Q&A: Demetrius Andrade
The last time we saw Demetrius Andrade in a boxing ring, he was the reigning WBO junior middleweight beltholder and seemingly on his way to becoming one of the premier fighters in the world.
Fast forward 16 months; he’s been inactive and stripped of his title. He returns on Saturday to face unknown Argentinean Dario Fabian Pucheta at Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT. The fight won’t even be on TV.
How the mighty have fallen.
The 27-year-old southpaw from nearby Providence, Rhode Island (an hour’s drive away), isn’t focused on the negatives – there have been too many of them of late – He just wants to shed some ring rust and get back to what he does best.
“I think this is an opportunity for me to see what my fan base is all about,” Andraden (21-0, 14 knockouts) told RingTV.com, putting a positive spin on things. “I’d love to be fighting on TV, especially for those who can’t be there [at Mohegan Sun]. I want to see who my true fans are that support me. This fight is a chance for me to get back in the ring and to use it as a steppingstone to get back on television.”
RingTV.com caught up with Andrade in the build-up to his return. Here’s what he had to say.
RingTV.com – You return from a 16-month hiatus against Pucheta. What are your thoughts on finally resuming your career?
Demetrius Andrade – It feels good being back in the ring getting ready to fight. I’m reenergized. I’m fighting a guy with a good record but it really didn’t matter who is going to be in front of me. I really wanted Delvin Rodriguez because a good performance over him would put me in a different category than over the guy I’m fighting. But, I guess, they didn’t want to put him in the ring with me and to save him for somebody else.
RTV – What do you know about Pucheta?
DA – Not too much. I know he has a 20-2 [with 11 KOs] record and that he’s short and stocky. He’s coming to fight too.
RTV – You’ve had some outside the ring troubles over the past year or so. What can you tell us about them?
DA – Other than the situation [a lawsuit against] Roc Nation [Sports], I didn’t have any troubles outside of the ring. I’ve put everything behind me and now I’m just looking ahead, starting with my Oct. 17th fight.
RTV – What have you done with your time over the past 16 months?
DA – I kept training and got stronger. I took care of my family and did things to survive.
RTV – You had been scheduled to face Jermell Charlo in Las Vegas of last year but that fight fell through. You were also linked with a move up to middleweight to fight Matt Korobov. Could you explain your side of what happened?
DA – I was in a situation with an entertainer, Jay Z, who I felt could help me in the ring and with marketing, so I chose, at that time, not to take that fight (Dec. 13 vs. Charlo). It is the only fight I turned down but I agreed to fight Charlo [on Jan. 14] after things didn’t happen [with Roc Nation Sports]. Instead, [Charlo] signed a deal to fight [Vanes] Martirosyan. I didn’t know about the Korobov fight until afterwards [when it was announced] and I never intended to move up to middleweight, at that time, to fight him or anybody else.
RTV – I’m sure winning a world title would have been one of your goals when you entered the pro game. However, you were stripped of the WBO junior middleweight title a few months ago. Can you share your thoughts on that?
DA – I was disappointed but the title didn’t identify me. There are other great fighters that people recognize who don’t have world title belts. People know who the real champions are even if they don’t have a belt.
RTV – It would appear that you have a real hunger and an edge to you now. Do you intend to use that to make a statement going forward?
DA – I want to make a statement that I’m the best in my division and show why nobody wants to fight me.
RTV – Is the plan to face Liam Smith, who beat John Thompson to win the vacant WBO title, to regain the belt?
DA – If we can make that fight happen with Smith to get my belt back, yeah, but, if not, there are three other world titles I can fight for.
RTV – What are your thoughts on the junior middleweight division in general?
DA – The junior middleweight division has some great fighters with potential match-ups that haven’t been made yet. After my Oct. 17 fight, I hope one of those great fights will include me.
RTV – What goals have you set for yourself going forward?
DA – Get another world title belt, build a strong team and keep active. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has retired and boxing needs a new superstar. I believe that I can fill Floyd’s shoes.
RTV – In closing, do you have a message for the boxing world ahead of your return?
DA – Like Roy Jones Jr. said, “Y’all must have forgot!”