By Charles Brun: Demetrius Andrade feels it’s long overdue that he share the ring with Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin at middleweight. Andrade, 31, will be looking to stay in the running for fights against superstars Golovkin and Canelo when he defends his WBO middleweight title against Maciej Sulecki (28-1, 11 KOs) on DAZN at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island
Andrade (27-0, 17 KOs) has fought as a pro for 11 years, won two division world titles, but still hasn’t been involved in one fight against a big name. There’s been a complete failure to launch when it comes to Andrade’s career. His management started him off with beatable opposition, and then basically kept him at that level without ever moving him up against the good fighters. It’s as if they’ve kept Andrade’s career in first gear, and left him like that. It’s no wonder why Canelo and Golovkin have never looked Andrade’s way. With the weak match-making that’s been done for Andrade, why should they have paid any attention to him?
Demetrius needs impressive performance tonight against Sulecki
For Andrade to be considered as a possible option for Canelo and GGG, he’s going to need to look superb tonight against #2 WBO Sulecki. The southpaw Andrade can’t spoil the entire fight by moving around the ring like we saw from him against Artur Akavov and Walter Kautondokwa. Andrade has to win, and look impressive in doing so. Golovkin isn’t going to take a fight against Andrade just for the sake of capturing his WBO middleweight title. The belt no longer holds significance now that Canelo has been upgraded to WBC Franchise champion at middleweight.
Andrade has got to make it worthwhile for Golovkin and Canelo to want to fight him by dominating Sulecki. The way Andrade fought recently against Akavov and Kautondokwa, he didn’t look good enough to rate a fight against either GGG or Canelo. Andrade was pedestrian in winning. He looks like the weakest link among the current champions at 160, and that’s bad news for him if he wants Canelo or GGG to fight him next.
Andrade’s resume lacks quality names
Andrade has looked good against the fighters he’s been matched against, but there’s no quality in the opposition he’s been fed. His previous management never put Andrade in with any of the lions at 154 like the Charlo brothers, Jarrett Hurd, Tony Harrison or Erislandy Lara, and now Eddie Hearn has taken over where they left off in matching him against mediocre opposition in Artur Akavov and Walter Kautondokwa.
You can argue that even Sulecki is more of the same safe match-making by Hearn. Why isn’t Hearn putting Andrade in wth Daniel Jacobs? He’s one of Hearn’s fighters in his Matchroom stable. Surely, Hearn could make a fight between Andrade and Jacobs, couldn’t he? It doesn’t look like Hearn wants to make that fight. He’s too busy matching Andrade with guys like Kautondokwa, Akavov and Alantez Fox, while calling out out GGG and Canelo.
Although Andrade is unbeaten, he’s largely accomplished that task by beating obscure lesser opposition like Brian Rose, Walter Kautondokwa, Willie Nelson, Artur Akavov and Alantez Fox. Andrade’s resume is littered with soft opponents, and it’s easy to imagine dozens of other fighters at 160 duplicating his record if they fought the same guys he has as a pro. Matchroom Boxing USA promoter Eddie Hearn has been banging the drum since signing Andrade, saying that he’s an incredible talent.
It’s the same stuff that we heard from Hearn after he signed Daniel Jacobs. He was supposedly the best middleweight in the division, according to Hearn. Never mind the fact that Jacobs had already lost to Golovkin and Dmitry Pirog. Hearn took the same stance he had with Deontay Wilder’s fight against Tyson Fury by saying that Jacobs beat Golovkin. Hearn says Fury defeated Wilder too. In other words, Hearn chose not to acknowledge the decisions by the judges in those fights. Hopefully, Hearn doesn’t do that tonight if Sulecki beats Andrade by a close decision. It would look bad if Hearn is inside the ring afterwards, bitterly complaining about the decision, and looking like a sour loser. Hearn needs to take the high road if Andrade loses.
Andrade not impressive against Akavov
In Andrade’s recent fight against Artur Akavov last January, he was matched against someone too poor to gauge how good he is. The question that jumped out at the viewers in watching that fight was, ‘why on earth did Hearn match Andrade against a fringe level fighter like Akavov? Why isn’t Hearn putting Andrade in with talented fighters? Is he hiding something?’ On the rare occasions when the small, light hitting Akavov stopped running and actually threw punches, he seemed to freeze Andrade when hitting him with head shots.
It didn’t look good the way Andrade reacted when he took shots to the head from Akavov. In watching the way Andrade reacted to getting hit by the smallish contender, it’s easy to imagine him getting knocked out by someone like Golovkin, Canelo, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Jacobs or even Sulecki. The Polish fighter isn’t known for his punching power, but he definitely is a step up from the likes of Akavov with his strength.
Assuming everything goes well for Andrade against Sulecki, you can expect to see him and Hearn both calling out Golovkin and Canelo inside the ring afterwards, and at the post-fight news conference. It’s going to be nonstop name dropping of Canelo and GGG’s names by Andrade and Hearn. That’s par for the course. It’s just unfortunate that Hearn chose not to match Andrade against a real threat like Jacobs or Derevyanchenko. Hearn could have thrown some big money at Chris Eubank Jr. and had him come down to 160 to challenge Andrade. That fight would be world’s better than Andrade-Sulecki.
Andrade being matched against non-punchers by Hearn
With all the fights that could have been made for Andrade, it’s hard not to get the perception that Hearn is protecting him like a mother hen protecting her young hatch-lings. Matching Andrade against Sulecki, who was almost knocked out by journeyman Gabriel Rosado last March, is a clear sign that the Matchroom promoter isn’t taking any chances with him. Hearn has got to keep Andrade winning so he can get him in that big money fight against Canelo or GGG. The best way to do that is to keep Andrade safe and sound by matching him against non-punchers like Akavov, Sulecki and Kautondokw.
Canelo has little to gain in fighting Andrade
There are a lot of Boxing fans that believe that IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Canelo will elect to fight Andrade so that he can capture his WBO middleweight title. What fans don’t realize is Canelo is no longer the WBC middleweight champion. The World Boxing Council stripped Canelo of his WBC title this week, and gave the belt to interim WBC champion Jermall Charlo. Canelo has now been elevated to a new title, called the WBC Franchise middleweight champion. What this means is even if Canelo beats Andrade, he won’t be the unified champion, because the ‘Franchise’ title is more of an honorary thing given for his many years of loyalty with the WBC.
Once the WBC made that move in elevating Canelo to Franchise champion, it made a fight between him and Andrade meaningless. There’s no longer any point for Canelo or Golovkin to fight Andrade. The only reason GGG would fight Andrade would be to take his WBO title from him, and then use it to lure Canelo to fight him in September. That’s no longer an option for GGG, because it won’t help him get the Canelo trilogy fight. The WBO title that Andrade possesses is now basically just a useless paper title, and not nearly enough to make Canelo or Golovkin want to fight him.
Hearn better off pushing for Andrade vs. Jermall Charlo unification fight
Instead of Hearn wasting time banging the drum for fights between Andrade and Canelo or GGG, he should be more realistic and focus on setting up a unification match between Demetrius and newly crowned WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo. If Hearn speaks with Charlo’s management at Premier Boxing Champions, they would likely jump at the chance of making a unification fight between Jermall and Andrade. The question is would Andrade and Hearn be willing to make that fight? This writer thinks they would want nothing to do with the talented Jermall, because he’ll not only agree to the fight in a heartbeat, he’ll likely win it quite easily.