Demetrius Andrade has a deal with DAZN, which is why he was fighting there Saturday night, but more importantly he has a deal with DAZN because DAZN has the two biggest attractions in the middleweight division, champ Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. And during his fight with Maciej Sulecki this time out, DAZN’s broadcasting team was giving him the old rub-and-tug. So, in theory, he’s lined up for big things.
DAZN’s Brian Kenny talked about Andrade’s reputation (or, rather, the reputation they’re cultivating for him) as boxing’s most avoided man. “There’s a reward in that to eventually,” Kenny.
Is there really, though?
Andrade is 31. He’s always been the high-risk talented guy. He’s talked about changing his cautious style before to make him more appealing to fans, but he did it for about a round with his opening stanza knockdown and then went back to actually fighting, sporadically, for the rest of the fight, as is his wont. Drawing 7,000 fans in his hometown of Providence, R.I. ain’t half bad, but it’s a bit more of a start toward building a fan base than commanding one so formidable that he can’t be avoided any longer.
Consider a very different case of an avoided fighter. Antonio Margarito scored his career-making fight against Miguel Cotto at age 30. Does Andrade, one year older, have the kind of momentum Margarito did at 30? Is it even close? Had Andrade faced anyone close to as good as, say, Joshua Clottey or Paul Williams?
Consider another fighter who profiles like him as a talented, low-contact boxer: Chad Dawson, whose old ass was actually in the ring Saturday, too. By the time he was Andrade’s age, he’d faced Glen Johnson, Antonio Tarver, Jean Pascal, Bernard Hopkins and Andre Ward.
Who is Andrade’s best win? You gotta go with Vanes Martirosyan, probably. Nothing against Vanes, but if you had a candle in your hand, you wouldn’t hold it up against any of the men mentioned above. If he’d decided to face someone better he could’ve: He pulled out of a fight against Jermall Charlo (also fighting Saturday) back in 2014. His career has been squandered opportunity, and you can’t squander opportunity so long that you somehow trip into a career-making payday and/or fight.
Andrade cruised Saturday against a solid opponent. He had an easier time with Sulecki, in fact, that the higher-ranked middleweight Danny Jacobs did. Sulecki probably still won a couple rounds because Andrade took so many off, although the judges gave hm every single one of ’em. On the plus side, he didn’t get dropped, which is something he does too often to pick him against someone like Canelo or GGG if he ever got either, anyway.
Canelo is eyeing Sergey Kovalev two divisions north, anyhow. GGG still has unrequited love for another Canelo showdown and it’s hard to imagine him having enough professional pride to warrant risking a Canelo payday against a guy who’s going to spoil and even potentially score an upset. Heck, I can be down for guys like Andrade in theory — I like good boxing craft — but not even Andrade does much for me. DAZN’s Chris Mannix was saying the public needs to pressure for Andrade-GGG. Who really will, though? And whose fault is that?
The undercard was also marked by hot starts and sluggish finishes from the A-sides.
In a clash of Samoan heavyweights, Kiwi Joseph Parker took on Australian Alex Leapai and was bashing the tar out of him with sharp, fast punches, but Leapai just wouldn’t go down, and Parker eased off the gas. Accumulation of punches got the point in the 10th round that the fight was stopped. Parker wants another shot at the hot subject in his division, Andy Ruiz Jr., after Ruiz beat Anthony Joshua. Parker has a win over him already, and maybe Ruiz can be convinced, at some point, to want to avenge that loss. It doesn’t happen anytime soon, though, because Ruiz can make a ton more cash in a Joshua rematch, and have his pick of the litter after that, too. Parker’s probably no better than his fourth best option in the next year or two.
Early, Khalid Yafai looked the goods against Norbelto Jimenez, a solid junior bantamweight-ish fighter languishing in inactivity for the year. He had Jimenez hurt a couple times, even. Then Jimenez found his legs and began winning rounds. Unfortunately for Jimenez, any remote chance he had on the scorecards was ruined by referee Danny Schiavone, in one of the worst showings from a ref in recent memory. He docked Jimenez for holding without much warning. As Yafai racked up the low blows, there was no such docking: In fact, after two brutal ones put Jimenez on his knees, Schiavone harassed him into standing up and didn’t give him a chance to say he was ready to continue. Then he scored a non-existent knockdown for Yafai. Yafai wants the likes of Juan Francisco Estrada next. If he has a showing like this one — and he blamed some perforated eardrums and hand injuries for his performance — he won’t win.
(Demetrius Andrade connects on Maciej Sulecki; via)