Irish Kronk Middleweight star Andy Lee (28-1, 20KOS), ranked WBC #4. WBA and WBO #2 will challenge Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (45-0-1, 31 KOs) for his WBC world middleweight title on June 16 on HBO's "World Championship Boxing" at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
Lou DiBella, (Lee's promoter) commented "The Chavez-Lee fight is done between me and Bob Arum, CEO Top Rank. We've agreed to everything and we are putting everything to paper. And now we're working on the contract for the winner to face Martinez. Arum and I have had substantive conversations and I'm confident we will get that done in short order too."
"I think it's a very exciting and hard fight," said Steward, who once trained the great Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. for three consecutive junior welterweight world title fights in 1994. "I think it will be a very tough fight. Chavez has developed into a real fighter. He's become a serious fighter. He has very high energy in the ring. He cuts off the ring very well and smothers you. He gets inside and works the body like his daddy did. Him and Andy, they're both big guys for middleweights, they're both good punchers and they both get hit, which makes it a good fight."
The 26-year-old Chavez , of Mexico, will be making his third defense, all in Texas. He made his first defense in Houston by knocking out Peter Manfredo Jr. in the fifth round in November and he scored a unanimous decision against Marco Antonio Rubio at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Feb. 4.
Even though Lee will be in hostile territory with a largely Mexican crowd, Steward is confident. "I feel very good about it," he said. "I know it's not the ideal situation for us because everything is against Andy, but I have the confidence that he has the ability to score a knockout. We know what we're going up against with the whole situation. But this is the type of opportunity we can't pass up."
Lee said he has no concerns about going to fight Chavez on enemy turf. "I'm actually looking forward to it," he commented from the Kronk Gym in Detroit. "I like having that bunker mentality when everything is against you. We're gonna train hard and Emanuel will have the right plan and we will go in there and get that belt. It's my turn. I've waited a long time and it's been a long journey. The time is right for me physically and mentally and I am just glad it's here. I never thought I would get this fight, so it's very hard to contain my excitement. "
Lee also hopes to win and get the fight with Martinez. "We wanted to fight Sergio for a long time and Andy got tired of being on his undercards, but we always wanted Martinez," Steward said. "Now we can get him by beating Chavez."
"I can beat up Chavez and it will make me a star and then I can beat Martinez and that will make me a superstar," Lee said. "It's very exciting to be two fights away from that. This will be a vindication of my lifetime of work. I've been in the gym already today. I know what's ahead of me. I know there is hard work to do. I'm ready for it."
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