Andy Lee was set to make his return to the ring on March 17 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, part of the undercard for the Sergio Martinez vs Matthew Macklin show. But now it appears he may not have to wait much longer to receive the world title shot that Lou DiBella promised him at a press conference for that event.
Lee appears headed for an April 13 clash in Germany against WBA middleweight titlist Felix Sturm, according to BoxingScene.com, with DiBella negotiating for the fight, which Lee and trainer/manager Emanuel Steward want badly.
"We are talking with Sturm's people. Andy wants a big fight. He wants to fight Felix Sturm. Andy and Emanuel Steward want the fight. They want me to pursue this opportunity and that's why Andy is not fighting on March 17th. He wants to hold out for a big opportunity. Sturm doesn't have an opponent for April and we hope to make that fight," Lee's promoter, Lou DiBella, told BoxingScene.com.
Sturm (36-2-2, 15 KO) had a rockier 2011 in the ring, but did compete in a couple of very memorable fights and was competitive in both. His June win over Matthew Macklin was a great battle, decried as a robbery by some but in reality a highly-entertaining bout where Sturm gave as good as he got and proved his toughness, and his December draw with Martin Murray was another very good fight.
It's clear that Sturm, turning 33 in 11 days, is in decline. He was never a great fighter, but he's slowed down enough that he's now far more vulnerable than ever before, and he gets hit a lot more than he used to, with harder, cleaner shots.
Lee, 27, and Steward likely view this as their gateway into the top of the division, and as Lee is a lefty with power, he could be a real nightmare for Sturm, who allegedly ducked out of rematch talks with Macklin by demanding too much, and has reportedly not even spoken with Murray about a rematch.
With Lee off of the March 17 card, it's expected that super middleweights Edwin Rodriguez and Don George will be given the co-feature slot. Both are bangers with lousy defense, so that should be an exciting fight while it lasts.