By: Hector Franco
Providence, Rhode Island’s Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade (30-0, 18 KOs) made the fourth successful defense of his WBO middleweight title, winning a unanimous decision over mandatory challenger Liam Williams (23-3-1, 18 KOs) this weekend in Florida.
Andrade’s performance at times was spectacular, scoring highlight reel uppercuts throughout. In the later rounds, mainly in the ninth, he looked vulnerable and hurt from a right hand landed by Williams.
Overall, his performance was more than enough to earn a clear victory. However, was it enough to get the other champions in the division to step in the ring with him?
Throughout his now 12-year career that started in 2009, Andrade has only faced one former world champion. That came in 2017 against Germany’s Jack Culcay, where Andrade won a split decision to win the WBA super welterweight title in what may have been the closest bout of his career.
In what would have been Andrade’s most significant test, he was scheduled to take on Jermell Charlo in December 2014. The fight didn’t take place due to disagreements regarding the fight purse.
For years, Andrade has had promotional issues that kept him relatively inactive, fighting only once in 2014, 2015, and 2016. When he finally left his promoters at Banner and Star Boxing in 2018, he joined Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
The thought was that with an elite promoter, Andrade would be presented with opportunities that otherwise would not be available.
The middleweight division currently has four titleholders, including Andrade. Kazakhstan’s Gennadiy Golovkin holds the IBF title, Japan’s Ryota Murata holds the WBA title, and Jermall Charlo holds the WBC title.
Golovkin, a fighter whom himself was avoided in his prime, is 39 and is rumored to be deep in negotiations to take on the previously mentioned Murata. There have also been talks that the future Hall of Famer could be headed towards a showdown against middleweight contender Jamie Munguia later on this year. Pair those factors with Golovkin also angling for a third showdown with Canelo Alvarez and it appears an Andrade showdown is unlikely.
Andrade’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has had difficulty securing elite matchups for the Rhode Island fighter, even against fighters that he promotes himself.
“He is the most avoided fighter I have ever worked with,” Hearn stated to Sports Illustrated. “I can’t get anyone to fight him. If he didn’t have a belt, I would understand.
“Why would you fight Demetrius Andrade? But he has a belt. Golovkin and Charlo should be trying to unify. Everyone is pricing themselves out apart from Demetrius Andrade.”
A unification bout against Jermall Charlo would make the most sense for both fighters, as the WBC titleholder hasn’t faced many elite opponents since moving to middleweight. The best win Charlo has had in the division was last September when he defeated Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
Recently, Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions announced their upcoming lineup with Charlo set to defend his title against massive underdog Juan Montiel. As of now, a fight between Charlo and Andrade doesn’t look imminent.
In an era where fighters step in the ring twice a year at the most, it would be unfair to ask a fighter as talented as Andrade to do more. But playing the waiting game has kept him on the same plateau for years.
The demand for Andrade to face fighters like Alvarez and Golovkin lies squarely in the hands of hardcore boxing fans. After a while, fans will become more and more apathetic to Andrade’s situation.
The sport of boxing has never been fair. There are fighters who have had less than half the skill of Andrade that have gotten twice as many opportunities. However, like life, sometimes you have to create your own opportunities.
Joe Frazier once told Marvin Hagler that he had three problems. He was black, southpaw, and he was good.
Andrade is all three and, just as important, has about as much charisma as anybody in boxing. When will this translate to him getting a shot to prove himself against the best boxing has to offer?
It will likely continue to be a waiting game.