Staying Active: Demetrius Andrade’s quest for a big fight
Demetrius Andrade might rival only Guillermo Rigondeaux for the saddest career in boxing for being one of the best fighters in the world. Andrade is simply put one of the best in terms of skills, he is top five in the world, but sadly his resume for one reason or another does not show. Quite simply, up until now, Andrade is boxing’s best-kept secret, a secret Eddie Hearn is hoping to unleash in 2019.
Andrade, who beat nearly every American world champion around his weight class during the amateurs and made the 2008 U.S. Olympic team has seen odd interference interrupt his career despite being a three-time world champion in two division different division (super welterweight and middleweight), yet it feels he hasn’t gotten the accolades nor the marquee fights that he deserves. In fact, it feels as though the big names such as “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin are more than willing to take their time and not rush to fight him, if fight him at all. The slick and powerful southpaw now has all, but one choice – stay active, and hope the big fight comes.
Andrade, who left his longtime promoter of Star Boxing and Banner Promotions last year in July for Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing is more active than ever, but still not unlike the rest of his career in awkward positions. Last October, Andrade was finally getting a coup de grace as he was set to face WBO middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders, but that was all for not as Saunders failed a drug test prior to the bout and wasn’t sanctioned in Massachuttes.
Andrade faced heavy-handed and awkward Walter Kautondokwa for the vacant WBO middleweight title, in a bout Andrade dominated sending Kautondokwa to the mat multiple times en route to a dominant 12-round decision. The performance was brilliant, but with Andrade’s career inactivity and skill-set observers scoffed at Kautondokwa as world championship level opponent.
As mentioned above, inactivity has been Andrade’s kryptonite as whenever he riffles off a good win or seems to be in the mix, Andrade finds himself out of the loop somehow, examples persist recently as a tremendous knockout performance against Willie Nelson on Showtime, somehow saw Andrade never fighting again on Showtime. Then HBO took interest in him, but after his fight with 6’4” Alantez Fox, Andrade was not offered anymore fights on the network, despite being given a very awkward opponent. It felt as though Andrade was stuck in limbo until he received a contract from Matchroom Boxing and Eddie Hearn.
With DAZN and Hearn, Andrade has one advantage, ring time, something Andrade hadn’t had since when he frequented ESPN2’s ill-fated boxing series, Friday Night Fights from 2009-2012 fighting every three months or so. Andrade is one of the best in the world, the problem is fans don’t always care about skill, they care about marketing and dramatic performances. Andrade has plenty of power for knockouts and top 5 talent in all of boxing, so all he can do is keep fighting and look for a bout to pop up.
Andrade’s opponent on Friday night from Madison Square Garden is the classic trap opponent in Artur Akavov, he is a southpaw, largely disrespected by the boxing community as a whole, but gave former world champion Billy Joe Saunders a tough fight when they fought. Andrade needs to make a statement in this bout to have a very active 2019 so he can look to get one of the bigger names such as a Canelo or Gennady Golovkin, so he can earn life changing money and cement his legacy amongst the greats of the sport.
The problem is professional boxing isn’t fair and promotional boxing doesn’t value winning, despite being undefeated and one of the most skillful fighters in boxing, Andrade is so good he is avoided and the way boxing is set-up, a fighter in his position can’t do much to change that rather than get old.
For Andrade, he simply has to stay active and hope that his promoter can get him the big fight.