Florida club fighter Rowland Bryant scored the biggest win of his career so far, and just might be worth dropping the "club fighter" from his description, as he stopped veteran Librado Andrade in the third round tonight in El Paso.
Bryant (16-1, 11 KO) had fought just once since 2009, and only twice since 2006, but he was in good shape and looked as though he'd scouted Andrade (30-5, 23 KO) quite well, throwing bombs at the defense-deficient brawler, whose speed has dropped to nonexistent levels and overall skill level is worse than ever.
The win is an upset for sure, but probably not the shocker that it may be made out to be. Andrade was life-and-death with Aaron Pryor Jr last year, losing a close decision, and really hasn't beaten anyone good since 2008, when he took down Yusaf Mack and Robert Stieglitz in back-to-back fights. This is not the iron-chinned Andrade who walked through Mikkel Kessler's shots, losing 12 straight rounds, or the determined slugger who nearly beat Lucian Bute. This is a worn out, faded veteran fighter whose lack of skill has totally caught up to him. He doesn't have the chin he used to have, doesn't have the same engine anymore. He's not the same guy.
The stoppage has been argued as early by some, but mostly on reputation, and I don't think that's valid. Andrade doesn't get to hang around while being blasted in the skull in 2012 just because in 2007-08 he was indestructible.
Andrade is truly a gentleman, a rarity in boxing with just how genuinely nice he is, and he will be remembered fondly by those who saw him in action. But he's done as any sort of potential contender, and given his style, if he continues on, he might be more a punching bag than a gatekeeper.