This past Saturday we saw two of those hopefuls meet in a battle for the recently vacated WBO Middleweight title. One of the men was former amateur star Matt Korobov, a man tipped for success by many due to his incredibly career in the amateurs. The other was Ireland's hugely popular Andy Lee, who had been bullied in his only previous world title bout. The contest seemed a weak one in many ways for a "world title bout" but it was an intriguing one, at least on paper.
Sadly whilst it looked great on paper it certainly didn't look great in the ring. The opening round was tedious to say the least with next to nothing landing from either man. Whilst we tend to forgive fighters for using the first round to feel out their opponent this continued for 3 rounds or so with neither man coming close to taking the initiative. Lee backed up, trying to keep distance, whilst Korobov followed applying loose pressure. It was, for 3 rounds, terrible.
Things began to heat up in round 4 as Korobov slowly began to let his hands go whilst inside range. It wasn't turning into a war but it was slowly becoming more action based than it had been in the first 3 rounds. The action again heated up slightly in round 5 and it seemed we were on the verge of a fight slowly breaking out with both finally find a home for their jabs.
In round 6 it seemed that Korobov was going to build on his success from the previous round. That however backfired for the Russian who seemed to tag Lee with a solid shot of his own before being caught by a hard counter right hand. Lee's shot sent Korobov stumbling across the ring. Out of nowhere we had drama and an injured man. Lee could smell blood and immediately unloaded knowing that this was his opportunity to score a shock win and he let his hands go until the referee saved Korobov who wasn't throwing back, wasn't defending himself and somehow wasn't going down. The decision to step in by Bayless may have been slightly premature but Korobov was looking like a man hurt and confused, it was very unlikely he was going to recover before Lee did send him down, or knock him out.
The loss Korobov sees his record fallign to 24-1 (14) whilst Lee is now 34-2 (24) and it's likely Lee will be defending his belt in the UK early next year against the unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders in what should be a more exciting fight than this one which really was dull until the the final few moments.