By Keith Idec
Demetrius Andrade understandably is much more interested at the moment in fighting Gennady Golovkin.
Artie Pelullo, Andrade’s co-promoter, made it clear, though, that the undefeated southpaw still is very much willing to face another unbeaten middleweight. Pelullo told BoxingScene.com that it was Sergiy Derevyanchenko’s handlers, not Andrade’s side, that didn’t want that intriguing middleweight fight when HBO Sports’ Peter Nelson offered it a second time for some time within the first quarter of 2018.
Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko is promoted by Lou DiBella and managed by Keith Connolly.
The overall package HBO first offered for Andrade-Derevyanchenko was $800,000, which would’ve been split equally among the two teams had they fought December 16 in Laval, Quebec, as part of the Billy Joe Saunders-David Lemieux undercard. HBO’s second offer was for a total of $500,000, which means each side would’ve had to take $150,000 less for a fight that would’ve been placed on an unspecified undercard.
Philadelphia’s Pelullo disputes, too, that Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs) wasn’t willing to fight Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) when the fight first was offered late last fall.
Andrade wasn’t training, Pellulo said, because Nelson informed him following Andrade’s 12-round victory over Alantrez Fox on October 21 that there wouldn’t be another HBO bout available for the 2008 Olympian for the remainder of 2017. Andrade, of Providence, Rhode Island, also spent time in the Atlanta area after the Fox fight with his high school football coach, who died of cancer.
“So then Peter comes back says, ‘You want the fight? There’s only $500,000 in the fight,’ ” Pelullo said, referring to the second offer for the first quarter of 2018. “I said, ‘No problem. We’ll take the fight.’ Lou couldn’t deliver [Derevyanchenko] because Connolly would not take the fight [for less money]. … I called Andrade and he said, ‘Yes, take the fight.’
“Andrade didn’t turn down the fight [the first time] because of the money. Andrade didn’t have the opportunity to be in the gym. And that’s why we turned down the fight. We took the fight the next time around, when we would only get $250,000 for our side. When it came around for $300,000 less [overall], we still took it.”
Pelullo also stated that a dispute between DiBella and Connolly was a factor in the Andrade-Derevyanchenko fight not materializing the first time around.
“Right after Andrade fought Fox, Peter at HBO said that there was nothing for [Andrade] until after the new year,” Pelullo said. “Andrade gets out of the gym and goes down to Atlanta to see a high school football coach, who was dying of cancer. Three weeks later, Peter said that there might be this fight with Derevyanchenko. Andrade [wasn’t] in the gym and he [couldn’t] take the fight. This was after Peter told us there was no fight between that October fight and the end of the year. So Andrade thought he was not fighting, and that’s why he wasn’t in the gym.
“So then, three weeks after that, we hear from Peter that there might be a fight with Derevyanchenko. We go back and forth, and Lou, he can’t deliver Derevyanchenko. Lou was fighting with the manager over control of the fighter and who could talk to HBO.”
DiBella doesn’t think Andrade’s team truly wanted the fight.
“That’s got nothing to do with why the fight didn’t happen,” DiBella said regarding any acrimony among Derevyanchenko’s handlers. “I never believed they wanted the fight, frankly. I called Peter Nelson to tell him we were in [for December 16] within the deadline we were given to work everything out. I got a text back that said Andrade was available. Then, five minutes later, Artie called me and told me that Andrade wasn’t available. That was for December. That’s what happened then. The money for them to fight in December was fine.
“And then the offer was reduced by three-eighths this year, and it was never offered for a particular date. It was like, ‘Well, if we’re gonna do the fight, this is what we have in the pot.’ We were never told, ‘Here’s the time, date and place.’ It’s also very difficult when you’ve made a deal with a fighter at a certain number, to reduce that total pot by three-eighths and think that it’s gonna be easy to close the deal. But that being said, there wasn’t even a firm date or place discussed.”
Their disagreement aside, Pelullo and DiBella are willing to revisit negotiations for an Andrade-Derevyanchenko fight.
For now, Andrade and Derevyanchenko both hope to get a shot at replacing Canelo Alvarez if his temporary suspension is extended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission next month and he isn’t allowed to proceed with his middleweight championship rematch against Gennady Golovkin on May 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Derevyanchenko is the mandatory challenger for Golovkin’s IBF 160-pound title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.