Demetrius Andrade doesn’t always command the love of boxing fans or pundits/critics/whatever you want to call media. John Hansen talked about that here just the other day, and while Andrade has his fans and has his defenders, the reality is that Andrade wouldn’t be fighting in places like Manchester, New Hampshire, which he did last night, if he were in real demand as a headliner.
Putting a good crowd into the SNHU Arena or the Dunkin Donuts Center in his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, is nice to be able to do, certainly. But when Chris Mannix argued on DAZN last night that this means Andrade is a bigger draw than he gets credit for, that’s spin. When we think of “draws” in boxing, we don’t mean people who can draw crowds to small city events at or near their home with reasonably priced tickets. We mean fighters who can command the big ticket prices in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or New York, who can fill stadiums in London or Dallas, who can sell a pay-per-view.
Andrade isn’t one of those. Gabriel Flores Jr can draw a good house in Sacramento, too, nobody’s calling him a “draw.” But this is where my “negative” criticism of Andrade is going to end for now.
Last night on DAZN, Andrade blasted an over-matched Jason Quigley inside of two rounds. It was not a terribly unexpected outcome; Andrade has had the ability to finish off opponents at this level this quickly before, he just hasn’t often done it. On Saturday, he had a clear mission: No cruising, no waiting, no taking the foot off the gas after a fast start. Get in, make as much of a statement as possible against (at best) a fringe contender, and call again for the big fights.
Promoter Eddie Hearn made a desperate plea, challenging the likes of Jermall Charlo, Jaime Munguia, and Gennadiy Golovkin to step up and fight Andrade. And while I may not agree with the tactic of putting the onus on fans to demand those fights — as I said last night, we haven’t seen a lack of fans wanting Andrade in better matchups than Quigley and Luke Keeler — I agree that it’s past time for Andrade (31-0, 19 KO) to get the big shot.
I don’t mean to put promoter spin on this, but Andrade is a 33-year-old, two-division world champion, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, with a likable personality when you let him talk. And you get the feeling — or I do, anyway — that in against better opponents, his style might be a lot more engaging and fun to watch than we’ve normally seen, because he might be challenged and have to really get into his skill set. Even against Luke Williams, a solid contender and tough fighter, we got a better than normal Andrade entertainment experience in April.
Matched against Charlo, Munguia, Golovkin or Ryota Murata — guys of that level might show us what Andrade can really do, and even the true detractors might be pleasantly surprised. And it would finally give Andrade an actual “big fight.”
There have certainly been failures in promoting or handling Andrade along the way. Given that list of accolades and good qualities, Andrade should have managed to get into something bigger by now. He hasn’t. That has been partially on him and his style of boxing in many fights, but you really have to imagine there have been some questionable managerial decisions along the way, too. Look, some fighters do get avoided, and I believe Andrade has been, but even guys like Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, Billy Joe Saunders, and Winky Wright — other difficult southpaws of recent vintage, and guys who aren’t exactly bankable for excitement — managed to get big time fights.
Andrade’s biggest fight has been Liam Williams or Maciej Sulecki.
Maybe part of Andrade’s mistake was guessing that having world titles at 154 and 160 would make contenders and rising names chase him, instead of going the route of forcing a mandatory challenge against someone. But that ship has sailed.
Whether it’s Charlo, Munguia, or the GGG-Murata winner, it needs to be someone “big” next for Andrade. There’s going to be money in it if Eddie Hearn backs his talk with his (or DAZN’s) wallet, which he usually has. Or maybe there’s a good deal out there for Andrade to fight on FOX or Showtime against Charlo; Hearn has said he’d allow it.
It just can’t be another uninspiring fringe contender next time we see “Boo Boo” in the ring. We’ve seen it, and we’ve seen enough of it. Every statement that can be made at that level has been made.