By David Greisman
Demetrius Andrade Shuts Out Sulecki, Once Again Calls Out Canelo and GGG
Demetrius Andrade dominated Maciej Sulecki for a one-sided unanimous decision in a fight that seemed at first like it wouldn’t ever need to go to the scorecards.
That’s not a credit to Sulecki so much as it was the will of Andrade. The middleweight titleholder went from pummeling Sulecki in the first round to toying with him for the remaining 11, boxing masterfully in a way guaranteed to win him the fight — all three judges had it a shutout, 120-107. It didn’t necessarily win over the fans, except his hometown crowd there in Rhode Island to cheer him on.
Andrade is rather skilled. That’s undeniable. But he teases us with flashes of dynamic offense, then reverts to his preference — boxing and defense.
Last year, he knocked down Walter Kautondokwa four times in the opening rounds and then took his foot off the gas, winning a unanimous decision.
Last January, he mostly jabbed and kept Artur Akavov at a distance for 12 rounds, only getting a stoppage when the referee bizarrely decided to end things in the final round.
This past Saturday, Andrade surprised by coming out aggressively in the first round against Sulecki, pot-shotting his challenger with lefts and rights, scoring a knockdown with a southpaw left hand just 50 seconds in. He continued to pummel Sulecki for the remainder of the round, though Sulecki was able to get in a few hard blows of his own.
Sulecki had gone the distance with Daniel Jacobs. He’d lost only that once. He was a solid if unspectacular contender. Yet it didn’t look like he was going to last much longer.
And then everything changed.
“Don’t make this a war,” Andrade’s father, also his trainer, told him before Round 2. “Make this a boxing match.”
Andrade followed that advice to a fault.
He had gone 21 of 39 with power shots in Round 1, according to CompuBox. In Round 2? He was just 3 of 13.
Andrade did an excellent job of making Sulecki miss. He changed stances, slipped punches, changed levels, controlled distance, and won nearly every moment of every round whether he was going forward or backward. He didn’t completely shut down his offense, picking spots to wing punches to the body and head, doing enough to pick up points on the scorecards, though not enough to get the boxing world buzzing about someone who otherwise is a legitimate contender for the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Gennadiy Golovkin, and Jacobs.
Indeed, after that sensational opening round, Andrade landed only 73 additional power punches for the remainder of the night — an average of less than seven per round. In total for the entire fight, he was 133 of 496, landing about 11 punches per round.
Boxing is a sport of expectations. Seeing Andrade negate someone like Canelo or GGG would be remarkable. But it became dreadful to see a fighter so much better than his opponent beat Sulecki up for one round, then play with his food for the next 11 rounds.
It got him the victory. But was it the best choice?
That’s hard to tell. Andrade has mismanaged his career in the past, turning down fights that would’ve helped his career, and sitting on the sideline during disputes with his promoters. He once again called out Golovkin and Canelo and says fighters are ducking him, but he needs to help his case by making himself more marketable. Andrade is a charismatic interview. He’s a talented middleweight. But part of getting big fights is convincing your opponents that facing you is worth the obvious risk because of the potential reward.
Andrade is indeed risky. Yet he’s never been as big a star as he could be, which means there’s less reward that comes with facing him.
There was one time when he was supposed to have a notable fight, against then-titleholder Billy Joe Saunders. It wasn’t Andrade’s fault when that fight fell apart; Saunders tested positive for a banned substance.
Boxing is described as the Sweet Science, as a sport of hitting and not getting hit. People still watch sports to see home runs rather than pitchers’ duels, to see three-pointers and slam dunks rather than clampdown defense, to see instant classic football games rather than a lot of stuffed runs, incompletions, and punting.
Andrade doesn’t need to change everything that he does. He just needs to finish what he started. There’d be so much more momentum behind him had he made mincemeat of Kautondokwa, Akavov and Sulecki. They aren’t big names. But they would’ve been highlight-reel victims. Instead, Andrade squandered his opportunity.
This entire rant may still be moot. Andrade made a wise business decision when he signed with streaming network DAZN, which features Canelo, Golovkin and Jacobs. They will need opponents going forward. It’s hard to see Andrade getting fights with Canelo and Golovkin just yet, not with so much — reportedly hundreds of millions — invested in those two superstars. There’d be little benefit for DAZN in having Andrade beat them and flush all that money down the drain.
Jacobs vs. Andrade seems more likely for the near future. Jacobs is coming off a close loss to Canelo. To be fair, Golovkin and Canelo have been game for tough challenges in the past. Right now, however, Golovkin is looking for a third fight with Canelo, while Canelo is also exploring other options, including meeting light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev at a catch weight.
That means Andrade will have to wait at least a little longer. He’s still undefeated, now 28-0 with 17 knockouts. He’s still in his prime at 31 years old.
He just needs to find a way to reconcile his boxing ability with his marketability. He needs to find a way to where he still can’t be hit — but that his fights are can’t-miss.
