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Middleweight Andy Lee (26-1, 19 KOs) will fight Brian Vera (19-5, 12 KOs) on October 1 at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City in a bout scheduled for 10 rounds.
The fight will be televised on HBO and is the co-feature to the Sergio Martinez/Darren Barker middleweight fight for the WBC Diamond middleweight title in the main event.
“As you know, I've been waiting for this fight for a long time now, and I'm pleased to get this chance to avenge my only loss,” Lee told the Irish Voice last week.
“It's going to be a good fight. Vera is a tough man who comes to fight. We all know how he fights, it's his job to be the aggressor and try to break me down. And it's my job to box and take him out when the time is right.”
Lee and manager/trainer Emanuel Steward often talked of having tried to secure this fight in the past, and the confirmed date now means that the Irishman has his chance to purge the painful defeat from his system.
“Winning this fight will mean a lot to me personally. The loss still weighs on my mind,” says Lee.
“I've pressured my promoter Lou DiBella for this fight, and I want to thank him for making it. And so the stage is set, we'll see on October 1 whether or not I can avenge my only loss.”
DiBella, who also signed a contract to promote Vera in the past few weeks, added the potential carrot of a meeting with the winner of the Martinez/Barker fight for the victor of this grudge match.
“Andy Lee and Brian Vera are both on the cusp of a fight against the winner of the main event, so Lee must prove that his first fight with Vera was a fluke and Vera must prove that he can do it again,” said DiBella.
Vera, a regular user of Twitter, took to his account when he picked up on these comments from his new promoter.
“I will prove to him that the first fight was no fluke. Nothing is going to stop me on my road to a title shot,” he tweeted.
Lee and Vera met in March 2008 and engaged in a war that Lee dominated in the early rounds. As the rounds went by, the Irishman tired and Vera came back into the fight. The Texan landed some heavy shots in the seventh stanza, which led to referee Tony Chiarantano stopping the fight.
The loss was a blow to Lee’s fast track to a world title tilt. Since then he has won 11 fights in a row, among them a career-saving come-from-behind knockout win over Craig McEwan in March. The 27-year-old was last in action in a unanimous decision win over Alex Bunema on May 18.
Vera lost three times consecutively after beating Lee, but a win over Canadian prospect Sebastien Demers breathed life into his career again. Vera then slipped up again against Maksym Bursak in the Ukraine, before a huge win over former light middleweight champion Sergio Mora in February.
Vera, who is trained by Mike Delware, was last in action on June 24 when he KOed Eloy Suarez in the eighth round.
If the fight can live up to the excitement and drama of their first meeting, then fans of both men are in for a treat in Atlantic City. Tickets for the fight are available at ticketmaster.com.
Meanwhile, Lee’s cousin, heavyweight Tyson Fury (15-0), scored the biggest win of his professional career on Saturday night when he won the British and Commonwealth titles after beating Dereck Chisora by unanimous decision.
According to one boxing website, Fury’s promoter Mick Hennessy said he wants the 23-year-old to fight for the Irish title next before challenging for the European title.
Speaking of heavyweights, Kevin McBride (35-9-1, 29 KOs) will fight Poland’s Mariusz Wach (24-0, 12KOs) at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut this Friday night. McBride will try and roll back the clock and upset the up-and-coming Wach, who is based in North Bergen and fought in the 2004 Olympics.
“Mariusz Wach, you better watch out. I believe I have the punch to win, the equalizer,” said McBride at the press conference to promote the fight.
In other news, lightweight Jamie Kavanagh (8-0, 3 KOs) defeated Marcos Herrera (6-6-1, 2kos) by unanimous decision on the undercard of the Amir Khan/Zab Judah fight at the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The 21-year-old dominated his opponent over the course of the fight, but Herrera proved a durable opponent and went the distance. The three judges scored the fight 59-54, 60-54 and 60-53.
Finally, light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (7-0) is back in action this Saturday night at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn. An opponent has yet to be confirmed.