Thursday 18 January 2018

Boxing: Lee gains revenge by wiping smile from Vera's face

ANDY LEE avenged the only defeat of his professional career when he outclassed Brian Vera at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Saturday night.

The Limerick southpaw dropped the Texan middleweight early in the fight en route to a unanimous (99-90 99-90 98-91) decision.

Vera, who shocked Lee with a controversial seventh-round TKO in Connecticut in 2007, was wearing his trademark grin in the opening round of Saturday's rematch. But 2004 Olympian Lee wiped the smirk of the American's face after he floored the Austin native with a stunning left late in the second.

Lee, controlling the tempo of the 10-rounder and working well behind his raking jab, also detonated a superb right in the sixth which saw Vera double over and touch the canvas with his glove. That should have been ruled a knockdown, but it mattered little at the final bell of a one-sided contest that improves Lee to 27 wins (19 KOs) from 28 paid outings.

The pair met on the Sergio Martinez/Darren Barker undercard. Argentina-born Martinez, who was defending his WBC diamond middleweight title, KOd the English fighter in the 11th.

"The importance of this win was immeasurable. It had been years coming. If not for tonight, I would have been haunted forever," said Lee.

"I was trying to knock him out, but it's hard with him. Offence is his defence. He's not a counter-puncher, so I had to keep the pressure on."

Lee (27) could now meet 36-year-old Martinez at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick's Day. An all-Irish clash between Lee and Matthew Macklin is also a possibility for the New York venue.

Sean Monaghan completed the first part of an Ireland double over Texas on Saturday's undercard with a fourth-round TKO of Kentrell Claiborne.

European champion Darren Barker's brave bid to take Sergio Martinez's WBC middleweight title ended with an 11th-round knockout.

Barker's unbeaten record ended at 23 fights as the 29-year-old outsider took the Argentinian to one minutes and 29 seconds of round 11 before his opponent's power proved too much.

Irish Independent

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