- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Three years after middleweight Andy Lee suffered his only professional loss, he exacted revenge against Brian Vera -- and did it in impressive fashion.
In a crowd-pleasing scrap, Lee outboxed and outpunched Vera in a dominant 10-round decision victory on the undercard of middleweight champion Sergio Martinez's title defense against Darren Barker on Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall.
Lee, who won his 12th consecutive fight since the lone loss, dominated with a right jab-straight left combination that he used the entire fight.
"The importance of this win was immeasurable," Lee said. "It had been years coming. If not for tonight, I would've been haunted forever."
In their first fight, which headlined an ESPN2 "Friday Night Fights" card in 2008, Lee -- then a hotshot prospect -- was in total command for most of the fight. He dropped Vera in the first round, but Vera eventually rallied to stop him in the seventh round for a major upset.
Different story Saturday night.
In the second round, it was that right-left combination of Lee's that dropped Vera to his rear end. But Lee also mixed in some superb right uppercuts -- including one that rocked Vera in the third round.
Lee opened a cut over Vera's left eye in the fourth round on an accidental head-butt. Vera clearly was bothered by the blood, which he continually wiped away from his eye.
Lee won 99-90, 99-90 and 98-91 on the scorecards, but the margin could have been greater. Referee Steve Smoger seemed to miss a knockdown in the sixth round when Lee landed a right hand and Vera pitched forward, appearing to put his gloves down to the canvas to steady himself.
"I was trying to hit him and pull out so I wasn't exposed," said Lee, who lives in Detroit, where his trainer, Hall of Famer Emanuel Steward, lives. "I was trying to knock him out, but it's hard with him. With Brian Vera, offense is his defense. He's not a counterpuncher, so I had to keep the pressure on."
Lee (27-1, 19 KOs), a 2004 Irish Olympian, shook Vera (19-6, 12 KOs), of Austin, Texas, repeatedly, including with a straight left at the end of the seventh and another late in the ninth.
"I was trying to get him with a big punch, but he was gone," Vera said. "At the beginning of the fight, I tried to take my time, which I should not have done. It gave him too much confidence."
Lee is hoping for a title shot against the winner of the main event or any other top 160-pounder.
"I'll fight anyone, but no middleweight wants to fight me," Lee said.
Vera, a former participant on "The Contender" reality series, was 3-4 coming into the rematch but had pulled off two other notable upsets since his win against Lee. He went to Montreal and knocked out hometown favorite Sebastien Demers in the third round in June 2010 and pulled off a split decision against former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora in February.
Chilemba blows out Bostic
Light heavyweight Isaac Chilemba (18-1-1, 9 KOs), who recently signed with promoter Lou DiBella and was making his American debut Saturday, knocked out Jameson Bostic (23-5, 13 KOs) of Brooklyn. N.Y., at 1 minute, 48 seconds of the second round.
Chilemba, 24, spent the first round boxing against Bostic and finding his range. He had him figured out by the second round and suddenly launched a series of blows, including multiple powerful right hands that backed Bostic into a corner and dropped him to his knees.
Bostic didn't appear as though he wanted to continue and took the full count from referee Sam Viruet while down on one knee, looking at the ring mat.
Chilemba is 11-0-1 since his lone defeat in 2007.
• With his fans cheering for him throughout the fight, light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (9-0, 6 KOs) of Long Beach, N.Y., hammered overmatched Kentrell Claiborne (2-4, 1 KO) throughout the fight until Viruet intervened at 54 seconds of the fourth round.
• Bronx, N.Y., junior middleweight prospect Steven Martinez (11-0, 9 KOs), a former National Golden Gloves champion and three-time New York Golden Gloves champ, stopped Jay Krupp (14-5, 7 KOs) in the fifth round. Martinez prepared for the fight by training in the Oxnard, Calif., camp of middleweight champ Sergio Martinez.
• Heavy-handed Russian heavyweight prospect Magomed Abdusalamov (10-0, 10 KOs) kept his perfect knockout record intact with a first-round knockout of Kevin Burnett (13-4-1, 8 KOs). Abdusalamov, a 6-foot-3, 229-pound southpaw, dropped the 6-6, 304-pound Burnett twice before Burnett's corner threw in the towel at 1 minute, 19 seconds.
• Junior middleweight Boyd Melson (6-0, 3 KOs), a West Point graduate from White Plains, N.Y., rolled to a six-round decision against Russ Niggemyer (2-4, 2 KOs). Melson controlled the fight from start to finish to win 60-53, 60-54 and 59-55. Melson, who is trained by former lightweight titlist Joey Gamache, said he is donating his entire purse to the "Just a Dollar Please" organization, which is involved in stem cell research.
• Harrisburg, Pa., junior middleweight Daniel Lugo (1-1) scored a four-round upset of Kevin Rooney Jr. (2-1, 1 KO) in a brawl. Lugo got the better of Rooney -- the son of famed former Mike Tyson trainer Kevin Rooney Sr., who was in his corner -- earning a 39-37 nod on all three scorecards. After the fight, Rooney, who works for promoter Lou DiBella as a publicist, had to resume his fight-night duties.
• Detroit super middleweight prospect J'Leon Love (9-0, 6 KOs) cruised to a six-round decision against Eddie Hunter (5-7-2, 2 KOs) of Kent, Wash. Love, technically and physically superior, rolled to a 60-53, 60-54, 60-54 shutout decision and is supposed to advance to a scheduled eight-rounder in his next fight.
• In the first fight of the night, Bronx, N.Y., middleweight Troy Artis (3-2-1, 2 KO) knocked out Israel Duffus (2-1, 2 KOs) of Panama at 2 minutes, 3 seconds of the third round in an upset.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.
Andy Lee systematically broke down Brian Vera over 10 rounds to earn the clear decision on the undercard of Saturday's Sergio Martinez-Darren Barker fight in Atlantic City, N.J.