Cool, confident Andrade excited to end 16-month layoff next weekend in Mohegan Sun headliner
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- With the press gathered around him at the Big Six Boxing Academy during Thursday's open workout, former world championDemetrius Andrade was his usual affable self, cracking jokes and grinning from ear to ear under the bright lights.
Once the bell rings next Saturday, Andrade's demeanor will change. His homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 17
at Mohegan Sun Arena -- Andrade's first fight in New England in more than three years -- is strictly a business trip as the undefeated junior middleweight aims to regain his spot as the No. 1 154-pounder in the world.
"This is something I've been doing since the age of 6," Andrade said. "I love to do it and for me to not be able to display it and for the viewers to not be able to get a piece of the man, the champ, is mind-boggling, but what I do is I take it as a positive, I stay in shape, I stay in the gym and today we're here to show the people why I believe -- and why you should believe -- I'm the greatest 154-pounder on the planet."
Andrade's 10-round bout against Argentinian Dario Fabian Pucheta (20-2, 11 KOs) for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA) International Titles, promoted in association with Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing and Artie Pelullo's Banner Promotions, headlines CES Boxing's "Gold Standard" card.
A win for Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs) puts two more belts around his weight and automatically puts him among the top 15 in the world in the WBO and WBA, a major step toward reclaiming the WBO junior middleweight title stripped from him in July due to his long layoff, which finally comes to an end next weekend after 16 months.
"They went behind me when I was sleeping," Andrade joked. "I was sound asleep and when I woke up my belt was gone! I was like, 'Damn, I worked too hard for that!'"
The now-vacant WBO belt is up for grabs tomorrow night in the
when undefeated Liam Smith faces United Kingdom native John Thompson at the Manchester Arena. New Jersey
"They're not going to be the representative I can be for that belt," Andrade stated matter-of-factly, "so this is the reason we're fighting for these two titles, to rank me right back in a position so I can get it back and hold onto it."
That's not to say Andrade is looking ahead to a title showdown with tomorrow's winner or looking past Pucheta. His opponent next weekend has won six of his last seven fights, including three in a row by knockout. Saturday will be his
debut. United States
"He came all the way from
to win," Andrade
said. "He's 20-2. The sport of boxing and the business is rough and tough
and I know to be 20-2 it takes a lot of heart and guts, so I'm expecting him to
come with an 'A' game knowing he's fighting a 2000 Olympian and, though they
want to say former, I am the champ, the champ today. Argentina
"This is his opportunity to make something of himself and my opportunity to get back in the ring and get back to where I was."
Asked if being away from the ring for more than a year would take its toll on him next weekend, Andrade laughed, turned to the sparring area behind him and said, "The ring's right there!" All jokes aside, the 27-year-old former Olympian refuses to acknowledge rust as a factor.
"That never came across my mind," he said. "I have obstacles and bumps in the road I had to get over. I guess that took a year and several months, but me being out of the ring, I was working on myself mentally and physically and mentally building myself. I haven't taken any severe damage in the ring, I haven't gotten punched. I still feel good.
"All I can do is just be better and work on what I need to work on. That time out, people think I've been slacking or I'm not doing this or that, but when they see me in the ring come October 17th, they'll be like, 'Hold up! We need more of that right there!'
"This is not just something where I get up in the morning and I have to do it because I have no other way of living. I have other ways of living, but this is something I dreamt. I get up every morning because I love doing what I'm doing and I can make a career and enjoy doing it and make life-changing money. There's life-changing money in this boxing business and that's why I'm in it, but at the same time I'm just happy to get back in the ring, especially in the
New England area, Mohegan Sun,
October 17th. Be there or be square. It's your boy, the champ, the
future of boxing."
Next Saturday's event will also be a showcase for New England boxing with undefeated Worcester, Mass., junior middleweight Khiary Gray (9-0, 7 KOs); New Haven, Conn., featherweight Josh Crespo (4-2-3, 2 KOs); and super middleweightVladine Biosse (15-7-2, 7 KOs) of Providence featured on the undercard.
Tickets are priced at $25.00, $50.00, $125.00 and $200.00 (VIP) and available for purchase online at www.cesboxing.com or www.mohegansun.com, www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254, or at the Mohegan Sun Box Office. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
"If we can continue to bring boxing to the
New England area, , Connecticut , it's going to be great
for us. We do have some young, future champions in the state of Rhode Island that are really going
to be a force to be reckoned with," Andrade said. Rhode Island
"I'm just trying to get the guys out here to follow in my footsteps and set the bar high for them so they can accomplish and look forward to something. It's not like Vegas or
where we can run by
mansions and see Lamborghinis and stuff like that. We've got the dim lights in Florida where we have to make
them bright ourselves." Providence
"Gold Standard" also includes the return of world-rated lightweight "Hammerin'"Hank Lundy (25-5-1, 12 KOs), No. 15 in the WBC, fighting for the WBC's vacant Continental Americas Title in a 10-round bout against Nicaraguan vet Carlos Winston Velasquez (23-21-1, 13 KOs).
Gray will face Denver's Marcus Dawkins (4-2, 1 KO) in a six-round bout and Biosse returns in a six-round bout against Nathan Miller (6-0-1, 4 KOs) of New Brunswick, Canada. Crespo battles
, vet Rigoberto Miranda and cruiserweightMike Albany, N.Y. (1-0, 1 KO) of the Marshall Bronx faces newcomer Hampton Miller of , both four-round
bouts. New Haven
For more information on "Gold Standard" visit www.cesboxing.com, follow @CESBOXING on Twitter and Instagram and "like" the official CES Boxing Facebook fan page.