Andy Lee faces unbeaten opponent Peter Quillin in New York on Saturday night, but it won’t be for the WBO middleweight title after the American didn’t make the weight.
The Irishman was set to defend the belt for the first time after his sensational win over Matt Korobov last year, but he will still need another impressive performance against Quillin who has home advantage.
Lee (34-2, 24 KOs) is in great form heading into this bout and although he will be considered the underdog against ‘Kid Chocolate’ who is 31-0, 22 KOs, the champion has proven he has the power in his shots to stop anyone.
The 30-year-old will have felt the pressure lift off his shoulders after finally landing a world title, and that should be visible in his display on Saturday as he will look to put on a show.
However, the same can be said for his opponent and ultimately it should result in a highly entertaining fight between two legitimate champions in the middleweight division.
Lee has improved dramatically since teaming up with trainer Adam Booth after his first unsuccessful title shot back in 2012, while Quillin will now be looking to prove to himself that he could have won his title back after vacating it a couple of years ago.
There is an argument to suggest that the American’s inactivity could work against him as he hasn’t fought in nearly a year, and that coupled with the momentum that Lee has been building could see this go one way.
However, Quillin is a highly skilled fighter and remains unbeaten and that in itself is enough to prove his pedigree in the ring despite the lack of professionalism in terms of failing to make the weight.
The champion has the punch power to take anyone out at the moment, and that could well prove to be the difference on the night. With Quillin unsuccessfully losing 1.4 pounds in two hours, it remains to be seen if he looks drained at all as that could be a factor if the fight goes on into the later rounds.
Lee vs Quillin is the chief support for Danny Garcia vs Lamont Peterson on Saturday’s PBC on NBC card and the pair are expected to ring walk around 01:30 UK time.