by Jonny Stapleton
ANDY Lee laid his Bryan Vera a ghost to rest in a fight he claimed he had to win to keep his world title dream alive in Atlantic City in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The Limerick middleweight registered a quality packed performance and got the Vera revenge he craved redeeming his sole career defeat via a 98-91, 99-91, 99-91 points victory.
The three time Irish amateur champion, who looked class and controlled throughout, may have been schooled in the art of brawling when the pair first met in 2008 but he gave the Texan a boxing lesson on the under card of Sergio Martinez’s successful WBA Diamond title defence against Darren Barker.
The Kronk fighter boxed beautifully at range to close in on a world title tilt, dropped the Fort Worth native in round two and proved he is a creditable world title candidate.
Lee claimed if he had lost their would have been ‘no tomorrow’ but proved he has a bright future ahead of him with a career best performance.
“The importance of this win was immeasurable. It had been years coming. If not for tonight, I would’ve been haunted forever” Lee Said after the fight
Now having impressed in chief support bout to promotional stable mate Martinez’s world title win the Emanuel Steward trained Irish middleweight is lining up a world title tilt of his own.
Promoter Lou DiBella has hinted he may put the 2004 Irish Olympian with the Argentine, who didn’t live up to his best middleweight in the world billing but managed to stop Barker, on St Patrick Day next year.
But American promoter has also suggested Lee’s fellow Irish middleweight Matthew Macklin is in line for a March 17 Martinez clash.
However, Lee might have another route to the top of the world and has been linked with WBC champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr.
Lee, who is Tyson Fury’s cousin, doesn’t care which of the belt holders he gets but believes middleweights may be looking to avoid him now.”
“I said before this fight i want the next stop to be a world title. I’ll fight anyone, but no middleweight wants to fight me,” Lee added.
Revenge is a dish best served cold and it did seem like the Detroit based Irish contender was trying to knock the tough and durable Texan out cold.
Indeed the Lou DiBella promoted star, who with Matthew Macklin watched Martinez win over Barker with interest from ringside, was disappointed he didn’t take the short route to victory.
“I was trying to hit him and pull out so I wasn’t exposed. I was trying to knock him out, but it’s hard with him. With Brian Vera, offence is his defence. He’s not a counterpuncher, so I had to keep the pressure on. I was trying to get him with a big punch. He was gone at the beginning of the fight, I tried to take my time, which I should not have done. It gave him too much confidence.”