Monday, August 22, 2011
Demetrius Andrade steps up -- and out
By Jason Langendorf
Demetrius Andrade, the 2008 U.S. Olympian and former amateur champion and current rising junior middleweight prospect, isn't above putting on a show. Song and dance? Those are a couple of his specialties.
While being put through his prefight interview paces by ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" crew on Thursday, Andrade was asked by FNF play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore how the next night's fight with step-up opponent Grady Brewer would unfold. Andrade paused, thought, then responded with a snippet from a Roy Jones Jr. ditty:
"Can't be touched ... can't be stopped ... can't be moved," he sang, then chuckled.
Andrade, 23, showed up Friday at the Horsehoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., just outside Chicago, and backed up that playful boast with some serious stepping. He routinely and easily out-quicked Brewer and was mindful of his corner's appeals to circle, avoid moving left and stay away from Brewer's power. Balanced and light on his feet, Andrade was never in any danger from Brewer, 40, who was lumbering by comparison.
"Basically just using my feet, using my jab and being conscious of his right hand," Andrade told ESPN.com when asked his thoughts on the key to his win. "I know he likes to load it up, and the previous fights that I've seen him fight, he likes to cock that right hand."
Andrade never gave Brewer a target or an opportunity to land it flush -- or even glancingly, really. He jabbed often (as he promised he would) and countered sharply in the early rounds, seemed to back off in the middle rounds, then found a rhythm again late. Two of the judges gave a couple of rounds to Brewer, but it wasn't even that close.
"I was ahead and wanted to get a little more comfortable countering off his right hand. That's why I stopped throwing my jab, because it seemed like when I was jabbing, he really wasn't doing nothing. I wanted to land the body shot, but after I tried to work that, I just went back to the jab. I said, 'You know what, I'm just gonna keep doing what I'm doing that's allowing me to win.'"
As it turns out, though, the song-and-dance routine -- even paired with a dominant performance -- wasn't enough for everyone. If Andrade (14-0-0 with 9 KOs) fell short in any area Friday, it was in delivering the "wow" factor. In his biggest fight as a pro, in front of a national TV audience, he and Brewer -- the former "Contender" winner -- offered marginal entertainment value.
Much of that was on Brewer, who seemed frustrated that he couldn't pin down Andrade and frequently bulled him after he realized he couldn't touch him up. Even then, Brewer wasn't putting punches together and rarely took risks with big shots -- even after it was obvious he needed them for any chance to pull out the fight.
When asked whether the boos and catcalls that rained from around the venue throughout much of the fight were a factor, Andrade said, "I know you're supposed to please the crowd, but at this stage of my life, I need to worry about winning and getting to the top. If the crowd wants me to go out there and bang out -- and that's not something that I do -- then they need to go watch somebody else."
Still, there's good reason to keep an eye on Andrade, who has top-shelf skills and likely will put on better shows as he gains experience and is matched with more-gifted, prime fighters. But for now, Andrade's victory over a name opponent, following a string of whippings against lackluster competition to start his career, will have to be enough.
"There was going to be a time and place for that to come anyway," Andrade said on Thursday of his step up. "Now's the time."