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Andrade Steps up Against Brewer

Demetrius Andrade
Demetrius Andrade


In what is the season finale of “Friday Night Fights” on ESPN2 from the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN, undefeated junior middleweight prospect Demetrius Andrade, who has been the source of some criticism for facing rather soft opposition early in his career, faces the always dangerous wild card, Grady Brewer- the very same Brewer who upset the applecart in handing Fernando Guerrero his first professional loss earlier this summer.
 
Ironically, the most vocal of Andrade’s critics, ESPN2’s color commentator, Teddy Atlas, won’t even be ringside to witness this fight, as he’s in Russia training heavyweight Alexander Povetkin. However, Atlas wasn’t the only one to question the matchmaking for Andrade. There is a belief that a fighter of his amateur pedigree (who was considered the most talented member of the enigmatic 2008 U.S. Olympic squad) doesn’t need to be handled with such kid gloves.
 
Of the critics, Andrade told Maxboxing last week, "It didn’t bother me; it’s part of the game. People been waiting to see me step up. This is a good opportunity." Brewer seemed like the perfect guy in which to make a statement after he stopped Guerrero in four on June 17th in Austin, Texas. "Yeah, I thought it would put me in a good position after he just beat Guerrero, so I figured this could be a good step-up fight."

He added, "I mean, before they even fought, I was supposed to fight after that fight and his name came up and he won. He knocked him out. I was like, ’Well, this would be the best time to fight this guy.’" Brewer is as dangerous a 28-12 fighter as you’ll see nowadays. His BoxRec ledger almost serves as a rite of passage for anyone who really wants to make noise between 154-160 pounds. Brewer is the ultimate gatekeeper but Andrade says, "I think he’s just a regular, average fighter."
 
Perhaps Brewer is very raw and unrefined from a technical perspective but he has the ability to sock- and his punches seemingly come out of left field with a lot velocity and bad intentions. "Everybody can punch in the game of boxing," said the 23-year-old from Providence, "but I don’t know how heavy-handed he is and I don’t plan on getting touched."
 
They never do. That’s why they fight the fights.
 
Andrade is co-promoted by Banner Promotions and Star Boxing. Joe DeGuardia insists that this roll of the dice came of their own volition.

"It had nothing to do with what the people were saying in the media, not from our perspective," he stated. "From my perspective, I think [Andrade]’s ready and set to go. We’re looking to step him up next year anyways. I think by the end of next year, he’ll be ready for a title fight. He wants very much to step up. And look, it’s going to happen sooner or later. I probably would prefer it to happen a few fights later but y’ know, when you got a fighter that wants to do certain things and we believe he’s star in the making and we’re going to take that shot now."
 
There was a time when a fighter who had just 13 fights- short of uber-talents like Ray Leonard- were moved much slower and judiciously. But times have changed and with fewer outlets available in the sport, boxers are more microwaved than ever.
 
"Sure, in the ‘80s, you could keep a guy undefeated. You could have a guy go up the ladder and you’d know you’d get your opportunity. You’d expect to get an opportunity. Today, it doesn’t necessarily bode that way. It’s a much different marketplace. The marketplace is so different and frankly, you can’t maneuver your fighter like in the old days where if you build him up locally, you’re going to be assured of getting a major shot, which you could do in the ‘80s. In the ‘80s, you could certainly go through the rankings and make sure that you got your shot or you could certainly make your pitches with the networks. There was a lot of opportunity that doesn’t exist now."
 
What makes this so risky is that unlike years past, where early losses were considered valuable lessons, they are now considered black marks that are punitively held against boxers. There is a certain allure of having that “0” on the right side of a fighter’s record. DeGuardia says, "The one thing you need that zero for now is that it’s the thing that sometimes an inexperienced executive might accept where they otherwise wouldn’t. I think you don’t have that same kind of network knowledge that was there years ago."
 
In many ways, this is the way it’s going to be from here on out. A young talent from Rhode Island taking on his toughest foe in a Midwestern casino in an early effort to impress and gain the attention of the premium cable networks.
 
"The one thing with a fight like this is eventually, one way or the other, with a guy like Demetrius, a year from now, 18 months from now, we would have maneuvered him enough to get him into a major shot and we could’ve took that course. The flipside is to develop a superstar; taking this route basically helps to get there - if he succeeds. And that’s really the distinction. We want to take the safer course- which you know you’ll get there, it might take a little longer- or do you want to take the course where we step it up over here? We put him in where he feels he believes he’s going to win this fight and obviously, shoot him to a position of respect."
 
