By Jonny Stapleton
Andy Lee puts it all on the line against Bryan Vera in the gambling Mecca of Atlantic City tomorrow night and claims it is win or career bust.
The Limerick man is looking to avenge his sole professional loss on the under card of Darren Barker and Sergio Martinez’s WBC Diamond World title fight and is gambling a potential world title shot for very little gain.
Win and the talented middleweight gets nothing more than revenge over the Texan who recorded a shock victory when the pair first met in 2008, but if he looses the Kronk fighter admits there is no boxing tomorrow.
Despite improving immensely over the last number of years and defeating Sergio Mora, Vera is still deemed by some as a journey man, so a Lee victory would be expected, although in truth not guaranteed, yet a loss means career catastrophe for Irish fighter.
“If I don’t win this fight with Vera then there is no tomorrow. So everything comes down to Saturday,” Lee explained.
“Right now he has to beat me to get another big fight, and I have to beat him to step on and move on with my career. So this is a pivotal fight for both of us. It means everything to us. I hope he brings his best. I know he will, because he always comes to fight and so do I. I don’t want any excuses from him. I have no excuses. My training camp has been great.”
With top ten rankings in three of the main governing bodies the Irish southpaw is on the verge of a world title shot. The Emanuel Steward trained professional’s eleven straight wins since in his first and sole defeat prompted fight fans to put the Vera loss into the once off, off night category.
The reverse, however didn’t sit easy with the Lou DiBella promoted contender and despite a bad risk reward ratio he has been actively seeking a rematch from the minute Vera had his hand raised three year ago.
“It’s been over three years waiting for this fight. It’s been a long, long road. Obviously losing the fight was a big upset to me. It really stalled my career, but I’ve had a lot of fights since then and improved myself in other areas. I always wanted this rematch and I finally get the chance for redemption, and it’s going to be on HBO so there is no better stage for it. I’m feeling really good. I’m only hours away from getting what I wanted for three and a half years.”
Vera has cut a confident figure ahead of the eagerly anticipated return and has predicted a repeat result but a more impressive performance in Board Walk Hall tonight.
However the Detroit based Irish middleweight says he has learnt his Vera lessons and is confident he will emerge victorious.
“I look back then I was so young and immature in the way I boxed. Physically I wasn’t even mature, but now I’m 27 years of age, I’m feeling good, and I’m seasoned. Now I’m ready! The loss sent me back a long way and it hurt me emotionally and physically, but probably in the future when I look back I will say it’s a blessing in disguise because I’ve changed so much, I’ve re-evaluated everything, and since that fight my training has been at a different level.”