By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Gennady Golovkin’s antagonists continually asked during the search for his upcoming opponent why Demetrius Andrade’s name never was mentioned.
The truest answer is that Andrade would represent too much risk for a bout designed to keep Golovkin busy before he fights Canelo Alvarez a third time in what would be an extremely important bout not only for Golovkin, but for the future of DAZN. Arranging Alvarez-Golovkin III for later this year also depends on Alvarez defeating Daniel Jacobs in their middleweight title unification match May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
That figures to be a difficult fight for Alvarez, but as long as Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) defeats unknown underdog Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs) on June 8 at Madison Square Garden, the former middleweight champion can remain in position to fight Alvarez or Jacobs. If Jacobs beats Alvarez, he’d owe Alvarez an immediate rematch, assuming Alvarez would want one.
Regardless, Golovkin was not about to choose Andrade for his first fight of a six-bout DAZN deal.
Andrade (27-0, 17 KOs), a 6-feet-1 southpaw who has won world titles in two weight classes, repeatedly has expressed a strong desire to fight Golovkin or Alvarez and also is contractually committed to DAZN. The unbeaten WBO middleweight champion instead seems headed for a title defense against Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (28-1, 11 KOs) on June 22 or June 29 in Andrade’s hometown of Providence, Rhode Island.
Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promotional representative, explained prior to a press conference Monday at Madison Square Garden why Andrade was not a potential opponent for Kazakhstan’s Golovkin on June 8.
“Not for this particular fight,” Loeffler said, “only because of the new deal with DAZN and the shortness of the announcement and the whole thing. And [Andrade] already has his title defense planned. So, there wasn’t any serious discussion with [promoter] Eddie [Hearn] on that. But if it makes sense in the future, then why not? He has the title, the only title that Triple-G never had an opportunity to fight for because we couldn’t make a deal with Billy Joe Saunders. We offered more than triple that he ever made. We offered to go to the UK to fight Saunders and we never were able to make that fight.”
Andrade, then Saunders’ mandatory challenger, was supposed to box the British southpaw on October 20 in Boston. Saunders (27-0, 13 KOs) failed a performance-enhancing drug test administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association late in August, however, and was denied a license by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission early in October.
The 31-year-old Andrade instead dropped Namibia’s Walter Kautondokwa (17-1, 16 KOs) four times and won a 12-round unanimous decision October 20 at TD Garden. Andrade also captured the WBO 160-pound championship stripped from Saunders.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.