By Scott Gilfoid: Big underdog Luke Keeler believes he could score a late stoppage this Thursday in his title challenge against WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade.
With a career 25% KO percentage, Keeler is highly unlikely to stop Andrade, 31, unless he can set a fast pace, and wear him down late. The last time Keeler knocked out an opponent was six years when he stopped journeyman Gary Boulden (7-20-2) in the 1st round in 2014.
It’s obviously not a good sign that Keeler has cruised through his last 13 fights without knocking out anybody. What’s worse is that Keeler was TWICE beaten by domestic level fighter Tom Doran, which makes you wonder why the WBO has him ranked so high.
Andrade vs. Keeler undercard = mixed bag
#3 WBO Keeler (17-2-1, 5 KOs) faces the unbeaten Andrade (28-0, 17 KOs) LIVE on DAZN at the Meridian at Island Gardens in Miami. The undercard has a couple of interesting fights between IBF super featherweight champion Tevin Farmer and Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz, and IBF/WBA super bantamweight champion Daniel Roman defending against Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Those are good quality fights, and they stand out big time on this career with the lackluster main event.
To top it off, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has thrown in a Youtube celebrity match between Jake Paul and Ali Eson Gib. This is a fight that Hearn hopes will attract the casual fans.
Sadly, no one is talking abotut the Paul vs. Eson Gib fight, which means that it’s not helping the card. It might have been better for Hearn to stick Kell Brook on the Andrade-Keeler card against a quality welterweight like Yordenis Ugas or a good junior middleweight.
Andrade-Keeler not a good main event level fight
There’s some good and some bad in the undercard that Hearn has assembled for the Andrade-Keeler card. You can argue that the Farmer vs. Diaz fight SHOULD be the main event, because it’s a far better fight on paper than the Andrade vs. Keeler fight. Moreover, Daniel Roman vs. Murodjon Akhmadaliev should be the co-feature bout.
You hate to say it, but Andrade-Keeler would be better at the #3 fight before the main event, but Hearn wanted that match in the headliner position. Hearn is trying to lure Canelo Alvarez into fighting Andrade, but he’s going about it the wrong way.
The proper way to increase the popularity of Andrade is to put him in with talented opposition, and Hearn has been missing the boat since he started promoting Andrade.
Unfortunately, Hearn is taking the same approach that Top Rank Boxing promotion has done with Tyson Fury by matching him against lesser fighters, hoping that the U.S casual fans would be impressed at how great he looks. Using the showcase approach to match-making isn’t the right way for Andrade to be built into a star.
Keeler wants Canelo fight after he beats Andrade
“It’s kind of easy when you’re the underdog. There’s not much pressure on me,” said Keeler to IFL TV about his fight this Saturday against Andrade. “I really just want to get weighed in and get in there, you know? The camp went perfect with no niggles, and no injuries.
“When I beat him, I want to be mentioned in the same way,” said Keeler about Andrade. “Everyone is chasing that Canelo money as well. If you beat Andrade, I’ll be right up there, you know? I’m going to use educated pressure. That’s not my style to try and rush in and get clipped. I’ll be using educated pressure.
“The camp has gone perfect,” said Keeler. “I’ve had great sparring the last 12 weeks. We’re going to go in and work hard three minutes, and pour it on him each round. I don’t think anybody has done that at middleweight, and believes they’re going to win and stuck to that game plan and gone through,” said Keeler.
It’s nice that Keeler has a goal of fighting Canelo Alvarez, but obviously it’s not going to happen. Even if Keeler beats Andrade, he’s probably not going to get a fight with Canelo because he’s not a huge name. As I mentioned, Andrade isn’t a big name, thanks to the soft match-making that’s been done for the 2012 U.S Olympian his entire career.
Keeler should try his best to beat Andrade with a fast pace, and if he wins, then call out Gennadiy Golovkin. The 37-year-old Kazakhstan fighter is taking easy fights now at this stage in his career, waiting around for a much hoped for trilogy match against Canelo.
Luke talks Canelo vs. Murata fight
“He’s a huge draw in Japan, and there was talk of the Murata fight for myself in December 9th, and Steven Butler was WBO #1 and took that fight,” said Keeler about Ryota Murata. “It’s a big money fight and he’s [Murata] a big draw [in Japan]. But it’s just a business, isn’t it? I think it’s always what he wants,” said Keeler about Canelo Alvarez.
“I’d like to see him in there with Billy Joe Saunders,” said Keller about Canelo. “He’d give him problems. Yeah, I think that slick movement with a switched on Billy Joe. Callum Smith as well. There’s a level there as well. It’s hard to know. He’ll probably take the money with Murata. With subscribers for DAZN, it’s probably the right move for DAZN,” said Keeler.
Canelo hasn’t confirmed yet that he’ll be facing WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Ryota Murata next on May 2, but it’s looking that way. Keeler shouldn’t tease himself by thinking that Canelo will want to face him if he wins his next fight, because it’s not realistic. If Canelo beats Murata, he’s likely to face GGG in September. That’s what DAZN and the U.S boxing public wants. He definitely isn’t going to use up a valuable fight on his DAZN contract facing the winner of the Andrade vs. Keeler match.
Keeler won’t be surprised if he stops Andrade late
“I really believe it’s a win,” said Keeler in predicting a victory for himself over Andrade on Thursday. “I know with the fitness I bring, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a late stoppage or I would just be happy to get the win,” said Keeler.
It would be a HUGE upset if Keeler defeats Andrade, but it’s possible. Andrade gassed out in the championship rounds in his fight against Maciej Sulecki last June. Although Andrade won the fight by a 12 round decision, he was on shaky legs in the last three rounds. Sulecki has a KO rate of 36.67%.
He’s not a big puncher, but his high accuracy on his shots enabled him to land a lot of punches that were testing Andrade’s chin. What we discovered in that fight was Andrade’s punch isn’t that great. The light hitting Artur Akavov (20-3, 9 KOs) staggered Andrade in the fight before that. Akavov’s KO percentage is 39.