Demetrius Andrade just might be the best middleweight in the world, but we’ll never get to find out if he doesn’t get the fights to prove it. So far we’ve seen Andrade essentially coast against middling opposition while calling for major fights against the division’s best, but alas, we’re no close to seeing those fights now than we have in the past — even with Andrade being aligned with Matchroom and DAZN.
So in this segment of ESPN’s Max on Boxing, the commentator brings Andre Ward in for a conversation about Andrade’s position and what it’s going to take for him to get the fights he needs to prove his level.
“Forget about being a fighter,” Kellerman said, “if I was a manager and someone came to me with an Andrade fight I’d be like ‘eh, pass.’ And we’re talking about GGG — let’s call out some names — Canelo, and these dudes fight on the same distribution outfit, no excuses. But also like the Charlo brothers to Daniel Jacobs, there are a lot very talented guys in and around the division — no one wants it with Andrade. That doesn’t mean he’ll beat them all, it just means they don’t think it’s worth it. What he is supposed to do?”
At that point Ward chimed in with his thoughts on Andrade’s situation.
“I don’t know,” Ward responded. “I’ve thought about this forwards and backwards, I’ve tried to really understand the position that Andrade is in and it’s a tough one. They’ve stonewalled him. And ‘they’ being the other top guys in the division in and around his weight class. It’s just not a guy that’s worth the risk.
“He’s very skillful, he’s got a ton on amateur experience, high IQ...and he’s left handed! He’s southpaw, and he’s slick. So he hits you, he doesn’t give you a lot to hit in return and he’s not a big draw so you got that combination of ingredients and guys look at the option to fight him and it’s just not worth it. The only thing he can possibly do is continue to win in dominant fashion. The way he won his last fight, that’s all good, he got a knockout, but not against that guy — nobody’s gonna respect that. He’s got to beat somebody that may be in a 50/50 affair that he blows him out or dominates him in such a way that the fans start to clamor about a fight
“That’s the key — the fans have to start clamoring for a fight because him clamoring alone is just not enough.”
Kellerman then asks Ward why we should just accept that Andrade shouldn’t get his opportunity if his talent merits it, demanding that he do more than just win in order command those bouts:
“I’m not saying that it’s right,” Ward began, “I’m saying this is the reality of his situation...this shouldn’t be the standard, but this is the standard with top guys. How many times have we had discussions and talking points on live shows, taped shows, where we’re talking about this top guy in a weight class not fighting that top fighter in a weight class? It’s like the norm now. So it’s not just a Demetrius Andrade issue, it’s a boxing issue...
“This is why I have an issue with some of the young guys who haven’t done first things first. They want the honor and be able to say that ‘I’m the next Floyd Mayweather’ or ‘I’m the best fighter in the world’ yet all-time great fighters, including Floyd Mayweather, his ‘Pretty Boy’ Mayweather days, he had to earn it. He had to fight every style, every situation, and he came out on top to be able to be in a position to be ‘Money Mayweather,’ to pick and choose.
“They wanna skip that portion and go ahead and pick and choose — it doesn’t work like that.”