Duddy nemesis Chavez may box Lee

World Boxing Council champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is the latest middleweight linked with a fight against Andy Lee. The undefeated Chavez [45-0, 31 KOs], remembered by Irish fans for defeating John Duddy two years ago in the Derry Destroyer’s last pro fight, retained his crown with a win over fellow Mexican Marco Antonio Rubio in Texas a fortnight ago.

“I was asked by [Chavez promoter] Bob Arum himself directly if Andy would be available to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in May or June,” Lee’s trainer-manager Emanuel Steward told the Echo from Austria on Monday. “We’re working on that.”

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And as a tune up for that possible WBC title match, Lee, who dropped off DiBella Entertainment’s March 17 St. Patrick’s Day card in New York when a quality opponent could not be found, squares off with Alexis Hloros in Detroit, Mich., March 10.

“This will be his last fight before he fights for the title,” said Steward.

Hloros is a 16-4 Michigan resident with 12 knockouts to his credit. Lee is 27-1 with 19 KOs and Steward suggested that the Limerick southpaw’s North American Boxing Association belt that he outpointed Alex Bunema for in May last year, may be on the line.

The warm up, a week before St. Patrick’s Day, is scheduled for 10 or 12 rounds, according to Steward. “We’ll be starting the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations early,” the Hall of Famer added.

On Lee’s possible crack at the 25 year-old Chavez, Steward, in Austria training his world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko for a March 3 defense against Frenchman Jean-Marc Mormeck in Dusseldorf, Germany, said the venue had yet to be finalized.

“We don’t know where it will be but we’d love it to be in New York City. We feel very good about it,” he noted. “The WBC [title] is what we want.”

Ironically, Lee, who’s 27 and was previously ranked third by the WBC at 160 pounds, is no longer ranked by the organization, but remains the second contender in both the WBO and WBA.

Lee was earlier linked with WBA titlist Felix Sturm, but the German is reported to be targeting Sebastian Zbik for an April scrap.


Once beaten West Virginia cruiserweight Eric Watkins [6-1, 1 KO] will drop down to the light heavyweight division to challenge New York fan favorite Seanie Monaghan over eight rounds on the St. Patrick’s Day show at Madison Square Garden, March 17.

“He has a winning record and looks to be a good and tough guy,” Monaghan [12-0, 8 KOs] observed.

Having campaigned as a cruiserweight, Watkins will be the naturally bigger man but Monaghan, the son of County Meath immigrants, is unruffled as he prepares for the contest.