Demetrius Andrade talks ahead of Shobox main event with Freddy Hernandez
By Ian Aldous: On Friday January 25th, Demetrius Andrade (18-0) will attempt to make a big push towards the top of the junior middleweight division when he faces former world title challenger, Freddy Hernandez (30-3) on a ‘Shobox: The New Generation’ telecast live on Showtime. Just prior to the New Year, Demetrius took some time to talk with me about the fight and his fledgling career.
A fight with Freddy Hernandez seems like a logical fight for the development of his young career. Last time out, Hernandez lost a unanimous ten round decision to Erislandy Lara, the Cuban who’s rated in the top ten junior middleweights by Boxrec and The Ring magazine. Hernandez poses a significant challenge on January 25th. “Yeah, I believe this is a great step up and to show the people that this is the time for me to start stepping up. I’m 18-0 and people wanna start seeing me fight better guys and I think this is the bout to take.”
The fight also gives Andrade the opportunity to main event a Shobox card, something that can’t fail to help develop his career. “Yes, exactly. That’s why my promoters put this fight together for me and I told them I’ll take the opportunity against someone who’s been in with top guys like Chop Chop Corley, he just fought (Erislandy) Lara and now it’s my time to step up and show people what I can do by beating this guy and I’m gonna do it way better than Lara did and anybody else did.”
The 24 year old has made a huge positive change prior to this fight with the decision to team up with and be trained by Virgil Hunter. “I believe Virgil is a straight up guy, he’s humble and I believe he can teach me other stuff that’s gonna make my boxing career much better and put a lot more focus on what I need to be doing, other than worry about the little things that’s going on.” The opportunity to also be around fellow amateur greats like Andre Ward and Amir Khan can only be beneficial. “It’s good working with top athletes because we’re all working for the same thing right now and we’re all working to be great. It’s nice when we got other great athletes pushing each other for greatness.”
Demetrius has received criticism from certain quarters about the level of competition his career has seen so far. When he’s fought on ESPN, Teddy Atlas has been notably critical. It’s perhaps not as simple as that; ranked fighters don’t want to take the risk against a former world amateur champion who has yet to be tested as a professional. “They have more of a risk fighting me at this early stage of my career because it’s gonna be a 50/50, they’re not gonna want to step into the ring with somebody that they have a chance of losing against while they’re doing so good and they can fight other guys now that they can beat, so why would they do that? I’m on the rise and I wanna fight the top guys but I gotta wait my time and be patient and just keep working hard and when it comes I gotta strike the opportunity.”
Having fought as light as 152lbs and as heavy as 159lbs, Demetrius sees the junior middleweight division as his home right now and has plans to make an assault on the stacked middleweight division in the future. “I just wanna get the title at 154lbs as long as I can hold that weight. As time goes on people gain weight and get older, then hopefully (I can) get up to 160lbs and get the belt in that weight class too.”
Even at this early stage of his pro career, a win over Hernandez will catapult Andrade into world title contention. He already sees himself ranked as the No.3 junior middleweight by the IBF and WBO. An impressive win could land a world title opportunity in 2013. “I believe some time next year with whoever it’s gonna be with, I believe I should be in a title fight, yes. I know (beating) Freddy Hernandez can make a big change for me in my career.”
That high IBF ranking puts their 154lbs champion, Cornelius Bundrage firmly on the Andrade radar. The 39 year old has only fought once a year for the previous four years and his last loss was to Grady Brewer, a man who Demetrius holds a near shutout decision win over. “He’s taking the right fights but sooner or later, he’s gonna have to get in there with somebody young. I’m hungry and if that fight does come along, I’m hungry and he’s not ready for someone like me now, but I’m a take my time and if the opportunity comes and everything’s right, we gonna take that (belt) from him.”
2012 saw Demetrius in the ring on three occasions. A first round KO and two second round stoppages saw just five rounds of action during the year. As satisfying as it is to score impressive stoppage wins, more rounds are required to help him develop. “That time’s gonna come, like Freddy Hernandez, he went the distance with Lara, so no telling what this is gonna play out, you know. I plan on stopping him or giving him a beating with a referee stoppage just to show that I’m doing things way better than Lara. I’m gonna get in with Bundrage and these type of guys, they gonna give me more rounds, so there’s no rush, they’re gonna see it sooner or later.”
Six years on from his crowning achievement of winning the 2007 welterweight world amateur championship on U.S soil, he’s delighted with how things have gone since competing at the 2008 Olympic games and now embarking on a career in the professional ranks. “Seeing how I progress and how things are going for me as far as my pro career, people say I haven’t fought anybody but as time’s going for me, I see myself getting stronger. I’m more intelligent in the ring. Things are going the way I want them to go and soon I will be the champion. So, everything is going the way I need it to go right now.”
Star Boxing and Banner Promotions present an evening of world-class professional boxing on ShoBox: The New Generation, Friday, January 25, 2013 at The Paramount in Huntington, N.Y. Live on SHOWTIME, 10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast.
Tickets priced at $50, $100 and $150, will go on sale 10:00 am Friday through Ticketmaster, (www.Ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000 or through The Paramount Box Office, (631) 673-7300 in addition to the Star Boxing Office, (718) 823-2000 or on their website, www.StarBoxing.com. Doors on the evening of the event will open at 7PM with the first bell at 8PM.