By Keith Idec
Demetrius Andrade would welcome having his fight against Billy Joe Saunders rescheduled.
The WBO middleweight champion still isn’t convinced that Saunders would make it to the ring even if Andrade again agreed to fight him. Andrade was the mandatory challenger for Saunders’ title, but Saunders gave up the WBO’s 160-pound championship after failing a performance-enhancing drug test.
Andrade instead defeated Walter Kautondokwa by unanimous decision to win that vacant title October 20 at TD Garden in Boston. The skillful southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island, is set to make the first defense of his title against Russian southpaw Artur Akavov on Friday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The WBO suspended Saunders from its rankings for six months when it took its middleweight title from him three months ago. Once Saunders is re-inserted into the WBO’s middleweight ratings, it could lead toward rescheduling the fight against Andrade that was supposed to take place October 20.
England’s Saunders (27-0, 13 KOs) returned to the ring December 22, when he stopped Ghana’s Charles Adamu (32-14, 25 KOs) after four rounds at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. That marked Saunders’ first fight since he impressively out-boxed Montreal’s David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) in their December 2017 bout in Laval, Quebec, Canada.
“Billy Joe Saunders has showed us a pattern and a track record of being unprofessional,” Andrade told BoxingScene.com. “He just fought at 178 [pounds] because he’s unprofessional. So, it’s just a risky situation. Like, ‘OK, let’s make the fight happen,’ and he don’t show. It’s another no-show. Or he decided to cocktail his car, threw a bottle and the sh*t blew up or something. This guy would rather die in a plane crash than losing to me. So that can happen. So, I don’t know, because these are the things that come out of his mouth.”
The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission declined Saunders’ license application for the Andrade fight at a meeting October 9 in Boston because Saunders violated his agreement with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association by testing positive for oxilofrine, a banned stimulant.
Oxilofrine is on VADA’s list of banned substances 365 days per year, but the World Anti-Doping Agency and UK Anti-Doping only prohibit it on the day of a fight. Saunders, 29, wasn’t disciplined by the British Boxing Board of Control, which allowed him to fight Adamu last month.
Saunders doesn’t have another fight scheduled.
“Listen, if it’s supposed to happen, it’ll happen,” Andrade said. “When it was supposed to happen, he didn’t do his job, he was unprofessional, so it is what it is. And clearly, he’s still down that same path because he couldn’t make weight his last fight. I’m willing to go up there [in weight], but he ain’t got no belt. You know what I’m saying? At least I can say, ‘I’m a three-time world champion and I fought Billy Joe Saunders. He’s undefeated. Everybody kinda knows him.’ ”
DAZN will stream the 12-round bout between Andrade (26-0, 16 KOs) and Akavov (19-2, 8 KOs) as the main event of a show set to start at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.