Fifteen months after he lost the WBO middleweight strap to Billy Joe Saunders in Manchester, Ireland’s Andy Lee returned to action on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden and scored a unanimous decision win over KeAndrae Leatherwood in an 8-rounder on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin vs Daniel Jacobs.
Remarkably, the fight wasn’t even televised in Ireland and the UK, so one could only view it via an online stream.
In reality, however, this was no more than an exercise in shaking off ring rust for Lee. Leatherwood boasted a respectable looking 19-3-1 record coming in, but most of his wins had come against cadavers and he also sported a loss against a then 16-19 Taronze Washington.
Still, the 28-year-old Alabama native was sharp, in shape and gave Lee a good workout.
Lee started very slowly and struggled to really find his range, which allowed Leatherwood to do some good work and arguably take a couple of the early rounds. However, the Limerick native slowly warmed into the fight and he boxed well in rounds six, seven and eight.
In the end, Lee was awarded the win by scores of 80-72, 78-74 and 79-73. It must be said that two of those margins seemed unduly wide.
The win moves Lee to 35-3-1 as he goes in search of another significant fight.
— Adam Booth (@boxingbooth) March 19, 2017
A little further up the east coast of the United States, another Irish middleweight also added to his resume. Cork’s Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan scored a fourth-round stoppage of Ronald Montes at the House of Blues in Boston to move to 24-2 as pro. It was his second straight win since a stoppage loss to Chris Eubank Jr. in late 2015.