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Demetrius Andrade vs. Artur Akavov – preview & prediction

Demetrius Andrade Jorge Linares Andrade vs. Akavov Linares vs. Cano Pablo Cesar Cano

By Eric Thomas: WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (26-0, 16 KOs) will be making a defense tonight on DAZN against former 160 pound world title challenger Artur Akavov (19-2, 8 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York. The streamed event will start at 7:00 p.m. ET.


This is a fight that Andrade wins easily if he fights smart, using his jab, long reach and mobility. Akavov likes to pressure his opponents and force them to brawl with him. Andrade has got to make sure he doesn’t draw into a war tonight, because that’s not the type of fight that he’s suited to. Akavov’s fighting style is alien to Andrade, and he could have problems with him if he gets too involved in trying to slug with him like he did against his little known opponent Walter Kautondokwa last October. Andrade beat him by a 12 round decision to capture the vacant WBO middleweight title that was recently vacated by Billy Joe Saunders following his positive test for a banned substance. Akavov only has one fight against a notable opponent in his loss to Saunders in 2015. Akavov’s inexperience could be a problem tonight.

This is a good stay busy fight for Andrade to keep him sharp while he waits for the smoke to clear from the May 4 fight between WBA/WBC middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez and IBF champion Daniel Jacobs. Andrade, 30, and his promoter Eddie Hearn want to setup a big unification fight against the winner of the Canelo-Jacobs fight in 2019, if possible. If not the winner, then Andrade would like to face former unified champion Gennady Golovkin. That’s a fighter that Andrade has been interested in fighting for a long, long time.

Andrade weighed in at 159.75 pounds at the weigh-in last Thursday. His opponent, #8 World Boxing Organization contender Akavov, weighed in at 160 pounds.

Akavov, 33, lost to former WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders by a close 12 round unanimous decision on December 3, 2015. The scores were 116-113, 116-112 and 115-113. Boxing News 24 had Akavov winning the fight. It was a match took place in the UK at the Lagoon Leisure Centre, Paisley, Scotland. Saunders looked drained from having struggled to make weight, and he was outworked in every round of the fight. It appeared to be a clear win for the visiting fighter Akavov, but he was fighting a guy from the UK, and the fans at ringside were cheering him throughout the fight. The performance from Akavov showed that he has the talent to hang with one of the top fighters at 160.

“He fought Billy Joe Saunders. He gave him a hard time, going 12 rounds with him,” Andrade said to IFL TV about his opponent Artur Akavov tonight. “A lot of people thought he actually won that fight. I’m not looking to get in there with tomato cans, and not get no credit. I want to fight anybody in the top 10, and be more noticed,” Andrade said.

Akavov deserved a win in the Saunders fight. Saunders probably would have beaten him decisively had he been in shape, but he was not in great shape, and looked weak and emaciated the entire fight. It wasn’t even a close fight. Akavov dominated Saunders in every sense of the word. The fight showed the importance of location. Had the Saunders-Akavov taken place in a neutral country, there’s a very good chance that Akavov would have been given the victory.

“Daniel Jacobs is a good fighter,” Andrade said. “He’s been in a better position than I was, because he was in the limelight. He got the GGG fight. So I can understand why they [Golden Boy Promotions and Saul Canelo Alvarez] are going that way, because of the mainstream thing. But when it comes down to it, who is undefeated, who has the better resume and is an Olympian, three time world champion, in two weight divisions, that’s me. There’s no reason why nobody from Golden Boy Promotions isn’t thinking about Demetrius Andrade. ‘He’s a great fourth and fifth fighter.’ I hear that time and time again, and they’re using my name to tell people how great I am. I’m going to do my job and get the ‘W’ [against Artur Akavov], and keep pushing for it to get those guys [Canelo, Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin] to get in the ring with me. I’m not chasing anybody anymore. I want to get everybody out of the way so it’s only me and two fighters just standing. It’ll either be Canelo or not. It could be anybody. He just happens to be the face of boxing right now. He’s the most popular, but he’s not the best talent in the sport or in that weight class,” Andrade said.

Canelo’s recent win and a draw against Gennady Golovkin was too controversial to give him credit for it. On top of that, his positive test for clenbuterol sends alarm bells ringing when it comes to giving him any kind of credit for those two fights. When you see a fighter test positive twice for a banned substance, it makes boxing fans question all their performances before and since. It makes it hard for fans to give Canelo credit for his recent win over GGG, and that’s if you ignore the controversy itself over the results of the second fight. When you factor that in along with the positive for clenbuterol earlier last year in February, it makes tough to give Alvarez the credit that he otherwise would have gotten in beating GGG.

“26-0 with 16 knockouts, that’s a good record,” Andrade said. “People say if you knockout Artur, you’re going to get Canelo…Who has Canelo knocked out? Who in the 160 lb division has been knocking anybody out? Let’s be honest. Canelo, let’s go down the list of who I think he should have stopped, especially on their way out, [Miguel] Cotto. He [Canelo] didn’t knock him out or knock him down. Sugar Shane Mosley, he didn’t do anything. He knocks out Amir Khan, a fighter three weight classes below him. James Kirkland, who had been in jail and had trainer problems. You guys just know that’s a mess over there. So he goes that route, and uses my name, and says, ‘I’ll fight Demetrius, Ike Quartey, and James Kirkland, and who did they [Golden Boy Promotions] pick? Who is Liam Smith? You should have put him down. [Jaime] Munguia put him down.”

At middleweight, Canelo has knocked out these three fighters:

Amir Khan

Alfredo Angulo

James Kirkland

Canelo’s fights against Angulo and Kirkland were catch-weight fights at 155. Technically, they were at middleweight.

Prediction

Andrade, 6’1″, will use his size, reach, power and experience advantage to pound out a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision tonight over Akavov. The southpaw Andrade’s punching power is good, but it’s not going to be enough for him to stop Akavov. One of the things that makes Andrade tough to beat his southpaw stance. There aren’t a lot of southpaws at the upper tier of the middleweight division, so that gives Andrade an advantage over his opponents. However, Andrade won’t have an advantage over Akavov, as he’s a southpaw as well, and he’s not going to struggle with that stance the way other fighters do that fight out of the orthodox stance. Akavov lacks the punching power to trouble Andrade, so there’s no chance of him getting a knockout in this fight.

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