secure the world title fight he has craved for so long.
The 2004 Olympian is ready, willing and able to fill the Murray shaped hole on June 16.
“I would relish the opportunity to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for the WBC title on June 16. I’m ready and available, let’s make the fight. It would be a tough fight but I believe I have the skills to beat him and end his reign as champion. The Irish and Mexican people like a good fight, so let’s get it on.”
In February this year, Lee was already in the frame to fight Chavez Jr. The fight was agreed in principle but the Mexican pulled out citing Lee’s southpaw’s stance as a problem. However, since the Murray fight fell, the son of legend, Julio Cesar Chavez has said he is open to fighting the Irish man, much to Lee’s delight.
‘With Julio now up for the fight, there are no obstacles in the way to make the fight, it is now up to Julio’s promoter Bob Arum and my promoter Lou DiBella to cut a deal and get the fight on for the fans. I am ready and willing to step through the ropes on June 16 and go to battle with Julio for the WBC middleweight title. Bring it on.’
The hungry Kronk fighter is presently listed in the world rankings as WBC #4, WBA #2 andWBO #2 and following a 13 fight winning streak feels he has paid his world title dues. LouDiBella did named Lee as a possible opponent for Sergio Martinez after the Argentine defeated Matthew Macklin on Saturday, but the Irish middleweight would much prefer the chance to defeat the unbeaten yet over protected Chavez jr.
“I have been patiently waiting for my opportunity and now that the dust has settle in the first quarter of 2012 there should be different options emerging for me to challenge for a world title. I strongly feel I deserve my shot. I have worked hard in the last 6 years and with dedication and perseverance got myself positioned as a legitimate world title contender.
Lee’s manager and trainer Emanuel Steward commented believes the Detroit based fighter is the most legitimate contender and is confident the fight can be made despite the fact Top Rank previously canceled negotiations because the feared Lee’s southpaw style .
“Andy is the most prominent and visible middleweight contender resident in the United States at this time; it makes good sporting and business sense for HBO and promoters to make the fight between Andy and Julio.”