New York, NY - (9/15/2011) - 2004 Irish Olympian, and now the WBC #2, WBO #2, and WBC #6 rated middleweight in the world, Andy Lee (26-1, 19KO's) usually uses Wednesday's as a rest day from his intense training camp with head trainer Emmanuel Steward in preparation for his upcoming rematch against Brian Vera (19-5, 12KO's), on Saturday, October 1st, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. This Wednesday though was a bit different for the Limerick native, who now calls Detroit, MI, his home. Lee spent the day in New York City, meeting with the press and talking about his much anticipated rematch against Vera, the only man to defeat Lee as a professional. Lee-Vera II is scheduled for 10 rounds in the middleweight division, and will open up HBO's World Championship Boxing telecast, headlined by Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez (47-2-2, 26KO's) defending his WBC Middleweight Diamond belt, and Ring Championship against undefeated European Champion, Darren Barker (23-0, 14KO's).
Tickets for the show are priced at $300, $200, $100, and $50, and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, at any Ticketmaster retail outlet, or in person at the Boardwalk Hall box office.
Lee's visit to the city, started at the popular Irish Pub, The Red Lion, where a number of New York and Irish media turned out to meet with Lee and promoter Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment (DBE), promoter of Lee and the show on October 1st. Also in attendance, fighting on the undercard, were Irish-American prospects, Seanie Monaghan (8-0, 5KO's) and Kevin Rooney Jr. (2-0, 1KO), as well as Jay Tunney, the son of one of boxing's all-time greats, former light heavyweight and heavyweight world champion, Hall-of-Famer Gene Tunney.
DiBella kicked things off by thanking everyone for coming, before talking about Lee, his upcoming fight against DBE stable-mate Vera, and what the future holds for the very talented 27-year-old contender.
"I truly believe that Andy, behind Sergio Martinez, and maybe Mathew Macklin, is the best middleweight in the world. He is on the verge of becoming a star, but he has a very tough test in front of him on October 1st, in Brian Vera. This is not going to be an easy fight by any means, but it is going to be an exciting one, that I can guarantee. Andy wants to prove that the first fight was a mistake, and Brian wants to prove that it wasn't. These guys are both going to leave it all out on the line, and as a true fight fan, what more could you ask for?"
DiBella continued, "I don't like to talk about the future, especially with such a dangerous fight, but if Andy wins, there is a lot we can do with him. We could match him against Sergio in New York City, which would be a humongous event with the Irish community here coming out to support their countryman. There is also the possibility of an all Irish showdown between him and Macklin, who showed in his performance against Felix Sturm that he is one of the best middleweights in the world. First things first though, Andy must take care of business against Vera. I'm looking forward to having all of the Irish community come out and show their support for what is going to be a great night of entertainment, including Seanie Monaghan, who is like the mayor in Long Beach, and also my new assistant Kevin Rooney Jr., who, as you know, is the son of famed trainer Kevin Rooney Sr., making his DBE debut."
"You can imagine how big this fight is to me and what it means to me," said Lee. "I didn't need the rematch to further my career, but it's something I've wanted. From the moment I lost to Vera, I've wanted to avenge it. It has taken three and a half years to get to this point, but now we are finally almost here. The fight makes sense, he is on a winning streak coming off his best win against Sergio Mora, and I'm on a streak now as well, so it makes sense not only as a personal matter but as a boxing matter also. The winner of this fight is a legitimate contender for the middleweight title so this is a very big and important fight for us, and for boxing. Vera's a tough man, he comes to the ring to fight, and he's heavy handed. But I'm ready, I feel great. I know it's an old cliché that everyone says they have had the best training camp, but I really have. I'm in good form, and my work in the gym during this camp has exceeded all of my previous training camps. Everything is all set for me to have a good performance."
I'm not going to jinx myself by making any predictions. I'm going to go in there and box and if there is a chance for a knockout then I'm going to take it, but if I win a 10-round decision that will be just as sweet. There is a good buzz going around New York and throughout the different Irish communities here about the fight and I expect a good crowd, and it will give me an extra incentive to put on a good performance."
Lee also took time to comment on his trip to New York. "I love New York. I have always wanted to be a New York fighter, and the best promoter here in New York is Lou DiBella, so I am very happy to be signed with him, and very grateful for him gto be iving me this shot at redemption. I came to New York in 2004 straight out of the Olympics and one of the first things I did here was go see Trinidad vs. Mayorga at the Garden. I remember sitting there with my friends and telling them that one day I was going to headline here. So far I have been working hard to put myself in a position to make good on that promise, and a win on October 1st will be a big step toward fulfilling it."
After things wrapped up at The Red Lion, Lee dropped by a few other popular pubs throughout the city, taking pictures with fans, and dropping off a pair of signed boxing gloves at each establishment.
Lee-Vera II is being presented by DiBella Entertainment in association with Caesars Atlantic City, and is sponsored by Corona. The fight will be aired live on HBO's World Championship Boxing®, beginning at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT.
Tickets are priced at $300, $200, $100, and $50, and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, at any Ticketmaster retail outlet, or in person at the Boardwalk Hall box office.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV