Andy Lee (27-1, 19 KOS) will fight Alexis Hloros (16-4-2) at the CoBo Center in Detroit on March 10, according to his trainer Emanuel Steward.
Lee will take on the Mount Clemens, Michigan resident in a 10-round contest as he ticks over before what he hopes will be a tilt at the WBC middleweight title, currently held by Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
Hloros has a decent record on paper, but on closer inspection the majority of wins have come against fledgling fighters and lower-level opposition. The one name that does jump out from his resume is James Kirkland, who knocked the 32-year-old out in the second round of their fight last July.
Hloros was last in action in October, when he TKO’d Shane Gierke at the Motor City Casino in Detroit.
Steward was color commentating on Chavez’s February 4 win over Marco Antonio Rubio in San Antonio, and after the fight the CEO of Top Rank approached him with a proposition.
“When I was leaving the arena after the Chavez fight Bob Arum called me up and asked me if Andy would be ready for a fight with Julio,” Steward told the Irish Voice on Monday. “I know Bob wants it and we love the fight, so we shook hands.”
Steward is under no illusions as to what Chavez is capable of.
“It would be a challenge and it would be a good fight,” he said of the possible match-up between Lee and Chavez. “I think that Julio has improved a lot, he is tall and physical.”
Chavez had well-documented problems in the lead up to the fight with Rubio.
The 25-year-old struggled to make weight and was arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles in the weeks leading up to the fight. Despite those setbacks, he still conquered a very legitimate opponent in Rubio.
“He (Chavez) just overpowered him (Rubio). He found a way to win. The thing I still like about Chavez is that he is a true warrior,” said Steward.
So how does Steward rate his own man’s chances against the steadily ameliorating WBC champion?
“He (Andy) is a bigger guy to deal with,” said Steward, adding that Lee’s extensive amateur experience would stand to him, and that he would test Chavez’s ability to adjust and also provide a very stern test being a southpaw.
Lee told the Irish Voice last week that he felt he would be able to hold Chavez off and box him using his height and reach.
When asked if June 2 was a possible date for the fight, as has been reported, Steward said that he had not spoken to Arum since February 4 and planned to get in touch with him later in the week.
In the meantime, Lee must win and win well against Hloros to keep his name atop the list of title contenders. Steward said that the 27-year-old has been training hard and sparring with Ronald Hearns and Adonis Stevenson to ready himself for the fight.
In other news, a press conference will be at Jack Demsey’s in midtown Manhattan this week to promote the undercard of the Matthew Macklin/Sergio Martinez fight at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on March 17.
The Edwin Rodriguez/Donovan George super middleweight fight has replaced the Lee fight as the co-feature HBO televised fight.
Light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (12-0), heavyweight Tom Hardwick (4-0) and junior middleweight Kevin Rooney (3-1) will all lace up on the night, though none of the three have a confirmed opponent.
One all Irish American fight that is likely to take place is the light welterweight “clash of the Dannys” -- O’Connor vs. McDermott. Danny O’Connor (16-1, 4 KOs) was an alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team and was last in action in October against Bryan Abraham when he won a unanimous decision.
Danny McDermott (9-3-2), who beat Abraham by TKO in round 5 in December, was last in action on January 21 when he fought to a draw with Terry Buterbaugh at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City.