Demetrius Andrade has never waited for April 1 to play the fool, but must have decided to step up his game last week, on a day dedicated to practical jokes.
The unbeaten two-division and reigning middleweight titlist remains committed to a mandatory title defense versus streaking Welsh contender Liam Williams. That didn’t stop the Providence-born and bred southpaw from teasing the news of something far more eye-catching in the works.
“HUGE Fight News coming soon!!! #ATeam ,” Andrade (29-0, 18KOs) teased through his social media account while tagging fellow undefeated 160-pound title claimant Jermall Charlo.
However, his big reveal was far more spectacle than satisfaction—the suggestion of an all-Providence showdown with comebacking Peter Manfredo Jr.
Long before Andrade came along, Manfredo Jr. had long served as Providence’s favorite son. The top runner-up from season one of The Contender was a massive attraction in the New England region and especially in his hometown.
Aside from his reality series run, Manfredo Jr. has twice fought for one of the four major titles, coming up well short on both occasions. A trip to the Cardiff, Wales hometown of then-unbeaten super middleweight titlist Joe Calzaghe resulted in a 3rd round stoppage defeat in April 2007. Some 4 ½ years later came a showdown with another unbeaten titlist, reigning 160-pound beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. whom prevailed via 5th round stoppage in their November 2011 clash in Houston, Texas.
Manfredo Jr. announced his retirement after the loss to Chavez Jr., only to return a year later for a brief stretch before stepping away from the game in 2013. A one-and-done affair in 2016 preceded his latest comeback, fighting twice in a span of 14 days in late 2019. Both fights took place well above the super middleweight limit, nor has he made the middleweight limit since the fight with Chavez Jr. more than eight years ago.
That hasn’t stopped his pursuit of one final shot at hitting paydirt, including an expressed willingness to face Williams (22-2-1, 17KOs) if it meant getting to Andrade.
The defending titlist is apparently willing to save him the trouble.
“I will be defending my @WorldBoxingOrg Middleweight World Title against @ManfredoJr_TKO this summer,” Andrade tweeted in his “big fight” reveal. “@DunkinDonutsCtr Date is TBA depending on (COVID-19) situation. #ATeam #TallBlackHandsome #SayNoToPEDS.”
Credit to Andrade for still finding ways to have fun on this day of pranks, even amidst a global pandemic as the sports world and many other businesses have come to a grinding halt.
Once the sport resumes, expect Andrade to face Williams in what the defending champ’s handlers hope will be another hometown title defense. With any luck, Manfredo can find his way to the undercard to deliver the Providence fight fans a memorable one-two punch—even if not against one another.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com, and not above the occasional satirical article. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox