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Azad Championship Report - Chavez Beats Down Lee in 7, Retains his Belt

(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)

Before a crowd of 13,467 screaming fans, sober as church mice due to a ban on alcohol Saturday night, WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. improved his record to 46-0-1 with 32 knockouts by stopping Ireland’s Andy Lee in seven rounds.

Lee was up on the cards at the time of the stoppage by using solid boxing skills, his southpaw stance and long reach to key the bull rushing Chavez at bay for the early part of the fight. But Chavez, a naturally larger man more suited to a higher weight than 160 who took over as the fight wore on eventually overtaking Lee along the ropes. The time was 2:21 of the seventh for technical knockout.

Azad Championship Report
Azad Championship Report

“I could’ve knocked him out in the first round, but I had leg cramps so I waited,” said Chavez afterward at the post fight press conference. HBO made a big deal out of his being able to provide a pre-fight urine sample. At press time, Chavez was still giving interviews and it was uncertain whether or not he had given a sample.

In the early going, Lee measured from a distance along the lines of many Kronk fighters trained under his coach Emanuel Steward. Lee, a lanky southpaw, rocketed in those lefts from long range. But they had no effect on Chavez who used a high guard and crouch approach to enter the kill zone where he worked on Lee’s ribs a little more each round.

"He walked through my punches, I couldn’t hold him off. He’s a big middleweight,” said Lee afterwards.

Lee seemed to have designed a rear left uppercut just for Chavez, Jr but it didn’t matter. Chavez got his outside left hook going and Lee was a sucker for it every time. A right hand was thrown into the Chavez mix and soon he was pushing Lee back into the ropes and bending his will. Despite Emanuel Steward constantly imploring Lee to box past the third, more and more Lee got into exchanges with Chavez.

By the sixth, Lee was more and more sitting on the ropes and absorbing punishment. Finally, Lee, who has yet to taste canvas despite his now 28-2 with 20 knockouts record, was waved off as Chavez savaged him along the ropes.

With the win, Chavez is now set to face Sergio Martinez September 15 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV in an HBO PPV extravaganza. Also announced at the post-fight presser was Kelly Pavlik vs. Will Rosinsky July 7 as the co-feature to Nonito Donaire’s next fight.

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