Andrade remains WBO champion but lets opportunity to make a statement slip away

Issue | Premium | Reports | 10 mins ago

WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade stops Luke Keeler inside nine rounds in defence of his title, but could have done more, writes Jack Hirsch

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Demetrius-Andrade  | 
Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

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OF all the
fighters in boxing, it is WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade who
finds himself at the biggest disadvantage entering the ring. Because for
Andrade, just winning impressively time and again has not proven to be enough
to get the big matches he deserves. So what is a man to do? Win in such
spectacular fashion every time out, that eventually the public will demand that
the big names take him on.

Andrade, from
Rhode Island, has finally come to understand this. Shedding his sometimes-cautious
approach, he rushed across the ring and dropped challenger Luke Keeler seconds
into the fight. Keeler got up, then took a knee before arising again at referee
Telis Assimenios count of nine. We waited for the spectacular ending to unfold,
but the plucky Irishman survived the round. But southpaw Andrade was loading up
on every blow, his left glove sometimes being brought up from below the hip to
give the punches maximum force.

Late in the second,
another left hook dropped Keeler, his head hitting the lower rope. The man from
Dublin, got up dazed, the bell coming to his rescue. Surely this new version of
Andrade would soon deliver the conclusive ending that would make the highlight
reels, but then things reverted to form. Keeler though, never winning a round
the rest of the way, nevertheless was able to hold Andrade off and even have
some brief moments of success, before the champion found the big punches at the
end of the ninth round to force a stoppage at 2:59. Keeler complained, but he
at least could be proud of having extended the fight longer than expected after
those two heavy knockdowns.

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