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Demetrius Andrade challenges Billy Joe Saunders for early 2021 fight

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Andrade and Saunders were meant to fight in 2018.

Demetrius Andrade v Luke Keeler Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

WBO middleweight titleholder Demetrius Andrade is throwing down a challenge to WBO super middleweight titleholder Billy Joe Saunders, following Saunders’ win on Friday over Martin Murray.

“He needs to fight me next,” Andrade said. “No more excuses. February or March, at 168, I’ll whoop his ass.”

Saunders (30-0, 14 KO) and Andrade (29-0, 18 KO) were meant to fight in Oct. 2018, but that was scrapped when Saunders failed a VADA test, which was one of those boxing scandals with no particularly satisfying ending that just sort of went away when enough people basically forgot about it or at least stopped caring much. Saunders tested positive for oxilofrine, which he claimed was due to a nasal spray that wasn’t illegal for use by athletes in the UK. Saunders vacated the WBO middleweight title instead of waiting to be stripped, and Andrade fought and beat Walter Kautondokwa for the vacant belt.

Saunders, 31, has his eyes on the Dec. 19 fight between Canelo Alvarez and Callum Smith, understandably; the winner of that would be a much, much bigger fight than Andrade. But Saunders did mention Andrade in his post-fight interview, as well as Gennadiy Golovkin, who holds the IBF middleweight title and returns on Dec. 18.

The 32-year-old Andrade was meant to fight on Nov. 27 and test the waters at 168, but he lost his opponent and his return was canceled instead. Like Saunders, Andrade has expressed a hunger for a bigger, tougher fight than he’s been able to land recently.

Saunders-Andrade is a good matchup in some ways, specifically in that both of them are very good pro boxers, two-weight titleholders, both unbeaten, both need a challenge. It makes a lot of sense in some ways. But it’s also a potentially miserable style matchup, and neither of them are particularly big draws or anything. As far as making it, it should be easy, as both are with Matchroom Boxing.

Frankly, as a fan, I couldn’t really argue with it. Yeah, it might be a godawful fight, but we see lots of godawful fights. At least if this were godawful, it’s also significant.