by David P. Greisman

2015 was not a good year for Demetrius Andrade. His extended inactivity — 16 months out of the ring — left him stripped of his junior middleweight world title. The relationships he’d strained with his promoters after turning down fights needed to be rebuilt. He’ll need to convince networks to feature him once again.

That’s why Joe DeGuardia, whose Star Boxing promotes Andrade alongside Banner Promotions, is hoping to get Andrade back in the first couple months of 2016.

“We’re actually working on what’s going to be next for him,” DeGuardia said Dec. 5. “We should have something over the next couple of weeks announced. Still working on that.”

Andrade returned on a small card in Connecticut in October, making quick work of Dario Fabian Pucheta and moving to 22-0 with 15 KOs. It was his first appearance since June 2014, when he stopped Brian Rose in the first and only defense of the WBO world title. Andrade went on to turn down a fight with Jermell Charlo later that year even though he’d already been announced as taking part on that Showtime card.

“It’s an uphill battle. Unfortunately he made some mistakes last year and didn’t take certain fights that he should’ve took,” DeGuardia said. “Hopefully he learns from it and moves on and starts taking the opportunities we present. I think he’s matured a lot.”

While bridges were burned, DeGuardia knows that the fighter he and Artie Pelullo of Banner Boxing believed in before is still capable of performing at a high level.

“His boxing skills certainly remain the same. He’s an unbelievably talented fighter. But we’ve got to get him in the ring. That’s the key,” DeGuardia said. “The bridge he needs to rebuild is to get back in the ring, to show the networks that his desire is to be in the ring. That’s an important thing. Not taking the fights that he didn’t take was a big mistake. There was a couple. Right now I look at that as being water under the bridge.

“It’s now going to the next step. I think we’re going to be crossing that bridge and bringing him the next fights. That’s really what he’s got to do. He’s got to be back in that ring. That’s where his talents lie. His talents lie in the ring. … Once people see his talent, he’ll endear himself to the fans and we’ll make the fights that he has to make in order to get to where he’s going to get. But the key is to get in the ring. If he doesn’t get in the ring, that’ll never happen.”

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