By Keith Idec
Andy Lee feels like he has already won round one against Brian Vera.
By weighing in at the contracted limit of 163 pounds Friday afternoon, the same as Vera, Lee is certain he has given himself a better chance to win their 10-round middleweight rematch Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall (HBO; 10 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. PDT) than he did before their first fight.
The Irish contender weighed in at 158 pounds prior to his March 2008 fight against Vera (19-5, 12 KOs), who weighed in at the contracted weight of 162 pounds. Lee claims the weight difference, which he admits was his own fault, was a factor in Vera overcoming getting out-boxed through the first six rounds to record a seventh-round technical knockout.
“Who knows what he was in the ring?,” Lee said of their first fight. “This time he’s fighting a full-fledged middleweight. I’m not coming in lighter. I’m coming in dead on the weight and when I hit him he’s going to know it.”
Lee (26-1, 19 KOs) floored Vera in the first round of their first fight, but the technically sound southpaw couldn’t finish off his raw, rugged opponent. The 29-year-old Vera, of Austin, Texas, hurt Lee with a several right hands in the seventh round, though the bout was stopped with Lee still on his feet, immediately after Lee landed a hard left hand to Vera’s chin.
“I couldn’t rehydrate [before their first fight] because I had gotten so low,” Lee, 27, said. “I got into the ring maybe 164, and who knows what he was? He was 162 the day before, so he could’ve been 175. I felt that in the ring. I could feel the weight of him in there. Like I’ve said, I was young and inexperienced. This is a whole different person he’s facing now.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.