Boxing


Brian Vera Upsets Andy Lee

lee vera22.03.08 - Bill Calogero, TheDailySports.com - Photo by Peter Mark Heintzelman / ESB -- Uncasville, CT – Brian Vera stopped the previously unbeaten and highly regarded middleweight prospect, Andy Lee in the seventh round of their scheduled ten-round middleweight contest on Friday night. The action-packed fight was the main event of an outstanding card promoted by Pugnacious Promotions and was broadcast live on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights from the beautiful Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino.

When I analyzed the fight and noted that Vera & Lee had faced very similar level opponents and personally thought the fight would be competitive, the buzz I got from ringside speaking with several scribes, fighters, trainers and mangers prior to the fight was unanimously “WHEN” Andy Lee was going to stop Vera. No one I spoke to gave Brian Vera, the former Contender Series participant, much of a chance at giving the highly skilled Lee, who is trained by Emanuel Steward, much of a fight, let alone beat him..

In the opening round, Lee used his superior height and reach advantage to box Brian Vera. Vera immediately began head hunting, launching punches from a distance. Both fighters landed a few shots during this customary “feeling out” round until a hard right-left combination seemed to hurt Vera, sending him retreating towards the ropes. Lee jumped in and as he threw another right-left combination, caught and dropped Vera. Although a punch was thrown and landed, which by definition is a legitimate knock down, Vera’s feet seemed to get slightly tangled as he was retreating. He was up quickly, did not seem hurt at all and finished the round. I scored the round 10-8 in favor of Andy Lee.

The second round featured Lee’s stiff jab. He was also able to showcase his excellent counter-punching skill, as he would land two punches for every punch Vera threw. I was beginning to think Andy Lee was toying with Vera. It seemed like he was able to land his punches at will, but then towards the last thirty seconds of the round, Vera landed hard back to back right hands that landed flush on the cheek of Andy Lee, definitely getting his attention. Just as the round came to a close, Brain Vera landed a solid uppercut to score, but not enough to win the round on my scorecard, as I saw it 10-9 in Lee’s favor.

During round three, I noticed that Lee seemed perfectly comfortable letting Vera throw punches at him and then was counter punching him to perfection. He landed several right-left-right combinations that were landing flush. Again, as the round came towards the thirty-second mark, Vera stepped up his attack and traded shots with Lee in the center of the ring. The round was close, but again I gave the edge to Lee, 10-9.

When the fourth round began, it looked like Lee wanted to step it up. He landed back to back to back right-left-right combinations, all landing on Vera’s head. His punches also appeared to be harder than they had been in the prior three rounds. Vera was content on standing toe to toe trading punches. He landed a hard right, which landed and opened a cut over Lee’s right eye. Once both fighters saw blood, this fight changed. Vera stepped up his assault and was able to land more punches more often as Lee went into a defensive mode. Vera won this round on my scorecard.

The fifth round picked up where the fourth left off. Vera was the aggressor and worked Lee’s cut, landing several hard rights that caused it to become severe. Lee continued to counter-punch well, but as I watched the blood trickle down his face I could sense the momentum was beginning to swing. As the ten-second warning was sounded, former World Light Heavyweight Title Challenger, John “Iceman” Scully sat next to me and said, “Great Fight”. I couldn’t have agreed with him more. I gave the 5th round to Brian Vera.

When the sixth round began, Lee looked very tired, but did his part of making the 6th round an exciting one. The fight evolved into both fighters standing toe to toe exchanging and landing hard shots, mostly to each other’s head. Both fighters wanted to end the fight and both were fighting with a sense of urgency. It was a great round and I again scored the round in Vera’s favor.

As the bell sounded to begin the 7th, Lee’s mouth was open and his eye was bleeding profusely but more importantly, his right hand, which had been finding its target all night with the jab, began to drop. Vera, also noticeably tired, was giving it his all, throwing punches in bunches from all angles when a right hand rocked Lee. As Lee staggered back, Vera seized the opportunity and opened up a no holds barred attack on Andy Lee, landing devastating shots to his face. The Referee was looking closely at Lee, and rightfully so. Lee’s eyes were rolled back….I personally saw the whites of his eyes as Brian Vera was landing punches. To Andy Lee’s credit, he refused to go down and began fighting back. As he was staggering back towards the ropes, the Referee jumped in and waived off the fight, giving Brian Vera the TKO win.

