If Demetrius Andrade had his way, he’d have just completed training camp for a much bigger fight than his title defense versus Luke Keeler on Thursday night in Miami.
Unfortunately for Andrade, a year and a half into his partnerships with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN, the unbeaten WBO middleweight champion still hasn’t been able to land fights against Canelo Alvarez, Gennadiy Golovkin, Jermall Charlo, Daniel Jacobs or Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Alvarez, Golovkin and Jacobs all are contractually committed to DAZN, which also streamed Derevyanchenko’s last fight against Golovkin.
“Everybody needs a statement fight right now, I believe,” Andrade told BoxingScene.com. “That’s me, that’s Canelo, that’s Triple-G, Billy Joe [Saunders], [Jermall] Charlo. Everybody needs that statement fight and it’s just like, ‘Who’s gonna be the two guys to tangle with each other?’ It can’t be a statement fight versus a guy we all know you’re gonna beat. It can’t be that for me, it can’t be that for them or for anybody else. We have to get in the ring with each other.”
The 31-year-old Andrade (28-0, 17 KOs), a two-division champion from Providence, Rhode Island, is listed by most Internet sports books as at least a 50-1 favorite to successfully defend his title versus Ireland’s Keeler (17-2-1, 5 KOs). DAZN will stream their 12-round, 160-pound championship match as the main event of a card from Meridian at Island Gardens, but fans seemingly are much more interested in title fights on the undercard – namely Tevin Farmer-Joseph Diaz Jr. and Daniel Roman-Murodjon Akhmadaliev.
Keeler will become the fourth straight low-profile opponent Andrade has fought since he signed with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN in the summer of 2018. He out-pointed Walter Kautondokwa, Artur Akavov and Maciej Sulecki in the first three fights of those deals.
Meanwhile, Golovkin and Alvarez appear headed toward fights against less threatening opponents than Andrade.
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) will make a mandatory defense of his IBF middleweight title next against Poland’s Kamil Szeremeta (21-0, 5 KOs). Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) is considering facing Japan’s Ryota Murata (16-2, 13 KOs), who’d be a huge underdog against the Mexican superstar.
Houston’s Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs), who owns the WBC middleweight title, doesn’t have an opponent for his next fight. According to Eddie Hearn, Andrade’s promoter, Charlo turned down a $7 million offer to battle Andrade in a 160-pound title unification fight DAZN would’ve streamed.
“It just seems like they wanna fight the lower-level guys and take no risks and say that they’re the best,” Andrade said. “I didn’t know that’s what the game turned into, fighting guys that ain’t the best and saying that they’re the best. I didn’t know it turned into that.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.