WBO junior middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade released an impassioned speech via Facebook on Wednesday calling for a bout against WBA regular titleholder Erislandy Lara. In the video, Andrade claims he was told by Lara’s co-manager, Luis DeCubas Jr., that if Team Lara is unable to secure a bout against Miguel Cotto, the second choice will be to pit Lara against Andrade in a title unification bout.
Neither DeCubas nor Lara could be reached for comment.
While sources indicate Lara’s team has worked diligently to procure a bout against the Transnational Rankings, Ring Magazine and WBC middleweight champion, Cotto, there does not appear to be mutual interest.
Current names being bandied about for Cotto’s next fight include Timothy Bradley and Brandon Rios, though the latter would seem on the surface a hard sell to the general boxing public. Meanwhile, Cotto’s trainer, Freddie Roach, would still prefer a fight against Canelo Alvarez and has even suggested Alvarez’s next scheduled opponent, James Kirkland, should accept step-aside money so a fight with Alvarez can still be made.
Moreover, one of Cotto’s advisors, Gaby Penagaricano, told TheSweetScience.com’s Michael Woods that there was no truth to the rumor that Cotto’s plans currently include the possibility of facing Lara:
— Michael Woods (@Woodsy1069) February 18, 2015
Andrade believes he’s next in line for Lara, and he’s ready to go.
“Now I might have the opportunity to fight Erislandy Lara, the Cuban sensation, if he doesn’t get the fight with Miguel Cotto,” said Andrade.
Andrade was scheduled to defend his title against Jermell Charlo in December 2014 but pulled out of the fight due to contractual concerns. According to BoxingScene.com’s Steve Kim, Andrade’s team was working on rescheduling the bout as recently as two weeks ago, but things seem to have fallen apart.
During his video rant, Andrade claims he even had a contract in place with Charlo again for the rescheduled 2015 bout. However, it was announced yesterday that Charlo will instead meet former title challenger Vanes Matirosyan on March 28, leaving Andrade in desperate need of an opponent.
Charlo’s trainer Ronnie Shields, however, refutes Andrade’s claim of having a contract to fight Charlo in 2015. “The only contract he had to fight Jermell was for December 13 [in 2014] which he backed out on,” said Shields.
Regardless, the 26-year-old has now turned his attention solely toward Lara, who is also trained by Shields.
“Forget Miguel Cotto! Austin Trout beat him. Lara beat Austin Trout, so what’s the point then? Honestly? What’s the point? Why don’t you get in there with someone who is young and hungry that’s going to be a superstar in this game and show me that Lara is the best at 154 out there? Because I believe I’m the best at 154 out there, and I’m willing to put my belt up and fight Lara.”
Andrade believes a bout with Lara would be best for both men.
“What’s up with these boys trying to go after these guys who are on their way out? Just man up, and let’s make this fight happen!”
Both Andrade and Lara would stand to benefit from the bout. They are talented and crafty southpaws who probably represent the toughest makeable fight for each other at this point in time. Moreover, the bout would be a natural fit for Showtime Championship Boxing, and the winner would be set to notch an impressive, career-enhancing divisional feather in his cap.
But the video also reeks of desperation, and points to the possibility that Andrade is being frozen out of the junior middleweight mix altogether, or that he seems to overvalue his position as the WBO champion. Andrade was scheduled to make more money than he had ever earned in a bout against Charlo last year but reportedly pulled out of the fight because he was unhappy with his opponent receiving a larger purse size.
Still, as far as potential fights go at 154 pounds right now, Andrade vs. Lara would be a solid scrap between two top competitors. It would also help lessen the muddle of alphabet belts. If boxing were only about the best and most compelling fights being made as soon as possible, this one would be a no-brainer. But boxing is typically not about such things, so it would be wise to temper one’s enthusiasm about the potential bout until things play out a little more.
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