by David P. Greisman
Sam Garcia (Chavez Jr.): “I think this is actually a good fight for Chavez Jr. I think Andy Lee is susceptible to taking punishment. He’s going to bring the fight, and that’s something that Chavez Jr. obviously needs in order to look good. If he’s fighting a boxer who’s going to try and be a stylist and things like that, then that can give Chavez Jr. problems, but I think Chavez Jr.’s size really will be the difference. I think he wins a one-sided decision, maybe late stoppage. He’s so big — if he comes in anywhere close to what he did the last fight, I think he’s just going to be too big the night of the fight.”
John Scully (Chavez Jr., but barely): “I think both guys are better fighters than either of them get credit for. I think they’re both good. I think Andy Lee, I guess he’d be an underdog, but I’d put him as a really live underdog. And if he uses his boxing skills, which I’ve seen in fights and I’ve seen in sparring — I think he has better boxing skills, but that Irish temperament takes over sometimes and he wants to have really good fights.
“If he fights for the crowd and tries to impress with people, I think he’ll lose. I think Chavez is good enough to beat him in that game. But I think if he boxes and uses his mobility and boxing skills, I think he’ll win the decision. If he boxes, I’ve got Andy Lee winning. But if he tries to bang it out, I’ll go with Chavez. If I had to bet, all things considered, I’d say Chavez is going to take it.”
Ronnie Shields (Lee): “I really like this fight. I think this is going to be a very, very competitive fight. I got to go with the upset, with Andy Lee, just for the simple reason that nobody’s giving him a chance. Also, he has the best trainer in the world — that’s Emanuel Steward. I had two guys down there that were training with Andy Lee, helping him out, that’s Edwin Rodriguez and Brian Vera, who Andy Lee’s fought twice and they split one and one. Just from the inside track, both of these guys tell me Andy Lee is looking great, he’s in great shape, and they also pick Andy Lee to win this fight.
“I got to go with my guys. I got to go with my gut. I got to go with Emanuel Steward. I’m telling you, people really underestimate this guy, how great of a trainer he is. He knows everything about the game of boxing. He knows the ins and outs. It’s hard to pick against Emanuel. I think [Lee wins] a decision, a wide decision. Just looking at the opponents these guys have fought, Chavez really hasn’t fought anybody that you can say is in the top tier of the middleweight division.
“I was at the fight where they fought Rubio, and I really thought Rubio was going to do something, but then again you look at this age. Rubio did a lot of talking, but Chavez did all the fighting. I look at it when he fought Manfredo. Manfredo had a lot of miles on him. A guy that just basically couldn’t punch, couldn’t really do anything to keep Chavez off of him.
“Plus the fact plus, still, I’m trying to find the one guy with a name that belongs in the upper echelon that Chavez has fought. It’s hard for me to pick against Andy Lee when I see things like that. And then Andy Lee, he has a good amateur background also. He’s fought some great, great guys. I think when you go to the intangibles, I like Emanuel Steward.”
Eddie Mustafa Muhammad (Lee): “That’s going to be a great fight. Andy Lee has that right hook that’s going to come out of nowhere, and if Chavez is not aware of what Andy Lee brings to the table, he’s going to get beat. Andy Lee, he’s going to come in ready to fight. Andy Lee can box and he can punch. And he’s carrying that weight real good and he doesn’t have a problem with that weight. Chavez, as we all know, he goes up in weight and has got to work on the weight issue and not in preparation for the fight. I pick Andy Lee for this fight by late round stoppage.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org