Sunday, June 15, 2014

Demetrius Andrade VS Brian Rose: A cringeworthy mismatch but a sensational performance

During this completely uncompetitive HBO opening bout, with a major world title on the line, I found myself bouncing back and forth between a negative and a positive. On one hand, I found it hard to watch how painfully unable to compete it was for the United Kingdom's former British Light Middleweight Champion Brian Rose and how much damage he was taking. On the other hand, I had to appreciate how sensational Demetrius "Boo Boo" Andrade looked.

There were times when Andrade was coming up on ESPN where I watched him and thought that his style was just not built for the professional ranks (he has a huge amateur background) and that he would likely fail if he fought at the world level, due to being so deeply stuck in an amateur style mindset. But, tonight, he seemed to be a fully matured, masterclass professional boxer. It may have been, of course, Brian Rose's level that flattered Andrade but even skeptics of Andrade should admit that everything was firing on all cylinders. He was actually a joy to watch. As much of a joy to watch as Rose was a sad spectacle. One side, all sharpness and polish and the other side almost all hesitance and akin to a fish flopping around out of water and getting batted across the floor by a playfully mean feline.

Some fighters that use a lot defensive angles, the slick, fast fighters, fighters with the speed and maneuverability of an Andrade, are so satisfied with their superiority that they spend all night potshotting and then hanging back to admire their work and never feel the need to press the issue and try and get a stoppage. That's fine with me. Not as a viewer-because it's rarely fun to watch-but on the terms of what's acceptable in an athletic competition, I understand that judgment call. It's a strategy. And with some fighters, it's even the only strategy that makes sense for them. But, what Andrade did tonight, taking full advantage of his speed and skill superiority to puncuate his prowess and go for a stoppage, that's what made it a performance, as opposed to a pointless mismatch. Rose had no business with Andrade and Andrade wouldn't let him get away with challenging him without, well, actually giving him a challenge. Andrade took it upon himself to turn pointless mismatch into a showcase with a point. The point being that he's the goods. He's the goods and he needs the chance to prove that he's not just a man with a major world title. He deserves the opportunity to prove that he's the best Light Middleweight on the planet.

Summary: Andrade used all his ability to put combinations together and did not play it safe tonight. The fans and HBO should be happy with this. Not because it was a good fight but because one guy put on a great performance. I don't want to kick Brian Rose when he's down. Some may say he didn't try hard enough. I think he was just in too far over his head to know what to do or how to try and win. I can't blame a guy for that. But I can say that for his own health, he shouldn't be fighting at this level. He could've been ruined by this match for good. Thankfully, he had a referee in Michael Griffin who recognised it was time to step in before a medical emergency. HBO would do well to stick with Andrade and try to get him in with someone who can push him further next. Floyd Mayweather's age and being simultaneously the real number one Welterweight and Light Middleweight champion means it's unlikely he'll be offering a shot to Demetrius Andrade, but Andrade's hat is at least in the ring, whether anyone likes it or not. 

Work that bag,
Basement Gym Boxing

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