Billy Joe Saunders vs. Demetrius Andrade card match-ups for Oct.20
By Jeff Aranow: Last Friday, the Matchroom Boxing USA/DAZN revealed their Billy Joe Saunders vs. Demetrius Andrade card for October 20 at TD Garden in Boston, Mass. This is the card that Machroom promoter Eddie Hearn hopes to American fans to want to subscribe to DAZN by paying $10 per month, but unfortunately the card is not a good one once you look beyond the main event fight between Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) and former junior middleweight champion Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs).
The co-feature between IBF super featherweight champion Tevin Farmer (26-4-1, 5 KOs) and James Tennyson (22-2, 18 KOs) is a car crash that promises to be a mismatch. Farmer, 28, recently signed a co-promotional deal with Hearn to have his fights streamed on DAZN. Hearn for whatever reason won’t be matching Farmer tough for his first fight with his DAZN platform. It’s unclear whether Hearn doesn’t have the money to find Farmer a high quality opponent or if he chose to match him weakly in order to make sure he doesn’t lose his International Boxing Federation 130 pound title right away, because there are definitely contenders out there with the talent to rip his tile away from him.
The 5’11” Saunders will be the smaller fighter for a change in facing the 6’1” Andrade. That’s going to make it difficult for Saunders, because he’s counted on being the taller fighter than his opponent. He’s also been able to use his southpaw stance to his advantage in his fights against right-handed fighters. Andrade is a southpaw as well, but he has more punching power than Saunders. Andrade and Saunders bot competed in the 2008 Olympics for their respective countries. Saunders was soundly beaten in his second fight in the competition in losing Carlos Banteaux of Cuba by a 13-6 score. For his part, Andrade made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Kim Jung-Joo of South Korea by a controversial 11-9 score. Andrade was furious after the fight. Andrade fought much of the fight on the inside again the shorter Kim. Andrade should have stayed on the outside, but he still appeared to get the better of the Korean.
The other fighters that Hearn has added to the Saunders vs. Andrade card is unbeaten featherweight Kid Galahad (24-0, 15 KOs) fighting Toka Kahn Clary (25-1, 17 KOs) in an IBF 126 pound title eliminator. The winner of the Galahad vs. Clary fight will be the mandatory challenger to IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington. That’s a tough fight for the winner of the Galahad-Clary fight.
WBA/IBF female lightweight ruler Katie Taylor meets Cindy Serrano in a fight that should be fun to watch. Taylor is looking really good so far in beating the opposition that Hearn has matched her against. She’s obviously beatable, but she should be able to keep winning until she eventually has to face someone with power and talent. The other fights on the card is light welterweight Danny O’Connor facing Tommy Coyle, former WBA super bantamweight champion Scott Quigg facing an opponent still to be determined, heavyweight prospect Nial Kennady vs. TBA and junior middleweight Mark Duluca (21-1) facing TBA.
“This is such a big fight,” Saunders said about his fight against Andrade. ”The two main men at middleweight at the moment is GGG and Canelo – and neither of them want to fight me or Demetrius. There’s a lot of smoke and mist in the division right now, and when it clears up I will be the man standing there.”
Saunders is flattering himself by implying that Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin are avoiding him and Andrade because they’re afraid of them. That’s not the reality. The reason Canelo and GGG haven’t
fought Saunders is because it’s not a fight that is easy to put together. It’s also not a fight that would interest the U.S boxing fans, so it’s a pointless fight to make other than to grab Saunders’ World Boxing Organization title. Golovkin cares about that belt, but Canelo doesn’t. That explains why Saunders has been ignored by Canelo and GGG. He’s not an easy fight to make and there’s no other reason to fight him other than to snatch his WBO title. As Golovkin has already discovered, holding more titles isn’t a picnic, because it means he’s forced to defend against guys like Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Jermall Charlo. There’s not much money in those fights.
“All jokes and trash talk aside, this is going to be a really good fight,” Saunders said. ”Does anyone want to fight Demetrius? No. Does anyone want to fight me? No. We have to fight each other to prove who the number one guy is. Technically, we are the best two in the division, and the winner is going to be number one. I’m world champion, I’ve been more active, I’ve boxed the better opposition – but I have to beat this man,” Saunders said.
Saunders’ superior experience boils down to his fights against David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Artur Akavov, Andy Lee and Chris Eubank Jr. Those are good fighters, but not super talented guys, Golovkin destroyed Lemieux and Eubank Jr. Had Golovkin fought Lee, Eubank Jr. and Akavov, he likely would have knocked all three of them out. Saunders barely scraped past Akavov in beating him by a very close 12 round decision in 2016.
The winner of the Saunders vs. Andrade fight won’t be No.1 in the middleweight division but they will be the WBO champion. Holding the WBO title will help the Saunders-Andrade fight get a fight against Golovkin if he beats Canelo on September 15 in their rematch on HBO PPV at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Andrade and Saunders need the WBO belt for them to have a shot at fighting Canelo or Saunders. If Golovkin loses to Canelo, then it leaves the Saunders vs. Andrade victor in a bad position to get a shot at GGG. Canelo’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions will likely match him against other fighters and keep him away from the southpaws Andrade and Saunders.
“David Lemieux is a bum, a bum – he’s not worth talking about and I don’t take any credit from beating him. But I’ve been in with and easily handled world-class opposition – I’ve been in with Chris Eubank Jr and dealt with him, been in with Andy Lee and dealt with him, Willie Monroe had no heart or desire to win.”
Lemieux isn’t a bum. He’s just no longer able to make middleweight without draining himself at this point in his career. If Saunders had faced Lemieux during his best years at 160, before he started to struggle to make weight, he would have struggled to beat him.
“There’s too much at stake in this fight to even think about losing – and I will prove that I am number one,” Saunders said. ”If I turn up at my 100 per cent best, it’s good enough to beat him. He’s a great fighter and he’s been avoided, our paths have crossed and we have to fight. The winner is number one.”
Saunders is going to have a lot tougher time against Andrade than he has against anyone he’s fought in years. The problem is that Saunders hasn’t fought a good opponent since his fight against Andy Lee in 2015. Saunders has been defending his title against less than the best since he won the WBO title. His defenses have come against Artur Akavov, Willie Monroe Jr. and David Lemieux. Due to his constant injuries, Saunders has only defended his title three times in the three years he’s been the WBO champion. Saunders has had two fights canceled due to injuries.
“Billy Joe is a great fighter, an undefeated southpaw, he’s ugly looking, but he can fight – but your boy Demetrius Andrade always come through. Never have I failed to come out with the victory,” Andrade said. ”We’re going to be in shape to do 12 rounds, I know I have the bigger dog inside me than Billy Joe, and I’m going to unleash that on him on October 20.”