Saturday’s junior middleweight bout for the WBO’s belt matches U.S. Olympians from 2004 and 2008 in Vanes Martirosyan and southpaw Demetrius Andrade as part of an HBO tripleheader airing live from American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
During an evening headlined by junior lightweight Roman “Rocky” Martinez’s WBO title defense against RING featherweight champion Mikey Garcia, in addition to a rematch between Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan at featherweight, Martirosyan-Andrade shapes up as an intriguing fight between tall, technically-skilled boxers.
“This one has rematch written all over it,” states Norm Frauenheim of THE RING magazine and www.15rounds.com. “There’s much to like about Demetrius Andrade, perhaps the biggest talent on the last U.S. Olympic team. He’s quick, athletic. But his experience is no match for Vanes Martiroysan, who has learned tricks of the pro trade since the 2004 Olympics.”
A 27-year-old who stands 6 feet tall, Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 knockouts) is coming off a second-round knockout of Ryan Davis that followed a draw with left-hander Erislandy Lara in November of last year.
Martirosyan represented the U.S. as a welterweight alongside gold medalist Andre Ward and bronze medalist Andre Dirrell, but lost to Cuban Lorenzo Aragon, who would go on to defeat South Korean welterweight Kim Jung-Joo for a silver medal.
Currently rated No. 5 at 154 pounds by THE RING, while Andrade is rated below him at No. 8, Martirosyan has unanimously decisioned quality left-handers in former titleholder Kassim Ouma and previously undefeated Joe Greene, both in 2010.
A 25-year-old nicknamed “Boo Boo,” Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs) captured a gold medal as an amateur at the 2007 AIBA World Championships in Chicago. Andrade was among those considered top prospects for a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics only to fall short of his goal following a controversial quarterfinal-round loss to Kim.
Andrade was last in the ring for a unanimous decision over Freddy Hernandez in January, after a streak of four consecutive stoppage victories, and has expressed confidence for a resounding victory, and, in fact, of scoring the stoppage win against Martirosyan.
“If you believe ‘Boo Boo,’ he is the next big thing in boxing and you’ll just have to take that on faith for now,” states Jeffrey Freeman of www.KODigest.TV. “To beat Andrade and win a big money fight against Canelo Alvarez, Martirosyan will have to make it ugly. And if Martirosyan can negate Andrade’s southpaw advantage as he did effectively against Erislandy Lara, he will test ‘Boo Boo’ in ways he’s not yet been tested.”
Below, RingTV.com polled 16 insiders for their opinions concerning Martirosyan-Andrade:
Vanes Martiroysan SD 12 Demetrius Andrade: This one has rematch written all over it. There’s much to like about Demetrius Andrade, perhaps the biggest talent on the last U.S. Olympic team. He’s quick, athletic.
But his experience is no match for Vanes Martiroysan, who has learned tricks of the pro trade since the 2004 Olympics. Martirosyan’s footwork kept Erislandy Lara from launching his left-handed attack in a technical draw.
The unbeaten Andrade, also a southpaw, has yet to encounter anybody as good as Lara, an accomplished Cuban. Martirosyan figures to score enough and frustrate often, leaving Andrade with a narrow loss and a lesson on how to win the rematch.
Record: 22-8 [Golovkin TKO 9 Stevens]
Demetrius Andrade W 12 Vanes Martirosyan: This is a difficult fight to pick a winner for because we don’t know which of these unbeaten US Olympians is more likely to finally live up to their professional potential. It could be both of them, one or the other, or neither.
Fans have been waiting on both boxers to break through for a long time now. Demetrius Andrade is obviously very talented but very untested. Will this big step up in competition be too much for him after a long period of facing only lower level fighters?
Or will his speed and natural athleticism prove to be too much for the underachieving Vanes Martirosyan? If you believe “Boo Boo,” he is the next big thing in boxing and you’ll just have to take that on faith for now. To beat Andrade and win a big money fight against Canelo Alvarez, Martirosyan will have to make it ugly.
And if Martirosyan can negate Andrade’s southpaw advantage as he did effectively against Erislandy Lara, he will test “Boo Boo” in ways he’s not yet been tested. In the end however, I believe Andrade’s star will shine just a little bit brighter, enabling him to emerge with a very close decision and the WBO junior middleweight title.
