Irish light middleweight Andy Lee found a sensational knockout punch to complete a stunning comeback against John Jackson on Saturday night.
Lee was heavily put to the canvas in round one and took a pummelling from ex-boxer Julian’s son as he appeared to be close to suffering a third-stoppage defeat of his career.
After pinning Lee on the ropes, Jackson went for the jugular and nearly knocked his foe through the ropes before a spectacular intervention saw him knocked out cold.
Taking a step to Jackson’s right, Lee stumbled and bounced against the ropes as the American continued to stalk him down.
Hunting a finishing punch, Jackson threw a right hook to be greeted by one of Lee’s own – a cross between a hook and an uppercut – which sent him sprawling to the canvas.
Lee triumphantly raised his arms immediately as medical and corner staff rushed to aid Jackson, who was near-motionless on the canvas.
It will surely rank among the greatest comebacks of the year, not to mention a front-runner for knockout of the year from all publications.
The shot also marked a successful new beginning for Lee, who has dropped down to campaign at light-middleweight. His career at a new weight nearly went dramatically wrong from the off, winning a disputed majority decision verdict over unheralded Frenchman Frank Haroche Horta two months ago.
Jackson’s early dominance suggested it could be a short spell at 154lbs for Lee, but that single punch keeps him in the mix for big fights at the weight.
Lee’s devastating right hand also earned him the vacant NABF light-middleweight title. NABF represents ‘North American Boxing Foundation’, so it’s unclear how an Irishman in Lee was entitled to fight for it.
There is still clamour for Lee to face Irish compatriot Matthew Macklin at middleweight, his previous weight class. Despite the newly-crowned NABF champion fighting across the Atlantic for most of his career, Ireland’s fight fans are desperate for a showdown between the pair.
Macklin is a three-time world title challenger, last losing to gruesome puncher Gennady Golovkin on a third-round knockout.
Lee was fighting on the undercard of Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto, with the latter making Puerto Rican history on two counts; the first middleweight champion from the country and the first four-weight division champion the country has ever produced.
Cotto’s win was hailed a surprise by most, but the dominant nature of his performance suggested he was the champion. Martinez was knocked down four times, thrice inside the first round, before his corner called an end to the demolition seconds after round ten started.
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