Record: 24-0 (16 KO) ... Streak: W24 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Southpaw ... Height/Reach: 6’1" / 73½" ... Age: 29
Thoughts: “Boo Boo” Andrade is the type of guy who has won a pair of titles at 154 pounds, never lost either one in the ring, and you can safely say his career has stalled anyway.
When Andrade takes to the ring on Saturday night, he will be two days shy of his ninth full year as a professional fighter. His first few years were handled very carefully, before he stepped up and fought veteran Grady Brewer in 2011. He stayed about that level for his next couple of fights and rattled off some KOs.
Then, in late 2013, he met Vanes Martirosyan for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title. He was dropped in the opening round, clean, but proved his mettle by settling in and winning a split decision, one where I didn’t think Martirosyan had any argument. To me, it was a good, solid win for Andrade, and announced his arrival on the world level.
He defended once, against Brian Rose, a fight he dominated in 2014. And then...well, he pretty much disappeared. Andrade didn’t fight again until October 2015, returning against Dario Pucheta in an easy rust-shaker fight, no longer the WBO champion.
A win over Willie Nelson — where, again, Andrade dominated — followed in June 2016, and then he went to Germany earlier this year and got out with the WBA “world” title, beating Jack Culcay by split decision.
After that fight, Andrade said, “I just want to fight the best. Line them up, and I will knock all the champions down.” There had been talk of Showtime being highly interested in a fight between Andrade and Erislandy Lara, holder of the WBA “super world” title. It never came to be. Neither did any fights with other top 154-pound fighters or titleholders.
So here we are now, and Andrade is back at HBO, and he’s moving up to the middleweight division. It’s a bold step, and one that could net him that elusive big fight in 2018 — if he’s truly interested. (Being boxing, whenever it takes long enough to find The Big Fight, you do have to wonder.)
HBO has Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin at 160. They have Daniel Jacobs now. There will be something for him next year, if he wins, stays at the weight, and wants it. He’s got to win first.
Record: 23-0-1 (11 KO) ... Streak: W16 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 6'4" / 79" ... Age: 25
Thoughts: Fox’s key attributes are quite obvious: as a middleweight, he’s massive, standing 6’4” with a 79-inch reach. He’s young, hungry, and has a big time opportunity to make some noise against a former titleholder on HBO.
But he hasn’t fought anyone yet, either. His best opponents have been guys like Ronald Montes, Paul Valenzuela Jr, and Milton Nunez. Even his two outings this year have been, at best, a sideways step, wins over Kenneth McNeil (a tightly-scored decision) and Euri Gonzalez.
Andrade is smaller and moving up in weight, but has a lot of talent, and he’s proven it in tougher fights than Fox has had to date. And, quite frankly, if matchmakers felt that Fox were that big of a threat to Andrade, he wouldn’t be the opponent in Andrade’s move to 160. Of course, matchmakers have been wrong before.
Fox has been on the prospect radar for a few years now, so it wouldn’t be a total shock if it turns out this guy has been flat-out avoided and could be a serious danger to marquee names. He gets his chance to prove his worth on Saturday.
Matchup Grade: C. I’ll give this one a middle-of-the-road grade because it’s a fight where it’s hard to really know what to expect. Like Saturday’s main event, it depends how ready for the matchup the B-side winds up being. Maybe we’ve got an upset brewing. Maybe at least an interesting fight. Or maybe it’ll wind up a walkover.