By Vladimir Lik
Demetrius Andrade (27-0, 16 KOs) cruised to a twelve round TKO victory over Artur Akavov (16-3, 8 KOs) at the Hulu Theater inside New York’s Madison Square Garden. The official time of the stoppage was 2:36 of the final round.
The ending came as the final seconds ticked down in the last round and Andrade caught Akavov with a sweeping right hook. Andrade followed up with another glancing body shot causing Akavov to take another step back and drop his guard for a moment.
Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. took that moment as an opportunity to stop the fight much to the chagrin of the Russian fighter who vehemently protested the stoppage and pushed Mercante off of him as the referee tried to console him. Akavov showed more aggression towards the referee than he did all night against Andrade. Akavov respected Andrade’s skill level from the opening bell.
Andrade opened a nasty cut over Akavov’s right eye in the tenth round causing which caused all sorts of problems for the Russian as he tried in a failing effort to evade Andrade’s lethal right jab. Andrade had more success in the eleventh virtually dominating the entire round letting up body shots followed by right and left hooks upstairs.
In the twelve round Akavov attempted to make a late rally but Andrade was too fast and elusive for Akavov to even have a chance. Andrade forced Akavov into full on survival mode which prompted Mercante to intervene knowing that barring a knockout Akavov was too far behind on the cards to win. The final cards had Akavov only winning one round all night.
This marked Andrade’s first defense of the WBO Middleweight world title he won last October in Boston by defeating Walter Kautondokwa. Andrade was just glad he can get back in the ring so soon which is a rare occurrence in the complicated career of the talented three-time, two division world champion.
The 30-year-old Andrade only fought once 2014, 2015 and 2016 while working through conflicts with his promoters at the time.
Andrade once again proved to be one of the most talented fighters in the sport but it’s clear he is a man in need of a rival. With Canelo Alvarez choosing to fight Daniel Jacobs on Cinco de Mayo weekend and Gennady Golovkin still deciding which network/promoter to call home it seems as the most legitimate threat to Andrade remains Billy Joe Saunders whom Andrade was supposed to face last year before Saunders failed a drug test causing him to vacate his title.