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Inactive Andrade's title may be stripped

Demetrius Andrade last fought on June 14, 2014, scoring a seventh-round TKO over Brian Rose. Eric Gay/AP Images

Junior middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade, inactive for more than 13 months because of his own decision making -- not injury and not because he hasn’t been offered career-high purses -- is risking being stripped of his belt for not fighting.

The WBO sent his co-promoters, Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions and Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing, a letter a few days ago ordering them to “show cause” as to why the title shouldn’t be vacated. Under WBO rules, it has the unilateral discretion to vacate a title “if the champion fails to defend his title within a nine-month period.”

The letter reminded the promoters that Andrade won the vacant belt in November 2013 and has made only one defense since, a mandatory against Brian Rose on June 14, 2014.

The letter also reminded them that in September the WBO ruled in Andrade’s favor when he requested consideration to be allowed to box for the organization’s vacant middleweight title against Matt Korobov, although Andrade ultimately declined and elected to stay at junior middleweight.

“Mr. Andrade was next scheduled to defend his belt against Jermell Charlo on December 13, 2014, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, but an agreement was never finalized and Andrade pulled out of the fight on November 17, 2014,” the WBO wrote.

Andrade was unhappy with a career-high purse offer of more than $300,000. Pelullo has said that offer was part of an overall three-fight deal from Showtime. Andrade also turned down other fights for career-high purses, according to his promoters.

“Then on January 23, 2015, we wrote to the both of you (promoters) again advising that parties had 30 days to negotiate an agreement for” Andrade-Charlo or a purse bid would be ordered, the WBO wrote. “WBO president [Paco] Valcarcel subsequently received email correspondence from Mr. Pelullo on February 19, 2015, informing us that Charlo elected not to fight Andrade, but that Stephen Espinoza of Showtime was looking into Erislandy Lara as a challenger to Andrade for a date in April, but in any case no later than May.

“On April 15, 2015, WBO president Valcarcel wrote to the both of you (promoters) asking for confirmation of Mr. Andrade’s plans and informing that while the WBO was originally willing to allow a voluntary defense of the belt, the junior middleweight division could no longer be kept inactive and that a mandatory defense was in order. Mr. Pelullo promptly responded and advised that he was to meet with Mr. Andrade during that same week and that a June 29 date was set aside, potentially against Liam Smith. President Valcarcel again followed up with you on May 12, 2015,” and asked to be provided with contracts for Andrade’s next fight within 48 hours.

That fight was never finalized.

“The WBO has been more than lenient with Mr. Andrade, but he has clearly been inactive and the WBO must enforce its rules,” the WBO wrote. “For this reason please be advised that you have a period of 10 days upon receipt of this communication to show cause as to why Mr. Andrade has not defended his belt. ... Failure to comply with this requirement will immediately result in the WBO junior middleweight title being declared vacant, without further hearing you.”

Andrade’s team has been negotiating for Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs) to travel to Australia to defend against Anthony Mundine (47-6, 27 KOs) in August, but the sides have been unable to come to terms and it looks like the fight won’t happen.