Demetrius Andrade admits he didn’t know anything about Liam Williams before Williams was mentioned as a potential opponent last year.
Now that he has familiarized himself with Williams, the unbeaten WBO middleweight champion isn’t impressed with Williams’ level of opposition and doesn’t consider his mandatory challenger capable of upsetting him Saturday in Hollywood, Florida. Andrade understands, of course, that the higher-profile, lucrative fights that he truly wants won’t happen if he doesn’t handle Williams in this obligatory defense of his 160-pound championship.
This 12-round battle between Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs), a southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island, and Williams (23-2-1, 18 KOs), of Clydach Vale, Wales, is the main event of DAZN’s stream Saturday. DAZN’s undercard coverage is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
“Is he mentioned to be very good in the sport of boxing like that?,” Andrade asked about Williams during an interview with BoxingScene.com. “Does his name get mentioned with Canelo, Charlo, Billy Joe Saunders? Not to undermine or look past him, because I’m not looking past him as far as I’m not training hard because, at the end of the day, it’s somebody trying to take my head off, somebody trying to stop me from feeding my family. I’m gonna do what I need to do. But like I said, it is Liam Williams.”
Williams, 28, has lost only back-to-back fights to former WBO junior middleweight champ Liam Smith in 2017.
England’s Smith (29-2-1, 16 KOs) defeated Williams by ninth-round technical knockout in their first fight, a close contest that ended due to two cuts along Williams’ right eyelid. Williams was ahead of Smith by the same score, 86-85, when their scheduled 12-round fight was halted during the ninth round.
Williams lost a majority decision to Smith in their 12-round rematch seven months later. Smith won their second bout by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 114-114.
His fights with Smith are the two most noteworthy bouts on Williams’ record.
Two years after their rematch, Williams stopped Alantez Fox in the fifth round of their December 2019 bout at Copper Box Arena in London. Fox (27-2-1, 12 KOs, 1 NC), of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Andrade in October 2017 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
“He might be tougher than the last opponents that Canelo just fought or Billy Joe Saunders just fought or Triple-G just fought,” Andrade said in reference to Avni Yildirim, Martin Murray and Kamil Szeremeta, respectively. “He might be tougher and better than all them guys, which I take all credit for because I’m willing to get in there with these type of fighters, that are not well known, but are tough guys that are willing to say yes to make their mark. He’s not just coming to lay down. I don’t like to fight people that are just gonna come to lay down. There’s nothing really in it for me. Yeah, OK, we get in the ring, but where’s the joy?”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.