The majority of the fans in attendance, which was nearly sold out, were backing Andy Lee and a roar of boos filled the Mohegan Sun Arena. Although I thought the fight might have been stopped just a little too soon because Lee had JUST thrown and landed a punch, I was not in the ring and it was not my job to make that decision. Like I mentioned earlier, Lee was no doubt in trouble and I don’t think he would have been able to stay on his feet for the rest of the round. The call was justified.

The official time was 2:17 of the seventh, giving Brian Vera the TKO win. He improves to 16-1 (10 KOs) and now will be a new hot prospect in the Middleweight Division.

Andy Lee loses for the first time in his career, dropping to 15-1 (12 KOs) and will certainly go back to the gym, re-group and get back on track. He has too much talent and I am certain, with the help of Manny Steward, will learn from this loss and continue to be a young up and coming prospect in the Middleweight Division. Who knows, maybe a worthwhile rematch for both fighters.

In the Co-Main event, Aaron Pryor, Jr. showed absolutely no resemblance to his Father in terms of boxing skill, and was not impressive one bit in his unanimous eight-round decision over Alphonso Williams in their super middleweight bout.

Jr. showed he has a long way to go, before he can even fit into his Dad’s slippers, let alone his shoes. He is tall and seemed to have some pop in his punches, but he was awkward in the ring. His knowledge of boxing was visibly limited as he only threw left-rights all night long. He was not able to do much defensively either.

His only saving grace was that Williams had to be one of the most inaccurate punchers I have seen in a long time. Although he was throwing punches, very few were landing and it was NOT a result of Pryor’s defensive skill. It was William’s aim. His other major mistake was the simple fact that he did not work Pryor’s body at all.

Aaron Pryor Jr. had a huge height advantage, which basically put Williams at chest level. If he would have worked the body of Pryor for the first few rounds, I honestly believe he would have walked out with a KO win. What he did walk out with was a loss.

One judge saw the fight at 76-75, one had it 77-74 and the third scored the bout 79-73, all in favor of Aaron Pryor Jr., giving him the unanimous decision victory and the luxury of keeping his undefeated record in tact improving to 9-0 (6 KOs). TheDailySports.com scored the fight 78-74 also in favor of Aaron Pryor Jr.

Alphonso Williams drops to 10-4 (8 KO’s) and should wonder why he and his corner failed to add a body attack into their fight plan.

Matt Remillard dropped Jesus Salvador Perez with a powerful left hook during the last thirty-seconds of the first round. The punch also was effective in opening up a cut over the eye of Perez. Remillard used his power, speed and most importantly the accuracy of his punches to dominate the fight and score a unanimous four-round decision in the Jr. Lightweight contest. One judge scored the fight 39-36, while the other two saw it as I did at 40-35.

Matt Remillard improves to 13-0 (7 KOs) and in my opinion, when it’s all said and done, will become a World Champion in the future.

Jesus Salvador Perez drops to 25-19-3 (14 KOs) and should hang-em up.

Local product Brian Macy improved to 3-0 (1 KO) with a unanimous four-round Light Heavyweight decision over the tough Rafal Jastrezbski. Macy dropped Rafal with a left-right combination in the second round. Although Jastrezbski battled back, it was not enough to win the fight. One judge scored the fight 39-36, while the other two had it 38-37 all in favor of Brian Macy. Rafal Jastrezbski is still looking for his first win as a pro as he drops to 0-6-1.

Also on the under card, Francisco Palacios squeaked out a four-round majority decision over Vineash Rungea in the Jr. Welterweight division, to improve to 2-3-4 (1 KO), while the clearly disappointed Rungea drops to 2-11-2.

To round out the exciting card promoted by Pugnacious Promotions, Guillermo Sanchez won a six-round decision over Harvey Murry in the Featherweight Division to improve to 4-0 (1 KO). Harvey Murry loses for the first time in his career, dropping to 2-1-2 (1 KO).

A GREAT televised card on ESPN2, which has produced three good shows in a row with the last two being above average. Hats off to ESPN2 for seemingly turning what was becoming a snooze fest, and one-sided contests into really competitive and entertaining fights. I hope they keep it up.
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For full discussions on these fights and all the other top pro boxing news, don’t miss this week’s “Talkin Boxing With Billy C” radio program.

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This week’s scheduled guests are IBF Featherweight Champion, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Timothy Bradley.

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Article posted on 22.03.2008



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