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Demetrius Andrade is an extremely talented boxer with an insane athletic ability. The problem is the top of the current Middleweight division is stacked with men like him, men who would have been fighting for spots in the top 10 in any era. The guys Andrade could face include Canelo, GGG, Jermall Charlo, Eubank Jr, Munguia, Liam Smith… It’s a dizzying list.
Fans, pundits, and Andrade himself have long been saying that he’s being overlooked, purposely by the promoters and matchmakers. He’s been fought everyone worth fighting in the top 40, he fought #12 ranked Maciej Sulecki last year, which helped him break into the top 10 of the division. But Andrade has not yet managed to land a fight against the men he would call equals, why is that?
Andrade has a wealth of top-class experience
Andrade might not have gotten a shot at any of the top 5 yet, but as an amateur, he fought at the highest level. Andrade won the U.S. national championships twice, won a gold medal at the 2007 World Championships, and represented the U.S. at the 2008 Olympics, beating Keith Thurman twice in the process of winning his Olympic spot.
He managed to superbly pair his technical prowess with his power to transfer very effectively to the professional game. Where he made short work of the lower ranks and fought like the veteran he is, right from his debut.
Canelo meant it as an insult, but might have been right
In April, when asked about facing Andrade, Canelo said “Maybe he’s a good fighter, but he’s a boring fighter, and at the end of the day, when there’s a boring fight… I like fights where there’s action, where people can enjoy a good show.” We won’t say that Andrade is boring, but what’s true is that whenever we talk about Andrade and a potential matchup, he’s the b-side. Despite his 18 KOs, Andrade has somehow failed to capture crowds the way Canelo, Lomachenko, Fury, or Usyk have.
He’s technically sound, and he knows it, he doesn’t go looking for KOs but is ready to snap them up in a moment. He’s amazing in the ring, Andrade is what would happen if you made a boxer in a test-tube, or made a boxing video-game boss. He’s not too flashy or anything, but he’s a very complete package who’s very just hard to beat. He has power, speed, high boxing-IQ, great technique, and movement, but he’s still overlooked.
The problem with Andrade, is the professional game itself
Professional boxing isn’t just about being the best at boxing, unfortunately. It’s about enticing people to tune in and part with their money, to buy the PPV and the merchandise. Canelo has managed to capture world stage not just because he’s a freakish boxer, but because he showboats, KOs people in style, jump weight classes for the sake it, just to show how dominant he is. Fury has done the same because of his bravado, his comeback story, his ‘Ali-Esque’ footwork, and needless rope-a-dope.
Fury didn’t need to embarrass Tom Schwarz with his head movement the way he did, he outclassed the man so badly that he could have ended that fight whenever he wanted. Fury wanted to give the fans a show, he wanted to add to his own legend. Even though Schwarz is a relative nobody, everyone was talking about that fight afterward. Andrade hasn’t done this yet; he hasn’t lit up the boxing ring in a way that causes fans to want to mark his next fight in their calendar.
In his most recent outing against Luke Keeler, Andrade made a huge departure from his regular highly-technical style and had a 9-round toe-to-toe with the Dubliner. It wasn’t pretty, but it was entertaining and he got the KO in the end. While I was watching I had the immediate thought that Andrade was fighting this way to please fans, he had spoken to the ‘boxing God’s’ and asked them why he was being overlooked, and they told him to offer the fans more excitement. The problem is that Andrade didn’t fight as well that way, it was more exciting, but if it had been Canelo, Charlo, or GGG instead of Keller he would’ve been obliterated.
Andrade’s style is what wins him fights, it’s also a style that requires the other boxer to come forward and do some of the work. Andrade is more defensively minded, not willing to make mistakes for the sake of pushing the offense, which is always going to make him less appealing to watch. If it was Canelo’s job to dethrone Andrade, it would be an extremely tough fought and interesting fight, but it’s up to Andrade to take the initiate. Whenever he gets into the ring, he does so as an equal and fights accordingly. The problem is Andrade needs to be the aggressor, he needs to be the one stalking and pushing.
In a pure boxing match, Andrade can definitely mix it with the best men. But this is the professionals and not the amateurs, you don’t get fights because you deserve them, you get fights because you bring something to the table that the others don’t. Whether it’s unpredictable in-ring behaviour, a huge PPV draw, showboating, or something else, as the b-side to Canelo, GGG, and Charlo, Andrade represents nothing but risk. While Andrade may say they’re all ducking him, they’ll say they’re making sounds business decisions.
I agree that many Middleweights are avoiding ‘Boo Boo’ Andrade, partly because he’d be a nightmare to fight, but also because he won’t make them as much money as someone who would be far easier to fight. By avoiding Andrade, the other Middleweights are also avoiding a night of being drastically underpaid, something which we can all agree is the right thing to do. I do truly hope Andrade gets his shot at the big boys, we just don’t know what he needs to do get it, other than keep grinding out the wins.