Andy Lee: “I would like to fight Paul Williams”

by Geoffrey Ciani - This week’s 83rd edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with middleweight contender Andy Lee (21-1, 15 KOs) who is scheduled to face James Cook (11-3-1, 8 KOs) today, July 30, at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. The middleweight division is wide open ever since Sergio Martinez scored an upset victory against Kelly Pavlik who has since abandoned the weight class. With a good crop of middleweight prospects on the rise, including Fernando Guerrero, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, David Lemiux, and Daniel Jacobs (who is scheduled to fight Dmitry Pirog for the vacant WBO title this Saturday), Lee is looking to fill the void and become the main man at 160 pounds. Here is what he had to say on this week’s edition of On the Ropes.

On training and preparations for his July 30 fight against James Cook:

“Training has been very good. We’re training so hard and at the gym Emanuel said we’re going to try and get you a fight, so just be ready. Luckily this fight came up. It was on usually shorter notice than we’re used to, but I’ve been training hard and sparring a lot so I’m in good shape and I’m looking forward to it.”

On whether he is looking to be more active and fight more often:

“Yeah, me and Emanuel were waiting around looking for a more meaningful fight, but it wasn’t forthcoming. Instead of just sitting around waiting for a fight to get on TV I just want to stay busy and keep fighting and learning and keep moving my record up. Eventually a bigger fight will come along.”

On statements made by trainer Emanuel Steward (from his last appearance) when he stated he would be interested in having Lee fight winner of Chavez-Duddy which wound up being Chavez:

“ I would love to fight, but I don’t know if they’d ever match me with Chavez or Duddy because I think I’d beat both of them, plain and simple. I think I would beat both of them. I don’t think either of their promoters or managers would match them against me unless there was a title on the line or unless they were forced. I would like to have bigger fights and better opponents. I’ve been away for awhile. I’ve flown under the radar. I fought at home a lot in Europe and some smaller shows here in America, but I’m 26 now and I’m ready for bigger fights and more of a challenge.”

On how significant he views the Cook fight in light of his recent winning streak since the loss to Brian Vera:

“You know, maybe this is of less significance. He doesn’t have an impressive record. I don’t really know anything about him. Nobody has really heard of him in boxing so it’s not a significant fight but it’s a very important fight for me. Obviously I have to win and I can’t be looking past him.”

On whether or not he would go for the knockout if given the chance to fight Felix Sturm if he knew the fight would be held in Germany :

“Knowing that the fight was in Germany I’d have to fight harder and not leave anything to chance. With Felix Sturm, the way I see Sturm he’s a tight European style type guy that kind of comes forward and likes to jab but he’s a small middleweight. I would keep him on the end of a jab and work and keep him in his shell. I’ve watched a lot of him. I’d be happy to take that fight and I’d be happy to go up against him. If there was a chance to knock him out I’d have to go for it because of the judges and being away from home and all.”

On working with Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward and what he has learned from him:

“Emanuel trains fighters. He doesn’t try to change them. Like when he trains fighters he doesn’t change them from their natural styles from what I’ve seen. He just enhances what they already have and makes them better at what they already do. Emanuel has always told me to stay tall, to keep my left hand in a good position which is in front of my face, and when I throw my combinations always finish up with a jab. Always finish up with a jab. Even when I’m hitting the bags everyday or doing pad work with him, he’ll always say, “Finish up with the jab! Finish up with the jab!” In sparring everyday he reminds me of that, but Emanuel is a very astute trainer and a very good strategist. That’s one of his strongest points when he’s in the corner and in the ring. He can pick an opponent apart where he can break him down mentally and emotionally and almost tell you when to go and when not to go. Being involved with Emanuel in all of these experiences is definitely an extra feather in my cap and a strength to have on your side.”

On whether he believes it is his time to shine given the youth and inexperience of many of today’s top middleweights:

“I think so. I think the guys that are up there are there to be beaten. Like Emanuel was saying, there isn’t really a standout champion like Jermain Taylor was a few years ago and then Pavlik. At the moment, I guess you have to look for Martinez to be your champion. He’s really a light middleweight. The guys up there, they are all there to be beat. There are a lot of good young middleweights coming up and I think the division has a good future. But right now, the guys who are at the top spots can be beaten, like Sebastian Sylvester, Felix Sturm, and Martinez who might be moving down. Paul Williams Is there and he’s always saying no one wants to fight him. I would like to fight Paul Williams. If he’s looking for an opponent to fight him, I’ve got a good record and I’m ranked in the top ten now. So why doesn’t he? I would like to fight him. Not to be disrespectful. He’s a good fighter, but I would like to fight him. I would like to have an opportunity and show people what I can do against a good opponent.”

On whether he thinks he could have done anything better in his only career loss against Brian Vera:

“I could have paced myself a bit better, but it was a close fight and Brian Vera fought very hard and he was determined. He trained very hard for that fight. I can see that when we were in the ring. He was very determined. I landed some very clean shots, I had him down, but he kept coming forward and kept throwing punches. So I give him respect for that and give him a lot of credit. You know he fought hard and that’s all he could do. He did his job. He turned up when I was not at my best. If we had a rematch it would be a lot different. I would be very confident I would win the rematch as I was very confident I would win that fight. It remains to be seen if it happens but I’m definitely open to it and I think he’s open to it, too. So we just need to make the match and we just need to put it together.”

On whether he has a prediction for his fight against Cook:

“I expect to win. I would like to get a knockout. I predict I will knock this guy out—not to be too brash or anything, but he’s there for me to beat and he’s been knocked out before so I expect to knock him out.”

On what he would like to say to all of his fans and the listeners of On the Ropes Boxing Radio:

“Oh, thank you all very much for your continued support and thank you very much to you guys for having me on the show. Hopefully, I’ll keep winning and I’ll keep fighting no matter what. Hopefully there is a big fight coming and there will be big things to hear from me. Thank you all for your support.”


For those interested in listening to the Andy Lee interview in its entirety, it begins approximately one hour and thirty-five minutes into the program.


For more information about On the Ropes Boxing Radio please visit our website:

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Article posted on 30.07.2010

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