By Kevin Byrne- follow Kevin on Twitter @kevoobyrne
‘originally appeared in the Irish Sun on June 7, 2014’
ANDY LEE returns to Madison Square Garden tomorrow – the scene of his ultimate highlight reel KO.
The last time the Limerick man gloved up at the venue, he sparked out veteran Carl Daniels in three.
That bout, seven years ago last March, announced his arrival on the scene.
Daniels, then 36, had failed in four title shots, going down to the great Bernard Hopkins and Michael Nunn, among others.
And when 22-year-old Lee detonated a right hook on his jaw, the world seemed to open up for the middleweight prospect who had the legendary Emanuel Steward in his corner.
He said: “I remember it clear as day.
“I was outboxing him but he was gaining on him after time. He was using his experience to have a look at me.
“He was looking to counter me, while I was throwing a right hook at his body. He was trying to catch it with his elbow and counter me with his own right hook.
“I went down to throw a right hook and seen he was about to block it. I just pulled back with a hook to the chin instead and it caught him and…
“I have a clear snapshot in my head of what I saw. And I remember how he fell when the punch landed. It’s a great memory.”
Lee strolled off to celebrate, arm in the air, as his victim was falling over, Del Boy-style.
He added: “It was kinda surreal. I knew I had knocked him out but it hadn’t registered.
“I walked to the corner with my hand up but it still hadn’t registered.
“I jumped up on the corner post and that’s when I realised what had happened. That I’d landed the punch and walked away before he even fell.”
Fast forward seven years and Lee, now a veteran himself at 29, will return to face John Jackson, 25, of the Virginian Islands.
A lot has changed in the meantime.
The Daniels win was the eighth of a fledgling career. Lee has since lost twice, once in a world title bout against Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr.
He also changed coach following Steward’s death, replacing him with England’s Adam Booth.
And he is now a light-middleweight after dropping down a division.
But once again, he needs a massive performance at Madison Square Garden to keep the show on the road.
And while the Daniels bout took place in the Theatre downstairs, this one is on in the main arena on the Sergio Martinez v Miguel Cotto bout which will be seen around the world.
Lee added: “A lot’s happened in the meantime and I believe I’m a better fighter for everything that’s happened to me.
“Jackson’s a good fighter but unlike Carl Daniels, he’s untested and he’s going to be hungry.
“Daniels was experienced and if I get half the result that I got against him, then I’ll be happy.”
Funnily enough, the venue does not mean all that much for Lee, who insisted ‘a ring is a ring’.
That is where he feels most at home.
The 2004 Olympian said: “I think for the most part it’ll be a boxing match. If he wants to fight, I believe I have enough game to beat him on the inside.
“Once it settles into a boxing match I can see him getting frustrated and that’s when I’ll catch him with a punch and maybe dropping him and hurting him.
“I’m very sharp and accurate in the gym now so we’ll see what happens.
“I’m dangerous for anybody in that division. Jackson is ranked No 4 and I’m No 6 so the winner is likely to fight for the title soon. A win puts me in the mix.”