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If a third Canelo Alvarez fight and this week’s boosted financial offer presented by the streaming service DAZN don’t get Gennady Golovkin to align with the company, the gold strap Demetrius Andrade plans to keep wearing Friday night should serve as the final enticement.
Andrade (26-0, 16 knockouts) will defend his newly won World Boxing Organization middleweight belt Friday on DAZN against little-known Russian Artur Akavov (19-2, eight KOs) at the Madison Square Garden Theater.
Akavov, who resides in Beverly Hills, gains a second title shot after losing to former WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders by unanimous decision in 2016.
“I’m a good fighter. You can’t keep me hidden for too long. Being with [promoter] Eddie Hearn and DAZN has given me the platform to stay busy and go mainstream, to let everyone know there’s better talent out there than just Canelo and Triple-G [Golovkin],” Andrade told the Los Angeles Times this week.
“I’m ready to get in there and showcase my skills and talent.”
The most valuable commodity belonging to Rhode Island’s Andrade is the belt since former three-belt champion Golovkin has longed to stand as a unified middleweight champion.
After Thursday’s news that World Boxing Council and World Boxing Assn. champion Alvarez will fight International Boxing Federation champion Daniel Jacobs on May 4, that could lead Golovkin toward Andrade and a fight against the Alvarez-Jacobs winner after that.
An industry insider unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter said DAZN’s offer to Golovkin ensures the trilogy fight between Alvarez and Golovkin at a time subject to the discretion for both fighters.
Andrade encourages Golovkin to strike the deal.
“If he wants to just stay busy, go to [Premier Boxing Champions], but if he wants the ‘Rumble in the Jungle,’ he’ll come over this way,” Andrade said.
While Andrade’s style has been criticized as too deliberate and slow – a small crowd is expected at the Friday card – he argues he’s equipped for any middleweight.
“Those [critics] must be the haters after I beat their favorite fighter,” Andrade said. “Every fight is going to bring something different out of you. We can go down the list … I match up with anybody out there.”
All he needs to do is win Friday, and he says Alvarez should be in his future, too.
“Just put on another beautiful performance and I should get these guys,” Andrade said. “When [Alvarez has fought] Rocky Fielding and James Kirkland, after he’s been out of jail with no trainer, and Amir Khan moving up three weight classes for Canelo … and you guys write this stuff up as legit when it’s….
“You guys hype that [stuff] and you allow him to keep fighting guys like that when I’ve fought a guy who’s 17-0 with 16 KOs, another undefeated guy who was 6-5, now I’m fighting a top-10 guy … not [someone] who can’t throw punch … .
“Legacy means a great deal to fighters, so does money, so [Alvarez and Golovkin] are going to have to step up to the plate. Why run away to other guys. This is why we’re in fighting. It’s a business. That’s what we’re in. And it’s in our best interest to fight each other.”
Pacquiao’s senate openings
As the possibility of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. rematch looms with a Manny Pacquiao victory over Adrien Broner on Saturday on Showtime pay-per-view, there’s interest in when the Philippines Senate schedule will break to allow another uninterrupted Pacquiao training session.
He told The Times he’ll be off for several weeks between late February and May as the country moves toward a midterm election in May, and again for two more weeks before a possible July date.
“So you’ll be back in May or July?” a reporter asked.
Pacquiao smiled affirmatively that he plans to be back. Exactly when, top adviser Joe Ramos says, is negotiable.
Veteran reporter Eddie G. Alinea of The Manila Times has covered most of Pacquiao’s fights since his 1995 debut, and said as the welterweight champion’s fight at MGM Grand in Las Vegas approaches, “I’ve never seen Manny happier than in this camp.
“Every night,” after Pacquiao concluded his training sessions at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, he’d retreat to his Hancock Park home and entertain as many as 100 guests, family and friends by playing his guitar and singing.
“I heard him do at least 30 songs,” Alinea said. “When Manny’s happy, he can do anything.”
Broner, meanwhile, said in his opening news conference statement Wednesday that he was upset it wasn’t open to the public and placed at the MGM Grand’s David Copperfield Theater.
“I’m pissed off, for real, coming to do this press conference in this last room … when I went to the [Floyd] Mayweather-Pacquiao fight they put them in this big... place,” Broner said. “They didn’t spend no money on our fight, like it’s not nothing. I see what they’re trying to say. They ain’t going to do this [stuff] anymore after I win.”
Truth be told, several of Mayweather’s news conferences were staged in the same setting, also away from the public.
Broner admitted he’s bothered by the talk of a Pacquiao rematch with Broner’s promoter, Mayweather.
“I just feel like [you’re] just trying to play me … I don’t like that,” Broner said. “Y’all keep saying he’s going to fight Floyd. To my recognition, Floyd is … retired, man. There’s some [stuff] going on and I feel you’re trying to throw me to the wolves.”
Unbeaten Jhack Tepora of the Philippines has been called the best prospect in Pacquiao’s growing MP Promotions stable, and he’ll open the pay-per-view in a featherweight bout against former two-division champion Hugo Ruiz (37-4, 31 KOs) of Mexico.
“I believe Jhack’s the best prospect we have,” his manager Sean Gibbons said. “Saturday night, we will find out if what I believe is true against a very tough Mexican who’s in an all-or-nothing fight. Jhack’s going to have to come out and be explosive.”
Ruiz said at Thursday’s undercard news conference that he’s “very emotional” about the pivotal bout.
The 25-year-old Tepora (22-0, 17 KOs) came from the bitter poverty of the Phillipines like Pacquiao and said he was encouraged to enter the boxing gym by first watching Pacquiao fight.
“I’m happy that Manny considers me [talented],” Tepora said of his U.S. debut. “I want an impressive win. I have power, I can box. And just like Sir Manny, I want to help my family.”
Riding a six-fight streak of knockouts, Tepora candidly admitted “I’m not sure” how impressive he’ll be.
“He can punch and people love to come see a puncher,” said Gibbons, who also handles Pacquiao’s super-flyweight world champion Jerwin Ancajas. “He’s like Jerwin. They look for opportunities to lay good, sharp punches. He looks to pinpoint.
“Manny’s Manny. He’s the only one to throw 1,000 punches.”
Until next time