By Jake Donovan
Demetrius Andrade survived his toughest test in the ring to date as a pro with a ten round unanimous decision over veteran Grady Brewer on Friday evening at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana.
What remains a far greater challenge for the former star member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxing team is winning over the viewing public.
Andrade promised before the fight to win the fight with the jab, and employed that game plan from the opening bell. A double jab knocked Brewer slightly off balance early in the fight, though he was quickly able to gain his composure. Andrade rarely deviated from the script save for the occasional right jab-left hand combination and also hooking to the body.
As Brewer attempted to pick up the aggression, Andrade adapted well and had an answer for anything thrown at him, though with a style not always to the crowd’s liking. Clinching and clumsy infighting created awkward moments as both fighters spent time on the canvas due to shoves and slips.
The boo birds began to surface in the fourth round, as Andrade employed more lateral moment into his repertoire after having remained in the pocket for most of the early going. Brewer tried to do something about it, but his efforts to pick up the aggression only left him open for counter opportunities that Andrade greatly exploited.
Andrade grew more confident – in the form of cockiness – as the fight progressed, but never to the point where he was willing to take any risks whatsoever. Rather than mix up his attack, Andrade was content to stick and move, instead wasting more energy on shimmying and showboating rather than actual fighting.
Whenever infighting occurred, both fighters seemed to find a way to bring it to a screeching halt. Excessive holding led to delays in the action as well as two separate warnings to Andrade for holding and hitting behind the head.
Brewer shared some of the blame for the fight going nowhere. The Contender Season Two champion had his opportunities to make it a dogfight, but was way too content with clinching whenever offense alone wasn’t getting the job done.
With the fight way out of reach entering the final rounds, Brewer tried his damnest to turn things around. The 40-year old committed to every punch thrown in the 10th round, including a right hand that momentarily drove Andrade backwards. The trick was following up on it, which Brewer failed to do.
More ugliness ensued down the stretch, with both fighters tripping and falling into each other along the ropes. The fight ended with Brewer missing on a series of overhand rights and the crowd booing the lack of action exuded over the past ten rounds, especially in comparison to the thrilling co-feature.
Still, in the end the resume of Andrade will merely read “W10” and not come with an asterisk for lack of excitement. Such was the end result as scores of 99-91 (twice) and 98-92 allowed him to head back to Providence with a record 14-0 (9KO). While not gaining very many new fans in the process, he does score his third win of the year.
For the 40-year old Brewer, it’s hard to determine where he goes from here. His huge upset win over previously unbeaten Fernando Guerrero suggested that the longtime spoiler is just as dangerous as ever, though he will always struggle against movers like Andrade.
Still, the risk of accepting the fight on short notice was a necessary move, even if one that snaps his two-fight win streak as he falls to 28-13 (16KO). Brewer’s last loss came more than 18 months ago, offering rising contender Erislandy Lara a stiff test before suffering a 10th round stoppage loss.
Despite the journeyman-like record, Brewer has remained a fan favorite for always willing to take on the best and often on short notice as was the case in this particular fight.
Andrade deserves equal amount of credit for accepting such a dangerous fight without the luxury of a full training camp to properly prepare. That and his skills suggest he also deserves more respect than the industry is willing to exude, though only an increase in entertainment value will allow that to become a reality.
Lightweight prospect Hank Lundy survived a fourth round knockdown to stop former titlist David Diaz in the sixth round of their televised co-feature.
Lundy was in control of the action early on, but the fight took a dramatic swing in the fourth. Diaz connected with a pair of right hooks, knocking Lundy off balance before the Philly native stumbled to the canvas. Diaz was unable to close the show, and also got clipped with a left hand that opened up a huge gash outside of his right eye.
The blood became a factor in the fifth, when the referee had the ringside physician take a look at a cut that was opening up more and more seemingly with each punch thrown. Diaz was given the rest of the round to turn things around, and the veteran responded in kind, initiating yet another two-way exchange.
The stand would serve as his last hurrah. Lundy came out throwing in the sixth, flooring Diaz early in the sixth to where the fight was stopped while he was flat on his back.
The official time was 0:37 of the sixth round.
Lundy remains afloat, though questions remain about just how far he can go in the sport. Regardless, he racks up his third straight win as he improves to 21-1-1 (11KO).
Diaz is most likely looking at the end of a career that is viewed by most as that of an overachiever. Despite his Olympic pedigree, not much was ever expected from the Chicago native, who has now lost three of his last five as he falls to 36-4-1 (17KO).
He managed to prove a lot of critics wrong by making it to the title level, scoring a dramatic come-from-way-behind knockout of Jose Armando Santa Cruz to earn a lightweight strap. Diaz held the belt for nearly two years, parlaying the bout into a lucrative title fight against Manny Pacquiao, conceding the crown in nine one-sided rounds and subsequently stepping away from the game.
A comeback was attempted 15 months later, though with mixed results. He’s registered two wins – majority decisions over badly faded Jesus Chavez and journeyman Robert Frankel, with a lopsided loss to Humberto Soto sandwiched in between.
The loss to Lundy is a major step backwards in the twilight of his career. If it is in fact the end, he can proudly proclaim that he went down swinging.
In a televised swing bout, Ghana-born lightweight Yakubu Amidu (20-2-1, 18KO) scored a third round knockout over Martin Tucker (7-10, 3KO). Amidu was in control of the brief affair before forcing the stoppage at 0:50 of the third round.
Amidu has now won four straight since relocating to Los Angeles and signing with actor-turned-boxing manager Vince Vaughn.
Dwayne Wisdom (1-0, 1KO) enjoyed a successful pro debut with a third round stoppage of Chicago-based Paulie Settepani (1-1, 1KO) in the televised opener. Wisdom scored knockdowns in the first and third round, the latter prompting the official to wave off the fight on the spot. The official time was 1:13 of the third round.
The show aired live on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights, serving as the season finale for what has arguably been the series’ best year since returning to the air more than a decade ago.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]