Andy Lee vs Peter Quillin Prediction
Andy Lee Must Become More Than The Devil’s Right Hand Man
Shift, right, good night. WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee’s ‘right hook from hell’ has attained near cult status in boxing circles in the past 12 months, levelling hot 154lb prospect John Jackson last June, before being delivered to former amateur legend Matt Korobov like a bag of coal en route to a 6th round TKO in their middleweight title clash last Christmas.
Both stunning comeback victories were indicative of a new-found self-assurance the Irish middleweight has cultivated under the tutelage of trainer and close friend Adam Booth- the Jackson KO in particular, trapdoor spider-like in its execution, a cold, calculated manoeuvre just as the boxing public’s perception of ‘too nice to be a boxer’ Lee was about to cement itself in the minds of many fight fans worldwide.
It’s not that the Jackson comeback itself was surprising within the context of the Limerick native’s roller-coaster-like career – the stylish southpaw has always had a come-from-behind KO in his repertoire (see Lee vs McEwan); it was shocking within the narrative of the fight itself. In a number of previous outings Lee looked unassured, uneasy and uncomfortable. Simply put, he was uncomfortable.
Against a lower calibre of opponent in both game Dubliner Anthony Fitzgerald and Frenchman Frank Horta, he laboured to close victories that, to many boxing fans and scribes, were epiphanic; Lee’s time as a world-level challenger was done.
The reality of course was that Lee was simply adapting to a training overhaul. With the passing of his dear mentor, friend and trainer Manny Steward, and the relative stagnation of his career since defeat in his maiden world title tilt versus Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Adam Booth hit the reset button.
Six fights later, Andy Lee 2.0 amalgamated the warrior-like approach from his Kronk days with the almost unique sense of self-assurance reignited under Booth, and achieved a life-long goal of becoming a world champion. Lee’s TKO of Korobov wasn’t the “miracle victory” that Jim Lampley described it as- it was a calculated gamble to exchange with his opponent. A coolly-executed, systematic destruction of a hugely talented boxer. It was progress.
Still just 30 and with a record of 34-2(24KOs), Lee’s recent blossoming can hardly even be considered an Indian Summer. Should the Limerick man’s evolution under Booth continue, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that we soon see the dominant, all-conquering Andy Lee we expected we would when he turned professional ten years ago.
Against undefeated former champion and hometown hero Peter Quillin in Brooklyn this Saturday, Lee’s development simply must continue if the Limerick puncher is to break boxing’s ‘one-hit-wonder’ confines and become a major attraction in the sport.
An articulate character outside of the ring, Andy Lee has become coldly analytical force within it; his breaking down of the Korobov fight has been well-documented- as Irish fight fans were beckoning a seemingly tentative Lee on, the Limerick middleweight, aware he was behind on the cards, spotted a weakness when he connected with his Russian opponent in Round 3, and pounced when a similar opportunity arose in Round 6.
Undefeated Brooklynite Peter Quillin may well adopt the same approach as he seeks to regain the title he relinquished last year. The slick American, perhaps surprisingly a year Lee’s senior, will carry a serious speed advantage when the two square off on Saturday night.
Quillin’s left hook is much akin to Lee’s right in the power stakes, but 31-0(22Kos) Quillin has yet to be tested on a similar level to his Irish opponent. The circumstances surrounding Quillin’s refusal to fight Matt Korobov, therefore creating an opening for Lee, remain somewhat ambiguous, but ‘Kid Chocolate’ is certainly confident ahead of his clash with the Irishman.
It’s a difficult fight to call, but one suspects that, given Quillin’s similarly analytical approach to fights combined with his chopping power and considerable speed, Andy Lee will need to show more than his devilish right hand if he is to successfully defend his belt on Saturday. Quillin will be wise to the traps set by Lee for his previous two opponents; likewise, Lee will be aware of this very fact.
Perhaps the key difference is the calibre of opponents both fighters have faced; where Lee has survived fights with punchers of a similar ilk, Quillin’s resumée lacks the same level of required endurance.
Like Lee, Quillin has a propensity to be statically pensive on occasion; he invites pressure against the ropes while he looks for a weakness, similar to a certain other Grand Rapids-born, undefeated stylist. However, where Floyd Mayweather throws back in ones and twos to keep difficult opponents, à la Maidana, on their toes both physically and mentally, Kid Chocolate opts for the ‘sponge’ approach- a defensive shell which has yet to be assaulted by a puncher of Andy Lee’s class.
By the same token, Lee’s defence is solely based on blocking and footwork, and Quillin’s left hook will likely explode through the Irishman’s guard before long. In that sense, any plans in the Lee camp to approach the opening six rounds as quietly as he did versus Jackson and Korobov, before pulling an equaliser from the bag, will likely prove fruitless.
It makes for an intriguing tactical clash with no shortage of explosive potential between two friends and amicable boxing personalities. Given that likeability, the fight being broadcast on terrestrial television in the States could propel the winner to superstardom.
But if Andy Lee was once deemed too nice to be a boxer, he seems to have once more compartmentalised his in-ring and out-of-ring personalities. Lee’s experience in the trenches should stand to him when the going gets tough on Saturday night.
Official prediction: Andy Lee TKO 7
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