The proverbial Luck of the Irish smiled on Andy Lee as he escaped with a come from behind knockout victory over John Jackson last Saturday in Madison Square Garden.

KO of the Year Candidate

Irish Andy Lee’s dramatic 5th round stoppage of John Jackson is an early candidate for boxing’s knockout of the year. Trailing 39-36 in all of the judges’ scorecards, Lee uncorked a right hybrid hook-uppercut to the chin that knocked John Jackson out cold for a couple of minutes on the canvass.

Jackson had been in control of the bout, as he was able to drop Lee with a right hook in the very first round. Jackson continued to pound Lee during their fierce exchanges in the second round. In the third, Lee was able to keep the lanky Jackson at bay with his stiff jabs although Jackson was still able to connect with his heavy right hand. As the fourth round started, Jackson continued his offensive against Lee and caught the Irishman in the ropes. But as Lee moved out to his left and out of danger, he caught Jackson coming in with that thunderous right hand that immediately floored Jackson at the 1:07 mark.

The sensational knockout was reminiscent of Lee’s third round knockout victory over former light middleweight world champion Carl Daniels in March 2007 at the MSG Theater.

Early Birthday Present

The win was an early birthday present for Andy Lee, who will turn 30 on June 11. Lee had relocated to London from Detroit after his loss to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and the untimely death of legendary trainer Emmanuel Steward who was his mentor. Now under the tutelage of trainer and manager Adam Booth, Lee re-grouped in London and moved down to the light middleweight division where he and Booth felt that Lee would be more of a force to reckon with.

Moving Down in Weight

Lee had previously fought in the middleweight class ever since he was an amateur. After winning his first 15 bouts, he was knocked out by American Brian Vera in his HBO debut in 2008. But Emmanuel Steward worked Lee into a contender, and that culminated in his June 2012 WBC World Middleweight title bout against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Lee was fighting a good bout against Chavez from the outside but was weakened by Julio’s body punches. The young Chavez started to turn the match in his favor as the bout neared the middle rounds. In round 7, Chavez unleashed a flurry that left a tired Andy Lee helpless on the ropes and although Lee never went down, referee Lawrence Cole stopped the bout.

Lee bounced back from that defeat to win four straight bouts, three by KO to set up the fight with John Jackson in the Cotto-Martinez undercard.

Title Shot

With the win over Jackson, Lee also won the NABF light middleweight belt. His promoter Lou Di Bella and manager Adam Booth are set to discuss their future plans for Lee. And although he had some luck in beating Jackson, the victory over the WBC’s #4 ranked contender will move Lee up the ladder and possibly set up a title fight in the near future.

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