The more I watched Demetrius Andrade on Saturday, the more I thought of NFL Films.
Sports fans of a certain vintage will recall the company that was founded in the early 1960s, based in southern New Jersey – not too far from Philadelphia – and tasked with producing commercials, TV programs, feature films and documentaries on the National Football League.
Several old friends from my days in Philly were alums of the place, and among my favorite recurring pieces were the annual highlight films put together for each team.
If a team had a good year the films would revel in each win and speed through or even skip losses.
If a team had a poor season, the highlights would still attempt to show the team in a good light, however challenging. Losses and pitiful play were essentially edited out, leaving isolated moments of success that left viewers not quite cognizant of how bad a team might truly have been.
And, having been a New York Jets fan since childhood, I’ve experienced an awful lot of the latter.
They’re among a handful of teams – a small handful, trust me – who’ve neither won nor even played for a league title since my arrival exactly 52 days after Joe Namath’s Super Bowl III stunner.
Before you head to Google, they’re joined in ignominy by Cleveland, Detroit, Houston and Jacksonville, though only the Browns and Lions were even in the league at the time of the lone Jets win.
Given last season’s 2-14 debacle, it feels like it could be another 52 years before it happens again.
But please don’t mistake the context.
Andrade is nothing resembling the NFL’s non-competitive Florham Park dumpster fire.
The WBO champ is a 33-year-old in the prime of his career, a quick and powerful southpaw with enough skill to have earned an amateur world championship and title belts in two professional weight classes.
He’s Ring Magazine’s third-best middleweight for a reason, and his placement at No. 19 on Boxrec’s list of the world’s top fighters regardless of division isn’t out of the question either.
Still, I came away from Saturday’s defeat of Liam Williams feeling more than a little unsatisfied.
Oh sure, Andrade deserved the unanimous decision he was awarded and the official 10-2, 10-2 and 8-4 margins accurately accounted for the goings-on in the ring a few miles from the Atlantic Coast.
He scored the fight’s lone knockdown, landed most of its most damaging punches and never looked appreciably close to losing, outside of a random Williams bull rush every round or two.
But while he and resplendent promoter Eddie Hearn stayed dutiful in the aftermath and goaded every 160-pounder with a DAZN live stream feed, the fighter’s performance wasn’t anything near the sort of thing to get viewers excited or opponents interested – or even concerned, for that matter.
Though the aforementioned gang at NFL Films could splice together enough snippets from the 36 minutes to make Andrade appear a full-on monster, watching the full three minutes per round yielded more than enough awkward, gangly and meh to plunge the impressive needle deep into the red.
And left no lingering vibe he’d beat anyone now posing as a top-level middleweight.
Not a skilled Charlo. Not a relentless Golovkin. Not a powerful Munguia. Not an underrated Murata.
Regardless of scripted Matchroom chest-thumping.
“At the end of the day I am a champion,” Andrade said. “I am undefeated. I shouldn’t have to inspire anyone to get in the ring with me for a belt, an undefeated record and a whole lot of money on the table. Whenever we can sit down and make something happen, I’m willing to risk it all.
“I am ready to show that I am the best and to do that, I want to step in with those champions and they have to do the same thing as well.”
Good on him. But if you're asking me who I'd rather watch fight again… I'm saying Williams.
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This week’s title-fight schedule:
IBO super featherweight title – Lazio, Italy
Michael Magnesi (champion/Unranked Ring) vs. Khanyile Bulana (Unranked IBO/Unranked Ring)
Magnesi (18-0, 10 KO): First title defense; Stoppage wins in three 12-rounders (21 total rounds)
Bulana (12-0, 8 KO): First title fight; First fight outside of South Africa
Fitzbitz says: There are no Sanchezes or Pacquiaos holding belts at 126 these days and Magnesi is not even in the conversation. But with a foe inactive for a while, he’ll be OK. Magnesi by decision (75/35)
WBC light flyweight title – Osaka, Japan
Kenshiro Teraji (champion/No. 2 Ring) vs. Tetsuya Hisada (No. 1 WBC/No. 7 Ring)
Teraji (17-0, 10 KO): Eighth title defense; Four KO wins in seven successful title defenses
Hisada (34-10-2, 20 KO): Second title fight (0-1); Lost WBA title shot in his last fight (October 2019)
Fitzbitz says: Hisada is a veteran champion on the regional scene, but he fell short in his last trip to the world title level and that was 18 months ago. No reason to believe it’ll change. Teraji in 10 (95/5)
WBO featherweight title – Kissimmee, Florida
Emanuel Navarrete (champion/No. 6 Ring) vs. Christopher Diaz (No. 6 WBO/Unranked Ring)
Navarrete (32-1, 27 KO): First title defense; Held WBO title at 122 pounds (2018-20, five defenses)
Diaz (26-2, 16 KO): Second title fight (0-1); Sixth fight in Kissimmee (4-1, 2 KO)
Fitzbitz says: Diaz has been a perfectly respectable commodity for a few years now, but he’s fallen short in bids for titles and against top-end foes. Navarrete presents both. And he’ll win. Navarrete in 8 (99/1)
Last week's picks: 2-0 (WIN: Gongora, Andrade)
2021 picks record: 14-2 (87.5 percent)
Overall picks record: 1,170-377 (75.6 percent)
NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists in the weight class.
Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.