Demetrius Andrade can't afford a slip en route to possible GGG or Canelo matchup
Two of the 10 boxers who are in the Yahoo Sports pound-for-pound list are middleweights, but it’s not a stretch to say that the best 160-pounder in the world is all but unknown to the casual fans.
Demetrius Andrade is the WBO champion, and defends his belt on Saturday against Maciej Sulecki in the main event of a card (9 p.m. ET, DAZN) at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
And while you never hear his name being spoken by No. 4 Canelo Alvarez or No. 7 Gennadiy Golovkin — or Jermall Charlo or Daniel Jacobs or Rob Brant or any other elite middleweight, for that matter — you can be sure they well know his name.
Andrade is one of those guys who the elite opponents love to avoid, if possible. He’s smart and tricky in the ring, an accurate puncher and frustrating because he’s so difficult to hit.
Because he’s not a big name, there isn’t a lot of reward beyond the belt that comes with beating him, but the risk is great because he is good enough that it’s hardly out of the question that he could beat the top guys.
He hasn’t beaten a lot of notable opponents, but that’s largely because they aren’t that interested in him.
It’s been frustrating for Andrade, a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxing team, but he’s optimistic that better days are ahead.
“The boxing world knows that I am the baddest wolf out there because if I [weren’t], I would have faced Canelo and GGG already and would’ve taken my loss like a man and they would have captured my WBO title at two different weight classes,” Andrade said. “So that goes to show that I have control over myself and was right to have faith that I’m doing the right thing, so don't give up as my time will come. You’re not going to just keep digging and digging and then just stop without knowing that that next dig is for all the diamonds.”
That remains to be seen. The good news for Andrade is that he, like Alvarez and Golovkin, has a contract with DAZN. The bad news is that because of their name recognition and because of the massive amount of money the streaming service invested in them, DAZN is pushing to make Alvarez-Golovkin III next.
So Andrade has decided to talk to make his case, and his best argument is a dubious one. He’s claiming he’s faced better opposition than either Alvarez or Golovkin.
Now, while Golovkin hasn’t faced a long list of A-level fighters, it’s because he, too, has been ducked on the way up. But Alvarez has fought anybody and everybody, including Golovkin twice, Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto and a long list of other elite guys.
But Andrade, in a bid to bring attention to himself, is pushing the narrative that essentially, Alvarez and Golovkin have been propped up by favorable matchmaking.
“Unlike GGG, who just boxed Steve Rolls who was ranked about 81 in the world, I’m fighting real guys,” Andrade said. “We are fighting tough guys to get it on whereas Canelo and GGG have been cherry-picking. They can do that with the profile they have. It’s just business. I’m not upset about it because my time will come when I walk in with one belt and walk out with four.”
Until he gets one of those elite fighters in the ring, he’ll always be somewhat of a mystery. And while Sulecki isn’t expected to pose much of a threat, he is no walkover.
Andrade clearly can’t afford a slip.
“Everyone has their own opinion about any fighter, I won't know [how good Sulecki is] until I get in there,” Andrade said. “I am no fool. I know that I have to be on my game and not think about his other fights because everyone is different. [Jack] Culcay did a great job against him, put him down. [Gabe] Rosado put him down, so they got to him by accumulating punches and letting their hands go. But that's them, not me, I have a different IQ to them.”
If that IQ leads to a victory, he may get his wish in September if DAZN can’t convince Alvarez to hook up with Golovkin yet again. Until such time, though, Andrade can proudly inherit the not-so-coveted title of the most avoided man in boxing.