Through two different opponents and three scheduled dates, Demetrius Andrade has stayed patient waiting for his shot at a junior middleweight world title. And now the time is upon him.
A 2008 U.S. Olympian and a 2007 world amateur champion, Andrade will face 2004 U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan for a vacant 154-pound belt in the opening bout of a tripleheader on Saturday night (HBO, 9:30 ET/PT) at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Andrade was originally supposed to travel to Kiev, Ukraine to challenge then-titlist Zaurbek Baysangurov on July 6. But Baysangurov suffered a back injury in training and pulled out of the fight. Since he was going to be sidelined for an extended period, Baysangurov was stripped of the title (as per the terms of the purse bid), which left Andrade to face the next leading available contender, which was Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KOs).
The fight was scheduled to take place Sept. 7 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Brian Vera undercard. But when Chavez-Vera was postponed for three weeks because of a Chavez cut, Andrade's title shot was delayed again and moved to Saturday's undercard.
The 25-year-old Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs), a technically gifted southpaw from Providence, R.I., has taken the delays in stride.
"I was supposed to fight for the world title in July but I believe everything happens for a reason," Andrade said. "I've had more time to work with my dad [Paul Andrade]. I'm stronger, faster and this camp has been better organized and structured than any I've had in the past. I'm growing and developing all the time."
With a victory, Andrade would become the first member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxing team to win a world title, something that is meaningful to him.
"I just want to show the boxing world that I am the No. 1 light welterweight in the world and why I will be for years to come," he said. "I'm just beginning my legacy. I'm growing in stature and a lot more people are going to know me after Nov. 9th."
Although Andrade is not known as a puncher, he has designs on finishing Martirosyan, a 27-year-old from Glendale, Calif.
"My job is to go in and stop him," Andrade said. "You never want to leave the fight in the hands of the judges. I learned that lesson the hard way in the Olympics.
"I've trained hard to be fully prepared for this fight. I'm in 15-round shape for a 12-round fight but it's not going the distance. Once I get in the ring, I'm going to do whatever I need to win. I am going to beat him and the knockout will come. I'm coming to win every round decisively until it ends in a KO. I am going to beat him down for three minutes of every round. I am going to make a statement that I'm the best 154-pound fighter in the world."
In the main event, junior lightweight titlist Rocky Martinez (27-1-2) defends against former featherweight titlist Mikey Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs) while 2012 fighter of the year Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs), coming off a decision loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux in an April 13 junior featherweight title unification fight, is moving up to featherweight and will meet former two-division titleholder Vic Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 KOs) in the co-feature. That fight is a rematch of Donaire's 2007 knockout victory to win a flyweight world title. Darchinyan is also moving up in weight.