By Jake Donovan
There probably wasn’t a happier man in the boxing scene than Andy Lee once news broke of his landing a June 16 showdown with unbeaten middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
It’s possible there also wasn’t anyone as surprised as Lee himself when he landed the HBO fight.
“I didn’t think I had a chance when they said it was between me and Vanes Martirosyan,” admitted Lee (28-1, 20KO), as both Chavez and Martirosyan are promoted by Top Rank. “A few days passed and they said they wanted me instead of Vanes. Lo and behold it became a reality.”
The industry-wide suggestion is that Top Rank – who co-promotes Chavez Jr. (45-0-1, 31KO) – always prefers to keep its fights in-house rather than negotiate with outside parties. There have also existed years-long whispers that Chavez Jr. will remain a protected fighter for as long as his handlers can milk his popularity.
Signing on for a dangerous defense versus Lee should serve as a good start towards putting to rest both rumors.
“Top Rank makes the fights based on who their fighters want to fight – period,” insists Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “The choice of Andy Lee was made by one person and one person only - Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
“I’m not in the ring, I don’t fight these guys. I let the fighters make the choices. We give the option to the fighter we’re promoting. He asked, ‘Who is available?’ and we gave him the list of names. He said he wants to fight Andy Lee. We make the fight that the fighter wants. That fight is now done.”
Actually, there are still contracts to be signed – in fact, reviewed – before the fight is officially done. Once ink hits paper, Lee will begin celebrating, although the plan is already outlined for training camp.
“I’m excited right now,” Lee stated. “Once the contracts are signed I’ll be even more excited. I’ve been in the gym training for two weeks, but camp officially begins Monday.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter:@JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com