Boxing: Lee left to lick wounds after bruising loss
ANDY LEE lost his quest for the WBC World middleweight title after being battered into submission by Mexico's Julio Cesar Chavez Jr at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas on Saturday night.
Lee was taken into protective custody by referee Laurence Cole in the seventh round after shipping a barrage of unanswered punches from his opponent.
It was a brutal end for the Limerick fighter, who was ahead on all three judges' cards (58-54) when the referee intervened 2:21 into the three-minute frame.
The 6ft 2in southpaw started sharply and was using his height and reach advantage and raking jab to claim at least two of the opening three rounds.
But once Chavez, who was defending his title for a third time, started walking through Lee's jab from the fourth stanza on, it all began to unravel for the 2004 Olympian.
The pair traded some big shots in the fifth, Chavez getting the better of those exchanges en route to piling on more pressure in the sixth. An exhausted Lee was backed up against the ropes in the seventh and, with Chavez repeatedly finding the target with head shots, the ref correctly called a halt to the fight.
The unbeaten Chavez now has WBC kingpin Sergio 'Maravilla' Martinez -- who beat Lee's compatriot Matthew Macklin in March -- in his sights.
But for 28-year-old Lee it's back to the drawing board after the second defeat of his 30-bout pro career fighting out of the Detroit Kronk.
"I have no excuses. He's a good fighter and my punches had no effect on him. I tip my hat to him," said the bruised Limerick man.
Chavez left the building with the WBC belt still adorning his waist on Saturday night, but controversy also followed him out the door as he apparently was unable to give a urine sample for a drugs test.
The Mexican, who also neglected to give a mandatory urine sample when he successfully defended his title against Marco Antonio Rubio in February, claimed that Lee failed to hurt him.
"I wanted to see if he had any power. I saw he didn't have anything. He never hurt me. He gave me everything he had, but he couldn't do anything to me," Chavez said.