Demetrius Andrade will face Vanes Martirosyan on September 7, with HBO televising the fight as the co-feature to the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Brian Vera main event, which wasn't easy to get done. Promoters had to essentially convince the network to air the fight, which is bizarre in a world where the same channel shows things like Terence Crawford vs Alejandro Sanabria and Zou Shiming on tape delay (although that's very cheap, and it's on HBO2, so it doesn't compare, really, but I just want to get all steamed about it).
Andrade (19-0, 13 KO) was set to face WBO 154-pound titlist Zaurbek Baysangurov in Ukraine earlier this year, but Baysangurov pulled out of the fight, which led to the sanctioning body stripping him of the title. Andrade vs Martirosyan was then ordered, and the fight came together pretty quickly, and now will have proper exposure.
Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KO) definitely appears to be making a serious step forward under new manager Cameron Dunkin, after years of mostly treading water against grossly overmatched foes. His last HBO appearance came in November 2012, when he and Erislandy Lara went to a dreadfully dull technical draw. Prior to that, he hadn't competed on the network since a clear but boring win over Joe Greene in 2010. At 27, he's theoretically into his prime years now, so it's time for him to step up to a fight like this, and it's good to see that he's going to. He's always looked like a decent fighter at worst, but it's hard to tell when the opposition is a series of mismatched foes.
Andrade, 25, says he's looking forward to the fight, and ready to capitalize:
"I am looking forward to this fight and have been waiting for this fight ever since I walked into the gym at age 7", said Andrade.
"I always wanted to be champion of the world and on September 7th I will be crowned champion. I wanted to win an Olympic gold medal and since they took that from me, I am going to take this world title."
"I was a 2008 Olympian and he made it in 2004. I will show him that if I was around in 2003 and 2004, he would not have made the team," finished Andrade.
Neither fighter has been known for action so far, which may have been HBO's main concern (plus, Andrade isn't backed by a major promoter, with all due respect to Artie Pellulo and his partners, including Joe DeGuardia), and my guess is that the overall feeling right now is he's the favorite. HBO has shown no real interest in him prior to this, and their experiments with Martirosyan have fizzled. Therefore, I say kudos to the promoters getting this on TV. The fight might be a stinker, but them's the breaks with sports. Not everything is going to be Figueroa-Arakawa. And if it was, I'd get really tired anyway.