- Demetrius Andrade is avoided by the world’s best middleweights Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin because he’s so good, a DAZN boxing analyst tells Business Insider.
- Andrade fights on Thursday in Miami, defending his WBO middleweight belt against the unheralded Luke Keeler, from Ireland.
- While Andrade wants to use Keeler as a springboard for bigger bouts, Keeler himself hopes he can use the title as leverage to entice Dublin rival Conor McGregor into the boxing ring.
- The stakes are high, and Mora says it is up to Andrade, the DAZN fighter, to knock Keeler out in style so he can get the people on his side in his quest to fight the best.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin won’t fight Demetrius Andrade because he’s so good, a DAZN analyst says.
Andrade, 31, has largely operated under-the-radar when it comes to mainstream sporting attention, but, with a slick American boxing style and as a champion of two weight classes, his pedigree in the fight game is strong.
So good is Andrade’s style that it appears the world’s best middleweights are avoiding him, Sergio Mora, a former fighter himself and current analyst on DAZN, told Business Insider.
“The big names in the division like Golovkin and Canelo … they don’t mention his name, and don’t mention his name for a reason – Andrade is that good,” Mora said.
Andrade defends his WBO world middleweight title against Luke Keeler in the Meridian at Island Gardens, Miami, on Thursday. Keeler is not expected to beat Andrade as sources close to the fight negotiations say he was drafted in as a mere stay-busy fight for Andrade.
Late last year, Keeler told Business Insider that Andrade was “struggling for opponents.” The Irishman did acknowledge to us that the champion appears to be “an avoided guy,” but he believes Andrade has weaknesses he can expose.
“He’s not unbeatable. I’d be going in as a huge underdog, but I’d be going in to take that belt,” Keeler said.
Keeler and his trainer Peter Taylor expect to pull off the upset. They told us they then want to use the world title they’d rip from Andrade’s waist as leverage to entice Dublin rival Conor McGregor to the ring.
Keeler and McGregor have history, as the boxer says the former two-weight UFC champion bullied a friend of his. They even exchanged heated phone calls last year about it.
When Business Insider told Andrade about Keeler’s plans for his title, he wasn’t mad. “It’s easier said than done [winning his title]. But I’m glad he’s got hope and confidence to speak the way he speaks, so we’re looking to put on a show for DAZN [the broadcaster].”
Andrade is also chasing huge fights
Andrade can sympathise. Like Keeler, he’s never had a career-defining fight and calls on the division’s big names to box him. He wants to fight Alvarez. He wants to fight Golovkin. He says Keeler was never really on his radar as he has been campaigning for high-profile contests.
“I’m looking at other opponents like Triple G [Golovkin], Canelo, the bigger names. Not to disrespect Keeler, but for him to be in the position to fight a world champion, he must be doing a great job.”
Andrade said that the problem with Alvarez and Golovkin is that they do not take on the biggest fights and are content to take lesser challenges for good money.
“The other champions … Triple G, Canelo … they’re looking for the easiest pay and not the toughest fights. That’s just the way the game is right now. They don’t want to risk everything, but sooner or later they have to fight the best, in their prime, not when they’re 40 years old.
“I’m willing to get in there with whoever is willing to get in there with me as well,” Andrade said. “I’m not in a position to demand people fight me … not at this point. Right now, I take whatever I can take. Of course, I’ll get in there with the most popular guys like Canelo and Triple G. I just go in with whoever comes my way.”
DAZN analyst Mora says the timing may not be right for Andrade.Alvarez is looking at fighting the popular Japanese athlete Ryoto Murata in Tokyo on May 2, with British guys like Billy Joe Saunders or Callum Smith as back-up options in Los Angeles or Las Vegas.
Golovkin, meanwhile, needs to honour a mandatory challenger to his IBF title from Kamil Szeremeta. Fail to fight Szeremeta, and he’ll be stripped of his belt.
Mora says Andrade may need to leave the middleweight division behind and pursue a world title in a third weight class at super middleweight, instead.
“The best thing for Andrade is to stay patient and maybe move up to fight Danny Jacobs, someone he said he’d never fight … but money changes things. B.J. Saunders … if that fight gets made. Those two fights.
“That’s a different weight division, but something Andrade will have to do if he can’t get Golovkin or Canelo at middleweight. Jacobs and B.J. may be the second choices, but still legitimate and popular fighters.”
First, he must not only beat the underdog opponent Keeler on Thursday in Miami, but he must do so in style.
“He must look good at Keeler, though,” Mora said. “A knockout is what would intrigue the people. It would be highlighted on DAZN platforms, boxing platforms, a 30-second knockout over and over.”
Then, maybe, he can get the big fights he craves.