Thus far, Andrade doesn’t seem to have any qualms on the course he’s taken. "I’m undefeated," he points out. "What more could I ask for?"
 
A victory could set up a pivotal 2012, perhaps one with a title shot.

"This fight here will set me up where I could be in that position."
 
BUZZKILL
 
On Wednesday night, I was scheduled to do an interview with Robert Guerrero, who was less than ten days away from his highly anticipated junior welterweight showdown with Marcos Maidana. Just minutes before “The Ghost” was supposed to call me, I received a message from his publicist, Mario Serrano, asking if this could be rescheduled for Thursday, which wasn’t a problem as far as I’m concerned.
 
The next morning, we were all hit with the news that Guerrero – who, according to all the media that had seen him in Big Bear, was looking sharp - had injured his left shoulder and the card from the HP Pavilion, which was to be featured on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” on August 27th, would be scrapped.
 
It’s a real shame because according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, the fight was doing well at the box-office. But even if that was just promoter-talk, the fact was that this was a bout that had boxing fans salivating from the very moment it was first mentioned. Now, everyone will have to await the results of Guerrero’s MRI and then the process begins to find an appropriate reschedule date for this match-up and see what slots are available on HBO and what venues are suitable.
 
Yeah, it’s a buzzkill.
 
WEIGHTY ISSUES
 
While there was an agreement in principle for Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto to go at it again on December 3rd at Madison Square Garden in New York, my understanding is that despite Cotto having possession of the WBA junior middleweight strap, he wants this fight at 150. Margarito and his camp believe that they already have a deal to stage this fight at the weight limit of 154 pounds. Top Rank wants to broker a compromise of 152 pounds. 
 
A few thoughts on this quagmire (and I don’t mean the pervert from “Family Guy”)...
 
- I really don’t have a problem with catchweights, I mean, if you look at it, they have been a part of boxing’s history. However, this is becoming a bit of overkill. I mean, at one time, catchweights were used in very specific instances when two fighters of differing weights needed compromise to find a fair balance. Now, it seems to be a talking point of almost every single major fight.
 
[Editor’s Note: Catchweights have become so seemingly fast and loose these days that they’re even mentioned in Bad Meets Evil’s (Eminem and Royce Da 5’9”) “Lighters,” with a reference to Manny Pacquiao]
 
- I wonder though, will Top Rank and Cotto just move on without Margarito, knowing that they will draw well at the Garden, regardless? As it relates to the “Tijuana Tornado,” there are some who will forever believe he illegally damaged Cotto for life in their original match-up in the summer of 2008 and are outraged that he is still fighting in marquee events. I’m not sure how much sympathy Margarito will engender at this point.
 
- Seriously, cut the crap; stop the insanity and make the fight. Sorry, but Cotto-Vanes Martirosyan at the famed MSG just doesn’t do it for me (or many others).
 
FRIDAY FLURRIES
 
“Friday Night Fights” begins at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT...“Solo Boxeo” has a doubleheader featuring Michael Perez and Eddie Gomez...The long awaited return of Alfredo “Perro” Angulo happens on Saturday night and ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes has coverage beginning at 11 PM ET/8 PM PT. Say a prayer for Gabe Montoya, who has decided to cover that fight ringside from Mexicali...I’ll say this right now; that Chinese squad that had a squabble with the Georgetown hoops team is real lucky they didn’t mess with the “Hoya Paranoia” squads of the ‘80s with Patrick Ewing, Michael Graham, Horace Broadnax and Gene Smith. That would’ve been worse than Tiananmen Square. Yeah, based on what took place, I think it’s smart of Kobe Bryant not to play there during the lockout...Did Amir Khan really tweet that Guerrero was paid off by Maidana to pull out of the fight? Even Oscar De La Hoya thought that was a dumb tweet...What’s going on in this crazy world; you get Asian hoopsters starting up on Georgetown and Europeans rioting like Lakers fans after championships? I mean is Armageddon upon us?...@nesdes6 tweeted on the proliferation of catchweights by calling these fights for the “Customweight Championship”…Don’t forget to check out our new Maxboxing/YouTube videos, courtesy of our outstanding videographer Brian Harty and on-air ace Radio Rahim. They feature Bernard Hopkins on Chad Dawson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kin_HlUiSUI), Dawson on Hopkins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvkfFBJnuLs) and the press conference touting their upcoming fight on October 15 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cpc2CudCzM)...I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.


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