Andy Lee W8 KeAndrae Leatherwood… Former WBO middleweight title holder Andy Lee returned from a fifteen-month layoff with an uneventful unanimous decision win over KeAndrae Leatherwood. Lee, from Limerick, Ireland, defeated Alabama’s Leatherwood by scores of 80-72, 78-74 and 79-73. There was not much action in the first half of the eight rounder as Leatherwood (19-4-1) struggled to figure out Lee’s southpaw stance and Lee (35-3-1) seemed in no hurry to push the pace. The middleweight encounter resembled the mannequin challenge more than a fight. Lee finally dialed up his activity rate in the sixth round, putting Leatherwood on his back foot. Over the last three rounds, Lee got the better of the action, mixing in lead left hands effectively with his jab. Neither fighter was down or even hurt during the bout.
Lee had not fought since losing his WBO middleweight title to Billy Joe Saunders in December 2015. Leatherwood had been much busier in the recent past, winning four times in 2016, although all four of his victims had losing records. It would be tempting to chalk up Lee’s performance to ring rust, but his effort tonight wasn’t all that different from his showing against Matt Korobov when he won the vacant WBO title in 2014.
A four-round heavyweight bout was won via majority decision by Matt McKinney over Scottish teenager big Jay McFarlane. McKinney got the narrow nod on the scorecards by scores of 39-37 (twice) and 38-38. His record improves to 4-2-2. McFarlane, who shook his head in disgust as the decision was announced, heads back to Glasgow at 2-1.
The Madison Square Garden show opened up with a junior middleweight bout between Serhii Bohachuk of the Ukraine and Cuban-born Yasmani Pedroso. Bohachuk stopped Pedroso to improve to 3-0. Pedroso is now 1-2.