Sulecki is now 28-2 with 11 KOs.
Richard Commey Stops Ray Beltran in Good Brawl, Heads Toward Teofimo Lopez
The fight between Richard Commey and Ray Beltran was exactly that — a fight, one that turned out about as good as it was expected to be.
Commey and Beltran are lightweights with heavy hands and aggressive styles. They met with a lot on the line. For Commey, a win would put him closer to a big fight with one of the stars of the 135-pound division. For Beltran, a win would give him one more run with a world title, extending his lengthy career for at least a little longer.
Commey landed his power early, scoring two knockdowns in the first round and four knockdowns overall. It was a great start, but it wasn’t enough to put Beltran away. Beltran battled back, landing hard shots of his own and making Commey work even harder for the win.
That moment eventually came in the eighth round, when Commey scored the technical knockout — the first time Beltran had ever been stopped.
Commey started the fight targeting Beltran’s body with a right hand. It was a wise choice, given that Beltran had trouble making weight, coming in nearly two pounds over the limit. By fight night, however, Commey had rehydrated and eaten to the point that he actually weighed more than Beltran.
Just past the opening minute, Commey sent out a distraction of a left hook that intentionally fell short and followed up with a right hand that landed, dropping Beltran to the canvas. Beltran got up and decided to move, trying to give himself some time to recover. Commey was able to trap Beltran along the ropes, landing a few left hooks and a pair of rights and depositing Beltran on the mat once more.
Beltran rose again and continued moving. Commey thought the end was near and let his hands go further, sending out body shots, attempting an uppercut, scoring with a right hand. Beltran saw an opening and landed a big left hook that brought an abrupt halt to Commey’s barrage.
Commey had gone 31 of 61 with power shots in the first round, according to CompuBox, contrasted with 8 of 27 for Beltran. The second round seemed slower in comparison, with both more cautious given what had happened in the first. The third started off in Commey’s favor, as he paired a couple of lefts to the body with a hook upstairs, then returned to the combination again. Beltran began to get some good punches in, and soon it was Commey moving in reverse.
A clash of heads early in the fourth left Commey wincing but unbloodied. Beltran took advantage with a good sequence. Commey recovered and began to time Beltran with counters. When Beltran jabbed, Commey often got in with a quick left hook.
The fifth round brought another knockdown for Commey, though it was a questionable call. Commey had landed a left hook, then missed with a right. His right arm draped over Beltran’s neck and pulled him down. Beltran wasn’t hurt at that moment. And then Commey led with the distraction left hook again, followed with the right hand and forced Beltran to hold on. Commey landed another shot, and Beltran stumbled back. But when Commey came forward with a sloppy flurry, Beltran laced in a right hand that had Commey staggered.
The fighters clashed heads again in the sixth. Commey winced and blinked his right eye. Beltran had some blood over his left. Commey’s right eye swelled up underneath in Round 7 — whether it was from the head butt, Beltran’s punches or both — and the swelling got particularly noticeable over Commey’s eye as Round 8 got underway.
Commey still had Beltran in his sights. About 40 seconds into the round, he again landed the left hook counter as Beltran jabbed. This time, it sent Beltran falling backward. Beltran got up at seven. He seemed ready to go on. But the referee took a good look at him, and whatever he saw concerned him. The referee stopped the fight
“It was a good punch. Commey’s a strong fighter. He got me good. He put me down,” Beltran said afterward. “No excuses. It is what it is.”
Commey is now 29-2 with 26 KOs. This was the first defense of a vacant world title he won in February, when he scored a decisive second-round TKO over Isa Chaniev. He’s bounced back well after suffering back-to-back split-decision losses to Robert Easter Jr. and Denis Shafikov in a three-month span in 2016.
This victory also puts Commey on track for a big fight later in 2019 or perhaps in 2020. He was supposed to have one earlier this year against lightweight champ Vasiliy Lomachenko. But Commey suffered a hand injury against Chaniev, which meant he wasn’t able to take on Lomachenko in April.
Lomachenko isn’t the one who’s next, though. Instead, it appears that Top Rank is looking at putting Commey in with its talented rising contender Teofimo Lopez. He is young, nearly 22 years old, and is 13-0 with 11 KOs. But Lopez looks to have the goods. He’ll appear this July, taking on unbeaten Masayoshi Nakatani.
Beltran was able to land well on Commey but couldn’t turn the tables. It’ll be intriguing to see what happens when Lopez and Commey land on each other.
As for Beltran, this could mark the closing chapter. He’s been a pro for 20 years and is now 36-9-1 with 22 KOs. While he was competitive with a good fighter, it may be time to consider retiring before he fades further and takes unnecessary punishment.
That’s something that’ll need to be decided. One thing that Beltran does know for certain is he’s done at lightweight after being at or around 135 for more than a decade. If Beltran does decide to keep going, it will be as a junior welterweight.