By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Demetrius Andrade was among the boxers Eddie Hearn showcased Tuesday during a press conference to officially launch his promotional company’s partnership with DAZN.
The next opponent for Andrade, who has signed a multi-fight agreement with Matchroom Boxing USA, was not announced as part of that event in Manhattan. BoxingScene.com has learned, though, that Andrade’s Matchroom/DAZN debut won’t be made against WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.
The undefeated Andrade instead is expected to face a lesser opponent than England’s Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) on October 6 as part of a DAZN stream from DePaul University’s Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
The WBO ordered a Saunders-Andrade title fight Thursday because Brooklyn’s Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs), the WBO’s No. 1 middleweight challenger, reached an agreement to fight Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) for the vacant IBF middleweight title on an undetermined fall date in New York. The 30-year-old Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs), of Providence, Rhode Island, is the WBO’s No. 2-ranked middleweight contender.
The WBO afforded Frank Warren, Saunders’ promoter, and Ed Farris, Andrade’s manager, 10 days to come to an agreement for a Saunders-Andrade fight. The WBO intends to order a purse bid if Warren and Hearn, now that he officially is Andrade’s promoter, can’t strike a deal on their own.
When asked by BoxingScene.com on Tuesday if he expects to fight Saunders next, Andrade replied, “I’m willing to get in there. If it happens to be him, it happens to be him. It doesn’t matter.”
Saunders said since the WBO issued its mandate Thursday that he expects to fight Andrade at some point in September.
“Listen, Billy Joe Saunders ain’t running anything,” Andrade said. “When we come to negotiations, agreements on when and where, everybody will know.”
Andrade added that he doesn’t think the contentious relationship between Hearn and Warren would prevent him from fighting Saunders in what would be an interesting bout between unbeaten southpaws.
“Listen, when the business is good, it doesn’t matter,” Andrade said. “If business is good, it doesn’t matter. That’s not my concern. That’s [Hearn’s] concern. People wanna see the fight, I want the fight, so we’re gonna make it work.”
In his last fight, Andrade, a former WBA and WBO 154-pound champion, beat Alantez Fox (23-1-1, 11 KOs) by unanimous decision in a 12-rounder HBO aired October 21 from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. He won’t have fought in nearly a year by the time he returns to the ring October 6.
Andrade considered boxing Brazil’s Yamaguchi Falcao (15-0, 7 KOs) as part of what would’ve been an HBO tripleheader this Saturday night at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The 2008 Olympian ultimately bought himself out of his contract with longtime co-promoters Artie Pelullo and Joe DeGuardia, so that he could sign with Hearn.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.