Junior middleweight prospect Demetrius Andrade and junior welterweight prospect Raymond Serrano enter their fights on Friday night (Showtime, 10 ET/PT) at different place in their careers, yet both have taken on new trainers.
Andrade (18-0, 13 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympian from Providence, R.I., and one of boxing's elite prospects, will face former welterweight title challenger Freddy Hernandez (30-3, 20 KOs) of Lynwood, Calif., in the scheduled 10-round main event of the "ShoBox: The New Generation" card at The Paramount in Huntington, N.Y. In Andrade's corner will be 2011 trainer of the year Virgil Hunter, who is best known for his work with super middleweight champ Andre Ward.
Philadelphia's Serrano (18-1, 8 KOs) will fight Emmanuel Taylor (15-1, 10 KOs) of Edgewood, Md., in the eight-round co-feature. Serrano made a trainer change after suffering his first defeat, a fifth-round knockout to Karim Mayfield in May. In Serrano's corner will be Barry Hunter -- no relation to Virgil -- who is best known for his work with junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson.
"All coaches get their fair share of calls, and I get some, too," said Virgil Hunter, one of boxing's most sought-after trainers. "Demetrius called me and we started talking. I'd been aware of him because he was an Olympian and knew he was a good kid, but once we met I was most definitely very pleased to make his acquaintance. I enjoy working with him.
"Demetrius' dad [Paul Andrade] did a terrific job with him. He's a great kid with a great personality and he wants to succeed. I think he has unlimited potential and everything it takes to not only be a future champion but an ambassador for the sport. There's really a lot of upside to Demetrius. It's just a matter of time."
Andrade, 24, left the East Coast to head to the San Francisco Bay Area to train with Hunter.
"I've been training at Virgil's private gym in Hayward, Calif.," Andrade said. "I knew Virgil from him being in the amateur program and I just reached out to him. He's a stand-up guy and everything's going smoothly. We're just taking it one step at a time, just getting in shape for this fight."
Hernandez, 33, is past his prime and has lost two of his past three fights, but he has faced quality opposition. In those bouts, Andre Berto blitzed him in the first round of a welterweight title fight in November 2010, followed by a decision win against former titleholder Luis Collazo 11 months later and then a decision loss to junior middleweight contender Erislandy Lara in June.
"On paper, this should be his toughest challenge, when you consider the competition the other guy has fought," Virgil Hunter said.
Serrano, 25, lost to Mayfield on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights," and the cameras caught the chaos in Serrano's corner as the fight came to an end. After that, Serrano hooked up with Hunter. The fighter has since been training with Hunter in Washington, D.C., and also sparring with Peterson, who is preparing for a title defense on Feb. 22 (ESPN2), and his brother, lightweight Anthony Peterson.
"I've been with Barry since about July," Serrano said. "After I fought Mayfield, I took some time off and then I got with Barry. I train at his gym and spar with the Petersons. It's definitely stepped up my level of training. I've worked hard and feel it's made me a stronger fighter."