Super middleweight contender Librado Andrade’s next fight, a Solo Boxeo headliner against Aaron Pryor Jr. on Friday, will take place at light heavyweight.
Andrade (29-3, 22 knockouts), the rumored opponent for both WBO light heavyweight beltholder Jurgen Brähmer and former 175-pound titleholder Chad Dawson in recent months, admits to struggling to make the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds these days, but the 32-year-old veteran says he’s not finished with the division.
“I want one more fight at 168 pounds,” said Andrade, who will face Pryor (15-3, 11 KOs) at a 172-pound catchweight. “I have a hard time making the weight but I want another shot at a super middleweight title. I don’t care who it is or where I have to go to get the title shot, but I want one more chance. I want to win that title before I move on to light heavyweight.”
Andrade, a native of Guanajuato, Mexico, who grew up in Southern California’s Orange County, has challenged for a super middleweight title on three occasions but came up short each time.
The rugged pressure fighter lost a one-sided decision to then-undefeated Mikkel Kessler in 2007. Almost two years later, Andrade lost a decision to Lucian Bute after having the defending titleholder down and nearly out in the controversial final round. A year later, he was stopped by a body shot in the fourth round of his rematch with Bute in November of 2009.
Andrade, THE RING’s No. 8-rated super middleweight, has not has not fought since stopping former 168-pound beltholder Eric Lucas one year ago.
“I’ve been in the gym since the Lucas fight,” said Andrade, who stopped the popular Canadian veteran after the eighth round of an ESPN2-televised main event from Quebec, where he‘s fought his last four bouts. “I was ready to fight but none the fights that were being talked about came through. There was talk of me fighting Bramer on the (Jean) Pascal-(Bernard) Hopkins fight in Quebec last December. It didn’t happen. There was talk of a fight with Chad Dawson on the Pascal-Hopkins rematch (set for May 21), but it wound up being just that — talk.”
Andrade realizes that “talk” won’t keep him in the ratings, only fighting can do that, which is why he chose to face Pryor, the rangy 6-foot-4 (193 cm) son of the former junior welterweight champ and hall-of-famer.
The scheduled 10-round bout headlines a Telefutura-televised card from the Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino in Indio, California, that also features his younger brother Enrique Ornelas and popular local prospect Randy Caballero.
“It was coming up on one full year since I last fought and I didn‘t want to be dropped (from the ratings) because of inactivity,” said Andrade, who defeated then-contenders Yusaf Mack, Robert Stieglitz, and Vitali Tsypko between his title fight losses. “I worked too hard to get to where I am.
“I want to stay in position in the rankings. That’s why this fight with Pryor is so important. I’m going to have one more tune-up bout after Friday and then I’m going after somebody who holds a super middleweight title later in the year.”
Andrade said he wouldn’t mind a rematch with Stieglitz, who won the WBO 168-pound title after he knocked him out in eight rounds in 2008. The German beltholder has defended the strap four times, including a decision over Ornelas last November.
“You would think Stieglitz would want to get revenge,” Andrade said. “I’ll go to Germany for the rematch if that’s what he wants, but something tells me he’s happy just beating my little brother.”
There are other options for Andrade, who is rated No. 2 in the super middleweight rankings of the WBC, which recognizes Carl Froch as its champion.
Froch, an entertaining and versatile British veteran, is in the semifinals of Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic, the long-running 168-pound tournament that is finally coming to a close this year. Andre Ward, the undefeated WBA beltholder from Oakland, Calif., fights Arthur Abraham in a semifinal bout on May 14. The winner of that fight will face the winner of Froch and former light heavyweight champ Glen Johnson.
Andrade believes he matches up well with all four semifinalists.
“I’m going to be ready for whoever comes out of the Super Six tournament,” he said. “I’ll be happy to fight the winner or even the runner up. All I want is a title shot. I’ll do whatever it takes to get one more chance at a super middleweight title, even if I have to make 168 pounds couple more times.
“Kelly Pavlik is the WBC’s No. 1 (super middleweight) contender. If an elimination bout between me and Kelly can be made I’ll take it in a heartbeat.”
Pavlik-Andrade would be a thriller. Of course, Andrade has to get by Pryor, whose most notable victory is an eight-round decision over crafty boxing prospect Dyah Davis.
The 32-year-old son of a legend is coming off a 10-round decision loss to Edwin Rodriguez, who has an aggressive style that is similar to Andrade‘s. Not that it matters to Andrade.
“All I know about Pryor is that he’s 6-foot-4 and I hear he’s got a good right hand,” he said. “I don’t watch videos of my opponents. I don’t want to watch a video of them losing and get false confidence. It makes me train harder not knowing what to expect from them.
“I want to have respect for everybody I get into the ring with.”