AN EXCITED ANDY LEE believes that he is two fights away from becoming boxing’s next superstar after agreeing terms for a WBC title shot against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr this summer.
Although the final contracts still have to be signed, both camps are confident that the middleweight showdown in the Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas will go ahead as planned on 16 June.
Promoter Lou DiBella said last night that talks are already underway for the winner to face Sergio Martinez, who defended his lineal middleweight title against Matthew Macklin last month and is widely regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
The prospect is a tantalising one for Lee and, after waiting patiently in the wings for his big shot, he said last night that he is ready to grasp it with both hands.
“I can beat up Chavez and it will make me a star and then I can beat Martinez and that will make me a superstar,” the London-born Limerick native said. “It’s very exciting to be two fights away from that.
This will be a vindication of my lifetime of work. I’ve been in the gym already today. I know what’s ahead of me. I know there is hard work to do. I’m ready for it.
Lee’s only defeat to date came against American Brian Vera in March 2008. Since then, he has re-established himself as one of the middleweight division’s top talents with 13 straight wins, including a redemptive victory over Vera.
Fighting Chavez Jr in front of a predominantly Mexican crowd in Texas doesn’t bother him either.
“I’m actually looking forward to it. I like having that bunker mentality when everything is against you. We’re gonna train hard and Emanuel [Steward, his trainer] will have the right plan and we will go in there and get that belt.
It’s my turn. I’ve waited a long time and it’s been a long journey. The time is right for me physically and mentally and I am just glad it’s here. I never thought I would get this fight, so it’s very hard to contain my excitement.
Steward added: “I think it’s a very exciting and hard fight. I think it will be a very tough fight.
“Chavez has developed into a real fighter. He’s become a serious fighter. He has very high energy in the ring. He cuts off the ring very well and smothers you. He gets inside and works the body like his daddy [six-time world champion Julio Cesar Chavez] did.
“Him and Andy, they’re both big guys for middleweights, they’re both good punchers and they both get hit, which makes it a good fight.”