ANDY Lee’s WBO middleweight world title win was a much-needed shot in the arm for Irish boxing after Matthew Macklin’s defeat in Dublin last month.
It looked like Macklin was en route to another world title shot and a potential showdown with Lee, but his defeat left the domestic scene disconsolate with no one in Ireland with the profile to fill his boots.
Apart from Lee.
That fact made Lee’s spectacular victory all the more important. The show is back on the road.
In Las Vegas, Lee was behind on all cards and hadn’t won a round on two cards.
But there was little in it for me. Korobov was nicking the rounds — neither boxer willing to expose themselves in a cagey affair.
Two skilful and very technical boxers attempted to work each other out for five rounds with Korobov having the marginally higher work ad conversion rate.
Despite two judges having Lee down by five and five, if you said Lee was ahead by a round then no one would have batted an eyelid.
Lee didn’t panic, nor did his corner, even though the rounds were slipping away.
Lee knew the second half of the fight would be his time, as Korobov slows after coming out quickly in the opening rounds.
Lee caught him with his signature shot, a right hook, and as soon as he connected I knew the fight was over.
Korobov’s legs didn’t — but his upper body went limp, like a drunk staggering up the street.
Lee stood back briefly to assess the situation before unleashing 17 unanswered shots.
The variety of shots and shot selection was impeccable — it wasn’t just hit him where you can.
There were body shots, left hooks, right hooks, uppercuts and the majority were landing.
Normally when you see someone trying to finish a fight they’re wild but Lee’s shot selection impressed me.
With nothing coming back, the referee intervened slightly reluctantly.
What it did show was that Lee’s defeats and experience at the top level stood to him.
If Korobov had been through the wringer previously, his experience may have seen him drop to his knee, take a count to get a breather and clear his head.
That was an insight into Korobov’s lack of top-level experience.
He wasn’t used to being on the receiving end. Lee has been there and knows the feeling.
Lee now has a mandatory challenger in Billy Joe Saunders. Whether Saunders wants to take it is one thing but there are multiple options for Lee.
Frank Warren would want the Saunders fight in London but Lee wants his first defence in Dublin.
There could be a unification match with Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto.
It may be March when Lee’s next fight takes place, and Irish fight fans would sure love a St Patrick’s week scrap.
The other title holders in the division are Cotto, Jermain Taylor and Gennady Golovkin — the latter needs to be avoided.