HOLLYWOOD, Florida – Brandun Lee nearly found himself on the wrong end of a knockout Saturday night.

The hard-hitting junior welterweight had knocked out 22 of his 25 professional foes before he battled Will Madera. It was Madera, though, that dropped the heavily favored Lee with a picture-perfect right hand late in the third round of their 10-round, 143-pound bout at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

A resilient Lee survived that surprising sequence, regained control of their bout and won by unanimous decision in the first of four fights Showtime televised. Judges Daniel Fitzgerald, Lisa Giampa and Mark Streisand scored it identically for Lee, 98-91, but his performance created doubts about his chin and his defensive flaws.

“It was something I haven’t experienced before as a professional,” Lee told a small group of reporters. “But it’s something that all great fighters get hurt or dropped at least once in their career. … I recovered mentally real fast, but as far as getting my rhythm [back], it took like a round.” 

The 23-year-old Lee (26-0, 22 KOs), of La Quinta, California, went the distance in a second straight fight, which was postponed two weeks due to the cancelation of the Jake Paul-Hasim Rahman Jr. pay-per-view card.

Zachary Ochoa ended Lee’s 15-fight knockout streak in Lee’s previous appearance. Lee also beat Ochoa convincingly on all three scorecards April 16 on the Errol Spence Jr.-Yordenis Ugas undercard at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The 31-year-old Madera (17-2-3, 10 KOs), of Albany, New York, lost for the second time in his past four fights. Imprisoned former lightweight contender Felix Verdejo (27-2, 17 KOs) knocked him out in the first round of a July 2020 bout at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Despite the knockdown, Madera clearly needed a knockout in the final round to pull off an upset against Lee, who was listed as a 30-1 favorite by DraftKings sportsbook.

Madera blasted Lee with a left hook toward the end of the 10th round, but Lee landed a right hand of his own in that sequence.

Madera’s left hook clipped Lee with 1:25 to go in the eighth round. A right hand by Madera also caught Lee with just 10 seconds on the clock in the eighth round.

Madera’s left hook knocked Lee off balance at the midway mark of the seventh round. Lee responded by landing his own left hand that moved Madera backward.

Lee landed a right to Madera’s jaw that backed him up 40 seconds into the sixth round. Another right hand by Lee landed flush as Madera pressed forward with several seconds to go in the sixth round.

Lee connected with a chopping right hand to the side of Madera’s head in the final minute of the fifth round.

After suffering the first knockdown of his career in the third round, Lee looked like he began the fourth round on steady legs. Madera didn’t take many chances during those three minutes, which enabled Lee to get back into their fight following his most troublesome moment as a pro in the prior round.

Lee appeared well on his way to another knockout victory when Madera drilled him with a right hand that dropped Lee for the first time in his career with 27 seconds to go in the third round. That stunning shot contorted Lee’s body as he went down.

Lee answered referee Christopher Young’s count in plenty of time, but Lee was badly hurt. He moved and held enough to make it to the end of the round, though.

Lee caught Madera with a flush right hand just before the second round ended. By then, Madera was cut around his right eye.

Lee drilled Madera with a right hand to the side of his head with approximately 50 seconds to go in the second round. Lee’s left to Madera’s body made Madera move away from him about 50 seconds into the second round.

Lee landed a short left hook with about 10 seconds to go in the opening round. Madera moved away from Lee’s right hand for most of the opening round, though, which prevented Lee from landing many hard punches.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.