Demetrius Andrade tells Billy Joe Saunders to “get ready” for fight
By Scott Gilfoid: Former two-time junior middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade plans on going through with his WBO ordered fight against World Boxing Organization middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, and he wants him to “get ready” for the contest. The unbeaten 30-year-old Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs) signed with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn this week, and he’s already scheduled to take a tune-up fight on October 6 in Chicago, Illinois against a still to be determined opponent on a DAZN card.
#1 WBO Daniel Jacobs passed on the chance of fighting Saunders and instead opted to sign for a fight against Sergiy Derevyanchenko to go after the vacant International Boxing Federation middleweight title that was recently stripped from Gennady Golovkin. Jacobs likely would beat Saunders, but the fight might negotiations have been a difficult one due to the different networks that would have been involved.
The WBO ordered Saunders-Andrade to begin negotiations this month. However, the two fighters have been unable to put a fight together, so now the fight will go to a purse bid on July 25 in Kissimmee, Florida. Andrade says he wants the fight against the 28-year-old Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs), but I remains to be seen whether his promoter Hearn will put the fight together. Hearn’s decision to have Andrade take a tune-up fight on October 6 on his DAZN card isn’t a good sign that the Saunders fight will be made. Normally when a purse bid takes place between two fighters, they end up facing each other within two to three months. Andrade being scheduled by Hearn two months AFTER the purse bid for the Saunders fight makes you wonder whether he has other plans for him. As such, it might be pointless for the purse bid.
“Just get ready. Be in the best shape that you can because, listen boy, I’m coming to rumble,” Andrade said to skysports.com about Saunders.
We’ll have to see whether Saunders will take the fight with Andrade. Saunders wants the winner of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight. The WBO ordering Saunders to face Andrade next doesn’t mean that he won’t get the Canelo-GGG II winner. It’s quite possible that the WBO will let Saunders take a unification fight against the Canelo vs. Golovkin II winner over a mandatory title defense against Andrade. It’ll depnd on whether the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin 2 fight wants to face him. Canelo doesn’t see much upside in fighting the trash-talking southpaw Saunders, but Golovkin would like the fight so that he can capture his WBO title. That’s the main thing that Saunders has going for him. Apart from his WBO belt, Saunders offers little to GGG and Canelo. Apart from the hardcore fans, the casual fans in the States have no idea who Saunders. The Canelo-GGG 2 winner gains very little in facing Saunders other than being able to win the WBO title that he holds.
Andrade hasn’t fought in nine months since beating Alantez Fox by a 12 round unanimous decision in his debut a middleweight on October 21. It was a good performance by Andrade a 160, but he’s been inactive since then. Andrade volunteered to step in and face IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin for his May 5 fight after his scheduled opponent for that date Saul Canelo Alvarez pulled out of the fight on three weeks’ notice. Golovkin’s management instead went with Vanes Martirosyan. Andrade being a southpaw made him a bad choice for Golovkin to fight on 3 weeks’ notice.
“I would love to do it. It would be an honor,” Andrade said about fighting in the UK. “What brought me to Matchroom is being able to come over to the UK to put on great fights and performances.”
It’s unlikely that Hearn will have Andrade fighting in the UK. It’s not that Andrade wouldn’t do well fighting over there and winning over the boxing fans. It’s more of a case of Hearn desperately needing recognizable American fighters for his DAZN streaming service. Hearn needs fighters that the U.S fans are familiar with so that they’ll be willing to subscribe to his $10.00 per month DAZN service in the States. The American fans aren’t likely going to subscribe to DAZN to see Hearn’s British fighters in his Matchroom Boxing stable, as they’ve likely never heard of them. Hearn can’t stuff his best guys in his Matchroom stable – Tony Bellew, Dillian Whyte, Ryan Burnett, Khalid Yafai, and Callum Johnson – on a DAZN card in the U.S and expect the American fans to subscribe to DAZN so that they can see these guys. They’re too obscure unfortunately for American fans to want to sign up for DAZN. Even Hearn’s best money fighter heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is a nonentity in the U.S. Hearn hasn’t helped the process by failing to match Joshua against Wilder and Luis Ortiz, two heavyweights American boxing fans are familiar with.
Thus far, Andrade is one of the best fighters that Hearn has signed for his DAZN cards in the U.S. Hearn also inked IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and WBA super bantamweight champion Daniel Roman, but neither of those fighters have large fans bases. Andrade has the potential of capturing a world title if his fight with Saunders takes place. If Andrade can beat Saunders, it would be an excellent opportunity for him to get the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin 2 fight. Golovkin wants to fight for the WBO title, and he would be the more likely of the two o take on Andrade if he has the WBO belt in his possession at some point. Hearn deciding to put Andrade in a tune-up fight on October 6th on DAZN makes it unclear what his intentions are for his fighter. It would be a shame if Andrade was steered around Saunders. The good news is Andrade is ranked high by the other sanctioning bodies at middleweight. He’s rated #3 WBC, #4 IBF, #4 WBA. Andrade is going to get a title shot sooner or later as long as he’s active with his career. It’s not a good thing that Andrade is taking so much time off between fighters. Andrade was stripped of his WBO 154 lb. title in 2015 after he failed to make a defense of the belt during a 12-month time period. Andrade later captured the World Boxing Association junior middleweight title in defeating Jack Culcay by a 12 round split decision on March 11, 2017. Andrade then vacated the belt and moved up to middleweight to go after bigger fighters. A year after making the move to 160, Andrade still hasn’t been involved in any compelling fights. That could change for Andrade now that he’s with Hearn, who has former WBA middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs in his Matchroom stable.
Saunders has been out of action since successfully defending his WBO title in beating David Lemieux by a 12 round unanimous decision last December in Canada. Following that win, Saunders chose to sign for a fight against 38-year-old fringe contender Martin Murray. However, after twice suffering injuries during training camp, Saunders cancelled the fight. Saunders now is sitting and waiting to see whether he’ll get the winner of the Canelo-GGG fight. His match against Andrade is still a question mark unfortunately. The best thing that could happen for Saunders is if Andrade chooses to go in another direction because it would allow him to either continue to milk his WBO title against weak opposition like he’s been doing since he won the belt in 2015 or possibly get the winner of the Canelo-GGG 2 fight.
Saunders has successfully defended his WBO title three times, beating Artur Akavov, Willie Monroe Jr. and David Lemieux. Those are considered weak contenders in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. Saunders has had frequent injury problems since he won the WBO belt. After winning the WBO title in 2015 in beating Andy Lee by a 12 round majority decision, Saunders was scheduled to defend against fringe contender Max Bursak on April 30, 2016. Saunders suffered a hand injury, forcing him to pull out of the fight. Saunders then suffered an injury while training for his title defense against Artur Akavov. The fight was originally scheduled on October 22, 2016, but it had to be moved to December 3. After twice suffering injuries training for his optional title defense against Martin Murray, Saunders canceled the fight. Murray believes that Saunders pulled out of the fight so that he can get a big money bout against the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin 2 fight. This is also what a lot of boxing fans believe as well. They think Saunders wanted to be available to fight the winner of the Canelo-GGG fight, and the best way to do that was to cancel the Murray fight altogether to be available.
Saunders was recently rumored to be fighting former IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale in September. However, that fight remains doubtful now that the WBO has ordered Saunders to defend against his mandatory Andrade. The WBO ordered the Saunders-Andrade fight on July 12. If the Andrade fight takes place, it would be the end of Saunders’ uneventful reign as the WBO champion. It’s been a disappointing reign for Saunders, as he’s faced weak opposition and failed to get the big money fights.