Demetrius Andrade ready for return, ambition sky-high
Andrade. It’s not pronounced “Ahn-drah-day.”
We should all know this by now.
Because Rhode Islander Demetrius Andrade is of a talent level that all heavy-duty fight fans should be knowing his name, and appreciating his game.
The fighter, who came out of the 2008 Olympics, now sees 2012 Olympians like Anthony Joshua winning crowns and making bank. The record of the 6-foot-1 lefty stands at 22-0, with 15 KOs, and the good news is, he seems to be poised for a run of activity.
The 28-year-old hitter, trained by his dad, Paul, managed by Ed Farris and co-promoted by Joe DeGuardia and Arthur Pelullo, fights Willie Nelson on June 11 at Turning Stone in Verona, New York. Showtime will showcase, on a tripleheader card topped by 140-pound gladiators Ruslan Provodnikov and John Molina.
My belief is that there’s no reason, I guess beyond maintaining an active schedule, why Andrade shouldn’t be holding straps at 154 and positioning himself to perhaps have fans lobbying on his behalf to get paired up with the Canelos and Cottos and the like. He agrees. “I think of myself as one of the best at 154,” he said.
Nelson (25-2-1, 15 KOs) is good, can be streaky and is the underdog versus the RI guy, who is back in New England after spending time in various map points (Cali, Atlanta, Florida) in the U.S.
Andrade hasn’t lost confidence because of inactivity – he’s completed four fights in 3 1/2 years. “It’s where I belong, where I deserve to be.” He says he now really gets it, what he can do, and what fans are wanting. Showing volume and aggression in more of every round is his aim, he says. “Now I’m letting it flow more, I used to force it.” Part of that is relaxation borne of confidence; in the amateurs he fought people like Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, and did well, so he knows the level he’s at.
My eyes saw Andrade looking poised and strong and ready to elevate himself when he toyed with Brian Rose in Brooklyn in June 2014. But since then he fought once, last October. That is no way to convince the masses to place you on par with a Canelo, in talent, and stake a claim that you are a Top 25 pound-for-pound guy, on the ascent to the Top 10.
So what gives?
Contractual matters, promotional affairs, a lot of outside-the-ring stuff has kept him inactive. Andrade said he and co-promoters DeGuardia and Pelullo, who each have 25 percent of his contract, are involved in a court matter with Roc Nation Sports. His side maintains Roc tried to sign him to be in their stable and promised things, while Roc presumably takes issue with the contentions from Andrade and Co. “(The lawsuit) is in progress,” Andrade said. “I’m going to let the judge deal with that.” (I asked a Roc Nation spokesman if they cared to respond to this issue and will insert a reply if furnished.)
Andrade seems to know he must compartmentalize these different issues if he’s to handle Nelson, and then maybe progress to fight the winner of the Jermell Charlo vs. John Jackson bout (May 21, for the vacated WBC 154 belt). The winner of that is supposed to fight (“silver” champion) Charles Hatley and the sanctioning body says Andrade (who is currently rated No. 6 by THE RING) will fight the winner of that tangle. (The Charlo-Jackson winner is ordered to fight two mandatories: versus Hatley and then the Andrade-Nelson winner.) That all sounds like it could drag into late 2017 … so Andrade is open to picking up a new script.
“I’m a person who is going to look at the bright side. Bad things can happen. But right now I have my fight I’m looking at. Nelson has had big fights, he’s experienced. I think it’s one of the best 154 matchups there is. And the (court matters), that will come out when it comes out.” (He said there is no court date to progress the case on the docket as of now.)
Sure, his mind can drift. The inactivity means peers have already been given marquee matches and passed the tests. Why boxers have to negotiate as they do and don’t have the support structure, like the unions and player associations other sports do, gnaws at Andrade. “All the other sports, they have someone fighting for them. It would be a better sport if we had that,” he says.
Fan chatter, people critiquing possible paydays when top-tier collegiates get fat guarantees as first-year pros, that can be aggravating to hear. “And we’re not playing. You can get knocked out and stuff. It’s crazy people think that. But Floyd is an example. He wasn’t making it. He kept going, to get there.”
Andrade wants those mega marquee fights. He’s open to fighting the Charlos and Erislandy Laras and such, but the shinier targets are his aim. His final words? “I think I’m the best at 154. I want the top names. And I’m working to get in with those big guys.”