Former Olympian and highly touted American, Demetrius Andrade (19-0, 13 KO) will get his shot at winning a world title on Saturday night. As part of the HBO triple-header also featuring Mikey Garcia vs. Rocky Martinez and Nonito Donaire vs. Vic Darchinyan, Andrade will battle tough undefeated Armenian Vanes Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KO) for the vacant WBO light middleweight title.
It is shaping up to be one of the must-see cards of the year. Here's how you can watch and a closer look at the Andrade-Martirosyan matchup.
When: Saturday, Nov. 9 at 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas
Ready for the Big Time?
Standing 6'1" and equipped with above-average athleticism and boxing instincts, Andrade is an easy prospect to get behind. He's just 25 years old, but he's been fighting professionally since 2008. Because of his talent level and Olympic experience, it would seem as though he could have already had his crack at a world title—or at least a few more noteworthy opponents—before now.
Instead, Andrade has faced guys who have mostly appeared on ESPN's Friday Night Fights, or even lesser shows.
Take a look at the interview and the short fight from the video below. Andrade speaks to ESPN's Joe Tessitore about his readiness for a marquee matchup and his motivation. After the conversation, Andrade knocks out Rudy Cisneros with a sizzling right-left combination at the very end of the first round.
The KO is definitely impressive, but Cisneros is an example of one of those journeyman fighters. Since this win that took place in May 2012, Andrade has knocked out Alexis Hloros in Sept. 2012. Most recently, he dominated Freddy Hernandez in January.
On the strength of those wins, Andrade is in position to capture the WBO crown. He's appeared very confident on social media in the days leading up to the fight.
His opponent is hungry and undefeated as well. How will Andrade handle a significant increase in the level of his competition?
The 27-year-old Martirosyan has left all the talking and social media exploits to Andrade. In two of his few pre-fight tweets, he summed up his approach quite well.
My Mind Is Set!! pic.twitter.com/7rofS2h3pL— Vanes Martirosyan (@VanesBoxing) November 8, 2013
While Martirosyan has been in the ring with the likes of Erislandy Lara and Kassim Ouma, he has yet to get a shot at a world title. Martirosyan fought Lara to a disputed draw, and he outpointed Ouma, so it is clear that he is no pushover simply looking to lay down for Andrade.
He is focused on the task at hand, and his list of opponents almost ensures he won't be overwhelmed by what Andrade brings to the ring.
This is shaping up to be one heck of a bout between two young and hungry contenders. Perhaps Martirosyan grew tired of Andrade's boasting. The two men got into a brief scrap at the weigh in and had to be separated. Check out the image in this tweet from TheTrueChamp.com:
This fight figures to be very close. Andrade is a southpaw and a little awkward in his approach. Much like Martirosyan's bout with Lara, headbutts could become a fighter. It is always a danger when a southpaw and orthodox fighter meet, but because of the way Andrade dips inside to throw his up-jab, the chances of a clash are even more likely.
Against Lara, Martirosyan had to settle for a draw when he sustained a nasty cut from the clash of heads. He was doing well against the talented Cuban fighter as one judge had him ahead and another had it even at the time of the stoppage.
This fight could look similar, but one main difference is Andrade's height. He's one of the few light middleweights who will own a length advantage over Martirosyan. His ability to establish his jab will be imperative in the fight.
Who wins the fight and how?
As seen in the video of his rout of Cisneros, Andrade is at his best when he's stalking his opponent, using the jab as the base for his attack. He can unleash powerful counter shots, but everything he does is set up by the jab.
Martirosyan has a solid jab himself. He likes to move forward and close distance. He's a better athlete than he's given credit for and takes a shot quite well. If he can absorb the counter punches from Andrade—and avoid facial damage from headbutts—he has a good chance to win the fight.
I don't see either fighter stopping the other, though with his experience and 21 KO wins to his credit, I like Martirosyan's chances of a stoppage victory over Andrade's. What is a more likely outcome is a hard-fought battle that sees both men have their moments.
It wouldn't surprise me if many think the decision is unjust and a rematch is had in the near future.
Look for Andrade to win by an iffy split decision.
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