By Ryan Maquiñana
Demetrius Andrade, at long last, can enjoy the sweet taste of vindication.
The 2007 amateur world champion from Providence, R.I., didn’t quite fade into obscurity after a disappointing third-round loss in the Beijing Olympics ended his sparkling amateur career, but the 25-year-old’s time in the pro ranks had been fairly undistinguished by comparison.
Last week, however, Andrade (20-0, 13 KOs) finally secured his spot among the elite fighters in the junior middleweight division when he outpointed Vanes Martirosyan in Corpus Christi, Tex., to capture a 154-pound world title belt.
“It felt great,” Andrade told BoxingScene.com. “It was the best feeling I had ever felt in my life. All glory due to the Most High for me to be injury-free from January to November. I worked so hard for this. The wait was worth it because it wasn’t in China. It wasn’t in Russia. It was here in the United States and we made it happen.”
In his biggest fight to date, Andrade actually trailed early when Martirosyan (33-1-1, 21 KOs) floored him in the first frame.
“Hopefully it was a 10-9 round because I was beating him the whole time that first round, but I got a little too excited,” Andrade said. “I saw an opportunity to counter with the left when I wasn’t in the right position. His jab, left hand came over the top. The force knocked me down. I shook it off like it was nothing and went back to work.”
Eventually, Andrade’s height, boxing ability, and punch volume led him to victory. Some argued before the bout that Martirosyan’s close technical draw with southpaw Erislandy Lara would serve as a precedent for how Andrade should deal with his foe. Andrade disagreed.
“That Lara fight was not a blueprint for me because I’m a whole different fighter,” Andrade said. “Lara was trying to run but I brought the fight to Vanes. I overwhelmed him with my punches and my ability to move in and move out.”
When the scores were announced, two of the judges gave the nod to Andrade, but Javier Alvarez was the only dissenting opinion; much to the dismay of a sport plagued by questionable scorecards, he curiously had Martirosyan up by three points
“I was definitely shocked because other than the first round, I swept him every round,” Andrade said. “I don’t think there was a round where he outlanded me or even out-threw me. But either way, I’m the champion now.”
Andrade’s next assignment likely will take place against mandatory challenger Brian Rose (25-1-1, 7 KOs). However, the new titlist has a different ideal opponent in mind – fellow junior middleweight beltholder Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs).
“I want whatever’s going to make sense,” Andrade said. “This Rose guy’s on the radar because he’s my mandatory, but if I had my pick, I’d like to go after Carlos Molina, get that belt and go get anyone else.”
“Whether it’s (Canelo) Alvarez, Austin Trout, or Mayweather, if they want these belts, they have to fight the champion.”
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine's Ratings Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net or follow him on Twitter @RMaq28.