On September 15, former WBO junior middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade is scheduled to hold a press conference in Providence, Rhode Island, to announce the date and venue for his next fight. The 2008 Olympian has not fought since beating Brian Rose in June 2014. While he remains undefeated in the ring, Andrade was stripped of his title by the WBO last December, after pulling out of a defense against Jermell Charlo, in a dispute over the size of his purse.
Andrade’s return is way overdue. The 154-pound weight class is stuffed with talent and there are a lot of terrific fights waiting to be made. Andrade needs to be in the discussion for those sort of bouts. He’s got the speed and technical ability to create problems for almost anybody with his lanky, 6’1” frame and southpaw stance.
The press release I received from Banner Promotions made no mention of a potential opponent, only noting that Andrade “is on the comeback trail to regain his world title.” The WBO belt is due to be contested for by Liam Smith and John Thompson in Manchester, England in October.
I’d make Andrade a strong favorite over either of those fighters, but at 27, it’s probably time for Andrade to set his sights on the true rising stars in the division. With or without a belt on the line, Andrade vs. Charlo is a much more intriguing fight than Andrade vs. either Thompson or Smith.
Of course, a belt back around his waist would give Andrade additional bargaining power. But as a return bout, it doesn’t line up on the calendar for this year.
Expect to see Andrade’s first bout back against a credible journeyman/stepping stone level opponent. After more than a year inactive, it would be rash for him to immediately jump in against a top-tier guy.
But in 2016, I hope to see him in with another young lion, whether one of the Charlo twins, Julian Williams, or even Willie Nelson. A rematch with Vanes Martirosyan, who Andrade beat by split decision in 2013 for the vacant WBO crown, would also be a relevant matchup.