Andy Lee wins, Matthew Macklin calls him out
Lee defeats Fitzgerald in Belfast last weekend
Based on the weekend’s fight in Belfast, that is the sensible course of action. Macklin’s confidence about beating Lee might have been further bolstered by Lee’s performance in his victory over Fitzgerald.
It was a night of firsts for Lee, who was boxing for the first time in Belfast and who was fighting for the first time as a professional without the influence of the late Emanuel Steward in his corner.
The new man in Lee’s corner was Adam Booth, and he will know that he and his new charge have a lot of work to do after this display.
Lee was fighting an inspired Fitzgerald (13-4, 4 KOs), who knew he was taking on a mammoth challenge and went on to deliver an excellent performance.
Lee was by far the better technician and boxed rings around Fitzgerald at times, but the Dubliner’s sheer will to make the most of this opportunity caused Lee serious discomfort, particularly in the middle third of the fight.
What Fitzgerald lacked in skill he made up for in effort, and the tempo he set upset Lee, who fought on the back foot and looked a little ring rusty throughout.
The early rounds went to Lee, who jabbed away at Fitzgerald’s head and worked the body with left uppercuts and right hooks. However, Fitzgerald kept coming forward and enjoyed moments of pressure on Lee.
In the sixth and the seventh Fitzgerald worked hard, and in the latter stanza he seemed to stumble Lee slightly with a left hook and left uppercut to the head. However, Lee was able to box his way out of any serious trouble in the last few rounds.
Lee, who won 98-94 on points, was upfront about his showing in the post-fight interview. “Not my best, but saying that he was very spirited and you have to give him credit. He was very determined,” Lee said.
“He rose to the occasion. I boxed okay in spurts. It was a nice 10 rounds and I will take something from it, but it was the first time with Adam and we are getting used to each other but no excuses. I won the fight and I will keep moving forward.”
Trainer Booth was keeping his focus on the bigger project. “We know what we are working on and I definitely saw elements of that. I am pleased with the things he did technically in there tonight, and as far as I am concerned there is progression and I am looking forward to the next one,” he said.
There will have to be progression if Macklin is Lee’s next opponent. As spirited as Fitzgerald’s pressure was, Macklin would be capable of much more pressure with a far more refined boxing game and considerably more power.
Lee’s preference for Barker next might be because the Londoner is more of a boxer than a pressure fighter, a type of opponent that Lee has had issues with in the past, most notably in his losses against Chavez last June and Brian Vera earlier in his career.
However, it appears at presstime that Macklin still has no opponent for his May fight date, which might explain why he took the opportunity to call out Lee so vehemently. If DiBella cannot secure a fight for Macklin soon, he may try to entice Lee into foregoing the tune-ups to take the fight.
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