RUSSIAN Matt Korobov is starting as favourite over Andy Lee ahead of their WBO middleweight title clash in Las Vegas on Saturday, but his manager Cameron Dunkin reckons they have a fight on their hands.
“Yes,” he admitted. “Andy Lee is a good fighter, he was a great amateur and so was Korobov. They both have a lot of amateur experience and it will be a good fight.”
The knock on Korobov is that he has not become the blistering pro many thought he would after a dominant amateur career.
Dunkin believes he is on the cusp of being able to fulfil his extraordinary potential and explains why the transition has not been as smooth as anticipated.
“It’s several things,” said Dunkin. “He came out looking like he was unbeatable. He came out looking like [Vasyl] Lomachenko and we thought it was going to go fast and for some reason we went through a period where he had trouble breathing, it wasn’t his ability, it was that he would fade by the second or third round and we couldn’t figure it out. It took us several years to figure out what was going on and we think we have all that solved and now he’s coming into his own. It took a while.”
The Eastern European grip on boxing is growing stronger with Lomachenko, Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev all enjoying a huge year in 2014.
GGG is a man Korobov has in his sights.
“He fought Golovkin in the amateurs, he lost to him but it was very close and I know that’s an amateur fight but he’s got a lot of ability and when he puts it together he can give a guy like that fits because he’s so slick,” Dunkin went on. “I think he can fight with anyone, with the best middleweights in the world, but how do you knock Golovkin? He’s a great, great fighter. I’m hoping we can find some fights for him [Korobov]. I’ve been talking to Top Rank about it, if he wins I’m hoping we can get him a couple of guys, get him more exposure, build him a little instead of just throwing him in with Golovkin because you know that’s what HBO will want to do.
“He knows and I know that all roads go through Golovkin, if you [want to] go from being a champion to a star the road goes through Golovkin. You’ve got to fight him. He has no problem with the fight but I don’t want to do that to him right away. I want him to get a little more experience. I want a chance to win the fight, I don’t just want the fight. My guys go to win.”
First, though, comes Lee and Dunkin is expecting a battle with the Irishman.
“Matt starts quickly, I don’t know how quickly he’s going to start in this fight so I’m not sure what he’s going to do but I know Andy Lee, he’s going to let it all hang out, this could turn into a rough firefight, you know that and I know that. They’re going to be bombing away in there.”