By Jake Donovan
With just over two months to go before his next in-ring assignment, Andy Lee still has no clue who will stand in the opposite corner for his March 17 co-feature bout at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden.
The Limerick middleweight appears in supporting capacity for the third straight time to a show headlined by lineal middleweight king Sergio Martinez, this time closer to his element as he appears in Irish-friendly New York City on St. Patrick’s Day.
Martinez appears in the main event against Matthew Macklin, while Lee’s opponent remains TBA.
Lee’s previous ring appearances on Martinez’ undercards resulted in victory – stopping Craig McEwan in the 10th round of a competitive scrap a year ago in Connecticut, then returing two fights later to avenge his only career loss against Bryan Vera, on a night in which Martinez was given all that he could handle before stopping previously unbeaten Darren Barker late into their HBO-televised bout.
March 17 will mark Lee’s third appearance on HBO, all coming within his past four contests. This bout marks the closest he’ll come to enjoying hometown advantage.
“Being an Irish fighter and fighting on a St. Patrick’s Day in New York City, there’s nothing more you can ask for,” states Lee (27-1, 19KO), who has won 12 straight since suffering the lone loss of his career nearly four years ago. “I had a great 2011. I beat McEwan and avenged my only defeat against Bryan Vera.
“In 2012, I plan to win a world title. I will have a good performance on March 17 and then (will) be knocking on Lou’s door and HBO and say, ‘Get me that title fight.’”
Lee attempted to connect the dots and believed that his pair of showcase bouts on cards topped by Martinez would eventually lead to a head-on collision.
Instead, he was given the ‘one more fight’ promise of eventually gravitating towards the title picture.
“Andy was a little upset because this is a fight that he really wanted, a title shot against Sergio Martinez,” promoter Lou DiBella admitted during Monday’s presser in New York City to formally announce the show. “It’s a fight he actively sought. That’s how you’re supposed to feel. If you don’t get that shot, you’re supposed to be upset.”
DiBella then turned to his fighter – one of three top middleweight he presently has in stable – and assured him that the wait wouldn’t be much longer.
“I promise you that you will get your title shot.”
Until then, Lee will just have to take his promoter at his word, while focusing on a night in which he has no clue for which style to properly prepare.
Lee takes it one step further, guaranteeing a beatdown no matter whom will be in the opposite corner.
“We don’t know my opponent yet. Whoever it is, we promise you a good St. Patrick’s Day beating.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]