DEMETRIUS ANDRADE has a spring in his step – and one in his future.
The reigning WBO middleweight champion is undoubtedly frustrated at having to play the waiting game with a career-defining clash against the likes of Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin not on the horizon.
“He’s a boring fighter,” Alvarez said of the unbeaten American recently.
Andrade, though, a super-relaxed boxing stylist rather than a one-punch knockout merchant, which perhaps explains the Mexican’s tangled viewpoint, always has an eye on the bigger picture.
“I’m a family man,” he told Boxing News in Miami ahead of his fight with Ireland’s Luke Keeler here on January 30.
“I have three kids – Autumn, Winter and Summer – and one on the way in April.
“And yes, the baby will be called Spring!”
Andrade – 28-0 with 17 inside schedule – isn’t bothered what Alvarez, or anyone else for that matter, thinks about him.
Now ensconced in the bustling Eddie Hearn and DAZN stable (alongside, ironically, Alvarez and Golovkin), the American – aka “Boo Boo” – is happy to sit back and let the moneymen map out his future.
Whatever happens, Andrade is fighting for his family.
With devoted dad Paul in his corner, this slickest of southpaws has no qualms about putting his body on the line to ensure his kids will want for nothing.
“I will make sure that when they turn 21 they have a few million in the bank,” he stressed. “On my end it ain’t easy. You know what I’m saying?
“Do they know what I have gone through to get this s**t set up. Do I want them to box? I don’t think they need to do that because I’m doing what I need to do.
“My oldest daughter, she’s into basketball and is becoming a student athlete, but all my kids, I want them to know what a student athlete is and what’s it going to take to become one.”
Andrade and boxing were a natural fit.
At the age of six, he was already sampling the sweet science at his dad’s gym. It quickly became his life.
“I was in a routine – school and gym. I thought I was like Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, Jake ‘The Snake’ and Hulk Hogan. I was just running in the gym doing my wrestling thing but, day by day, I started developing skills early and began to get involved with boxing.”
Temptations, and trouble, were at every corner. Sport kept him grounded.
“My dad did what he had to do to, raising three kids and keeping us out of trouble,” said the American.
“His way was the gym. He had the boxing gym and a karate dojo. And so our routine was school and sports. Street life is always in front of you but I stayed clear.”
Andrade enjoyed an impressive amateur career which included a handful of fights against Keith Thurman – “He won one of four, that’s why he’s called ‘One Time’!” – before the 2008 Beijing Olympics came into view.
A defeat in the last eight ruined hopes of a medal but the experience set the platform for his pro career. He also rubbed shoulders with the likes of Usain Bolt and Ronaldinho.
“Oh man, it was unbelievable,” he said.
Upon returning from China, the 31-year-old from Rhode Island went pro.
He mowed down all his early challengers and was crowned WBO super-welterweight champ in 2013, but after seeing what would have been a cracking tussle against Jermell Charlo fall through, a 13-month absence from the ring followed in 2015 after his promotion machine ground to a halt.
A frustrating on-off relationship with Star Boxing and Banner Promotions ended in the summer of 2018 and, all of a sudden, with Matchroom now on board, Billy Joe Saunders came into view.
It was set for Boston in October 2018. The statement night he was after had arrived. But then the Brit failed a drug test.
“He was talking all that s**t and he goes and takes drugs to try to beat me. It showed what he felt about me,” he said. Saunders claimed the test was a consequence of a nasal spray.
Andrade badly wants “GGG” and Canelo, although whether the Mexican will operate again at 160lbs is unclear.
“Listen,” said Andrade. “If Canelo or ‘GGG’ can beat me in their hearts and minds, why hasn’t it been done? Why haven’t they gotten in the ring with me? Is Rocky Fielding [who fought Canelo in 2018] better than me? Is Liam Smith [who fought Canelo in 2016] better?
“The same goes for ‘GGG’s’ list too.
“OK, Danny Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko are still elite fighters who are making something. Anybody else that they have gotten in the ring with, what did they become? What did they do next? Who are they? And that’s the difference.
“When you’re fighting the best, the best don’t get knocked down. Nobody knocked out Canelo or ‘GGG’.
“Before that people say, ‘Oh, do you think ‘GGG’ is done?’ Why? Because he’s fighting somebody that’s good too. He’s not fighting a guy that just stands still. He’s not fighting a Steve Rolls.
“Anybody could do that. But when you get in there with another top-level fighter that knows what they’re doing and have a good corner behind them, you’re going to have a 12-round battle.
“But I’m not disappointed. There’s a machine behind me now. I’m active and making money. I’ll keep doing it for my kids.”
The clash with the unfancied Keeler comes deep into Super Bowl week here in South Florida, with a temporary 8,000-seater stadium staging not only fight night but a Lady Gaga concert and some post-match American football shindigs on the evening of the annual, monster US sporting event.
Come the very next day, everything will be dismantled.
The show will move on.
Andrade, however, just wants that massive opportunity to prove he really belongs.