Record: 19-8 [Golovkin KO 3 Stevens]
Vanes Martirosyan SD 12 Demetrius Andrade: This is a fascinating clash between two unbeaten stars who both represented the United States in the Olympics, and who have made a seamless transition into the professional ranks.
Demetrius Andrade, the southpaw from Rhode Island, can be very dangerous and has concussive hitting power in both hands. His talent is beyond reproach. But if there is a flaw, it is that he can be a bit of a free swinger, which leaves him open to counter-punching.
Vanes Martirosyan has been troubled by lefties in the past. Kassim Ouma and Erislandy Lara both had success against him. But I would expect adjustments to be made in preparation for his first world title shot.
The Armenian is clever coming forward and backing off, and he has the edge in professional experience. I’ve gone both ways on this one. One day it’s Martirosyan, and the next, it’s Andrade. Today, my pick happens to be the former. That said, I am far from confident.
Record: 12-7 [Golovkin TKO 3 Stevens]
Demetrius Andrade TKO 9 Vanes Martirosyan: This is a fight filled with mystery because each man is facing his best opponent to date and the fact that this is taking place with a major title on the line radiates a “do or die” story line.
The only way one can assess such a fight is to examine what happened when they dipped their toes in somewhat deeper waters. When Demetrium Andrade made a modest step up in competition by facing Freddy Hernandez, there was no erosion in the degree of his previous dominance.
When Vanes Martirosyan made an even bigger step up in competition against Erislandy Lara, his previous command was severely compromised. That’s not a good sign for the 2004 Olympian. Another bad omen is that Martirosyan has suffered three knockdowns while Andrade’s chin has barely been touched.
Finally, Andrade is taller, left-handed and appears to have more speed and power.
Record: 18-7 [Golovkin TKO 7 Stevens]
Demetrius Andrade UD 12 Vanes Martirosyan: This fight is a major step up in the career of Demetrious Andrade, and there is some concern that he will be biting off more than he can chew when he steps into the ring with Vanes Martirosyan.
The tool set of Martirosyan is set to give Andrade problems. He’s a southpaw who enjoys keeping his distance and popping with the right hand. Andrade has the speed advantage and a great jab, but will need to be patient and quickly learn how to deal with the threat that Martirosyan sets forth.
It should be a close fight that won’t see a ton of infighting and may, ultimately, be a relatively uneventful affair. But the busier boxer-puncher in Andrade should do just enough to squeak by Martirosyan and earn a disputed unanimous decision.
Record: 7-1 [Golovkin TKO 9 Stevens]
Demetrius Andrade SD 12 Vanes Martirosyan: The talented Demetrius Andrade was moved methodically after turning pro five years ago, yet should be ready for top opposition at this stage of his career.
Vanes Martirosyan boxed better against the last southpaw he faced, Erislandy Lara, than some anticipated. Andrade isn’t quite as good as Lara.
But Andrade will use his advantages in speed and athleticism to out-box Martirosyan by just enough to win the WBO junior middleweight title in a very competitive fight.
Record: 17-6 [Golovkin KO 4 Stevens]
Demetrius Andrade SD 12 Vanes Martyrosian: This is a good fight, very competitive, one I think will depend on the style Demetrius Andrade brings into the ring. I say that because he’s making a lot of noise this week about really forcing the fight and going for a knockout.
If he does something stupid in there, he may be sorry. I don’t think he’ll fight that way though. In Vanes Martirosyan, he meets a guy with a longer pro ledger, one with better opposition. Andrade has not fought great oppositition, but that doesn’t mean he can’t step up to the next level and do that.
I called the Martyrosian-Kassim Ouma fight on TV, and didn’t think Vanes won it. He seems to have some trouble with boxers, and left-handers. This will hurt him against Andrade. I see a close fight, one still in doubt down the stretch, with Andrade squeaking out a close decision.
Record: 18-11 [Golovkin KO 3 Stevens]
Demetrius Andrade W 12 Vanes Martirosyan: A showdown of sorts between two Olympians. I feel that the younger, fresher Demetrius Andrade will come through with a break-through performance against Vanes Martirosyan.
Record: 16-10 [Golovkin KO 4 Stevens]