Undefeated super welterweight Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade (22-0, 15 KOs) returned to the ring last Saturday night for the first time in 16 months, stopping former South American champion Dario Fabian “El Gallo” Pucheta (20-3, 11 KOs) in the second round for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) International super welterweight championship.
The 27-year-old Andrade, who was stripped of his WBO world title for inactivity, hadn’t fought since his seventh-round knockout June 14, 2014 of then No. 1 mandatory contender Brian “The Lion” Rose (25-1-1, 7 KOs) in his first and only WBO title defense.
“It felt great,” Andrade spoke about being back in action. “I was ready, willing and able to do what I need and to prepare myself for any circumstances. I was in tip-top shape and on my game like I’d never left.”
“We’ve had a tough year but I learned more about Demetrius’ character in the past 14 months than I knew in the first 14 months,” Andrade’s manager Ed Farris noted. “He is the kind of fighter who comes along every 10 years, but he’s the kind of person that comes along once in a lifetime.”
Andrade, fighting out of Providence, enjoyed an advantage fighting at Mohegan Sun Arena, marking his first New England fight in more than three years. The gifted southpaw dropped Pucheta, who had never been stopped as a professional, twice in the opening round and closed the show with a powerful straight-left that put the over-matched Colombian on his back at the 50-second mark of the second round.
“I took advantage of my time off and used it wisely to get stronger,” Andrade explained, “I really worked hard with my strength and conditioning coach, who put together a good plan. I probably spent more time on (strength & conditioning) than boxing during my time off. I’m known as a slick boxer but I wanted to get strong so I don’t have to go 12 rounds unless I need to. I felt more power in camp, sparring and hitting the bag, and it showed Saturday night.”
Despite his relatively long hiatus from the ring, Andrade remains a world-class fighter, and he finally got a chance to remind fans of that this past Saturday. “I wanted to show everybody why I’m so avoided,” the 2008 U.S. Olympian commented, “and to make a statement that I’m the best in the 154-pound division. I’m here to stay! I wanted everybody to see what a great champion is all about, performance-wise, coming back from the situation I was in. I just want to stay busy and fight the best. We’re figuring out what’s going to be next.”
“Soon,” Farris concluded, “the rest of the boxing world will know that Demetrius Andrade is the best super welterweight in the world. Eventually, he will be the best middleweight as well. Believe me, Demetrius is going to have a defining fight with GGG (Gennady Golovkin) and then we will see who the best really is.”