MIAMI – In nearly two decades as a boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn has struggled to land big fights from dangerous fighters. None, Hearn says, has been as difficult as Demetrius Andrade.
“He’s the most avoided fighter I’ve ever worked with,” Hearn said. “I can’t get anyone to fight him.”
On Saturday, Andrade (29-0) will defend his middleweight title against Liam Williams, the WBO mandatory challenger (DAZN, 3 pm ET). It’s not the fight Andrade wanted. In recent months, Andrade has called for a showdown with Billy Joe Saunders, a 168-pound champion. Saunders, understandably, signed to defend his title against Saul Alvarez the next month. In recent years, Andrade has tried to lure two other 160-pound champions, Gennadiy Golovkin and Jermall Charlo, into the ring. Neither has shown much interest.
“If I didn’t have a belt, I’d understand,” Hearn says. “Why would you fight Demetrius Andrade? But has a belt. Golovkin and Charlo should try to unify. Everyone is valuing themselves, apart from Demetrius Andrade. “
The middleweight division has long been one of boxing’s glamorous divisions. Today, it is one of the most maddening. Golovkin, who just turned 39, does not have a scheduled opponent. Neither does Ryota Murata, who owns another belt. In June, Charlo will defend his title against Juan Montiel. Montiel is coming off a first round knockout win over James Kirkland. Before that, he had a draw with officer Hugo Centeno and was brought down by Jaime Munguia in two rounds.
If allowed to fight Charlo with a steel chair, Montiel would still be a double-digit loser.
“I’ve never heard of this guy,” Hearn says. “And I study BoxRec for a living.”
Charlo-Andrade’s situation is particularly infuriating. Make a list of the biggest potential fights in boxing. I’ll see you Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua. Errol Spence and Terence Crawford too. Charlo-Andrade has a case to be next on the list. Two undefeated trash-talking American middleweights? A powerful puncher with a stiff jab versus a skilled fighter with sneaky pop? The winner would get a spot on any pound-for-pound list.
Instead, Charlo will face a no-hoper.
And Andrade will defend his title in an afternoon strip.
Charlo has argued that Andrade doesn’t want the fight. Hearn disagrees. He says he made Charlo a lucrative offer to fight Andrade on DAZN. Andrade says the offer was for $ 7 million. Network affiliations are not a problem, Hearn insists. Andrade is free to take on Charlo on Showtime or Fox, the two platforms that Charlo, who is aligned with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, fights regularly. Last September, Charlo outscored Sergiy Derevyanchenko on points.
Derevyanchenko made $ 3 million for that fight, a source said. Illustrated Sports. Hearn says Andrade would have fought for that too.
“I have accepted that Charlo will not fight on DAZN,” Hearn says. “Okay. Just pay us the same amount of money you paid the boy. [Derevyanchenko] you just did a voluntary defense with. To fight a world champion. I don’t know what else we can do. It’s annoying that no one calls Charlo. Like what the hell are you waiting for? It’s not about money, it’s not about networking. So what is it about? It’s about you can’t win. “
Andrade believes that he has done everything possible to attract Charlo. “I don’t know if Charlo wants to face someone”, Says Andrade. It points out Charlo’s strange interactions with David Benavidez, the former super middleweight champion who has pushed for a Charlo fight. Charlo said he would not fight anyone under the age of 25. Benavidez is 24 years old. Then, he said that he would not fight anyone who has not received the COVID-19 vaccine. Boxers, like all athletes, are subject to strict COVID-19 testing.
“It’s funny,” Andrade says. “Wait a minute, he’s speaking out of the side of his mouth. He says, ‘Oh, nobody knows Andrade. Nobody knows Andrade. Then it’s, ‘Oh no, I’m not going to fight Benavidez. I will fight Demetrius Andrade. I do not get it. If no one knows me, and everyone knows me as they don’t, I guess everyone knows me. It’s funny because he goes from one thing to another with him. It is inconsistent with what comes out of your mouth. I don’t speak that way. This is how he does his thing. “
“I’m not hungry for [his] attention or anger. So I’m not going to spit on them, pressure them, do violent shit. I’m trying to keep it non-violent until we sign a contract to make it violent. “
To keep his title, Andrade was ordered to face Williams. But Hearn is excited for the fight. One of the criticisms of Andrade is that he lacks aggression, that he misses opportunities to end fights early. Hearn points to Andrade’s uneven win over Maciej Sulecki in 2019. Andrade dropped Sulecki in the first round. I had him hurt. Rather than pressuring action, Andrade was content to go all the way. “Not jumping on it was a mistake,” says Hearn. “That place would have gone crazy.”
Williams, Hearn says, offers Andrade a chance to win and look good doing it. Williams (23-2-1) has promised to go for the knockout. Hearn hopes you will. “I hope [Andrade] He looks brilliant and knocks this guy out, ”Hearn says. “And then we screamed and screamed from the rooftops. You need that kind of performance. If you do a safe performance, you always give these people the opportunity to say, ‘It’s boring; I’m going to fight someone else. ‘ He needs an impressive victory. “
In boxing, big fights often exist in the hypothetical. But middleweights are among the worst offenders. Four headlines, circling, as the months go by. Two Americans, sitting on a blank check, discussing nickels and social media and podcasts. The division that Marvin Hagler once defined is one that the great deceased would not recognize. Or be proud.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.