After 10 years together, two world titles and a lot of ups and downs, former two-time junior middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade was granted a release from his contract when he bought out co-promoters Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing and Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions on Thursday.
Terms of the buyout were not disclosed.
"It's been a long journey," Andrade said. "I've learned a lot and I really appreciate everything that Artie and Joe did for me and my career. Sometimes it seemed like it was us against the whole world trying to get the top fighters to get in the ring with me, but at the end of the day Artie and Joe guided me to two world championships and I really want to thank them for all their efforts. I'm hoping to be back in the ring again very soon and get an opportunity to show the world that I'm going to be a world champion once again."
As a free agent, Andrade figures to become the target of promoters Top Rank and Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. Both companies have been aggressively seeking to sign top talent to fill slots on the many cards they have under their broadcast deals, Top Rank's with ESPN and Hearn's with DAZN, a soon-to-launch all-sports steaming service.
Andrade and the promoters said they are parting on amicable terms.
"I wish Demetrius the very best. I've always believed that Demetrius has the potential to beat any junior middleweight or middleweight in the world and I expect he will be the world champion again very soon," DeGuardia said.
Said Pelullo: "I believe Demetrius has the ability to beat any fighter in the world in his division, and I expect him to win many more world titles in the near future. I wish him and his family the very best."
Andrade,the 2007 world amateur champion, entered the pro ranks after representing the United States at the 2008 Olympics Games and became the first member of that team to win a professional world title when he outpointed Vanes Martirosyan for a vacant 154-pound belt in 2013. He was back in the ring seven months later in a lopsided seventh-round knockout of mandatory challenger Brian Rose.
But since then Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs), a 30-year-old southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island, has fought only four times. He has multiple long layoffs, bickered with Pelullo and De Guardia on and off and not been able to land any major fights.
HBO cooled to him because he wasn't always in exciting bouts and he was eventually stripped of his junior middleweight title in 2015 for inactivity. He had a chance to sign a lucrative multi-fight contract with Showtime but ultimately rejected it when Roc Nation Sports tried to sign him away from Pelullo and DeGuardia with the promise of big money. It didn't happen and they all wound up in litigation when the deal went south and sent Andrade into another layoff.
Showtime gave Andrade another chance in June 2016 and he looked fantastic in a 12th-round knockout of Willie Nelson, but little came of it. He wound up agreeing to go to Germany and won a split decision and a secondary title from Jack Culcay in March 2017.
In October, he moved up to middleweight and won a snoozer over Alantez Fox on HBO that was so bad the network declined its option for his next fight.
There were talks between Pelullo and Golden Boy in recent weeks for a fight between Andrade and Brazil's Yamaguchi Falcao (15-0, 7 KOs), 30, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, that would have opened HBO's July 21 card in Las Vegas headlined by junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia in his first defense against Liam Smith.
However, the deal was never finalized while Andrade, manager Ed Farris and DeGuardia and Pelullo were negotiating for Andrade to buy out the remainder of his contract, which was due to expire at some point in 2019.