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Andrade vs Williams: "There is no questioning his growth, desire and contention"

Andrade vs Williams: "There is no questioning his growth, desire and contention"

Nick Peet previews this weekend's world title clash between Demetrius Andrade and Liam Williams.

SEVEN fights, seven straight knockouts. Five inside three rounds and maybe just a single round lost. The last four years has been redefining in the career of Liam Williams, and finally he gets the prize he deserves with a shot at the WBO world title this weekend.

Following back-to-back losses to former light-middleweight champion Liam Smith in 2017, Williams regrouped, moved his training camps to Sheffield and added 6lb to campaign as a middleweight with unimagined success.

‘The Machine’ is a pressure fighter with a solid chin, an unrelenting gas tank and heavy hands, justified by his 18 knockouts in 23 career wins. Now 28 and reaching his peak, Williams may not be the biggest name in the division but there is no questioning his growth, desire and contention.

Unfortunately for the Welshman, his emergence coincides with a typically menacing era for the middleweight division. Gennady Golovkin, Jermall Charlo and Jaime Munguia all have credentials and attributes to leave lasting legacies on the sport. As does his opponent in Florida, current WBO kingpin Demetrious Andrade.

A stylish southpaw with an amateur pedigree that includes 200+ bouts and gold at the World Championships in 2007, Andrade was a prominent member of star-studded 2008 Olympic team that botched the Beijing Games but have gone on to dominate in the pro ranks.

The 33-year-old ‘Boo Boo’ is 29-0 with 18 career knockouts. He makes the fourth defence of his WBO 160lb belt this weekend, and is a former light-middleweight world champion too. The Rhode Island southpaw dominates fights from the centre of the ring, throwing high volume shots with stinging power.

Stylistically, Andrade carries his hands low and snaps out his right jab from his hip, whilst keeping his spearing left cocked under chin. When he’s in the groove, he outboxes punchers and outfoxes boxers with relative ease.

Technically, on paper, this could be dubbed a mismatch. But prizefighting isn’t always violent chess. Often, especially in title fights, it can come down to who’s prepared to go through the suffering to emerge with the belt. This is where Williams may have an edge.

As good as Andrade can be, he’s inconsistent and has a frustrating habit of coasting through fights. He gets ragged and wild when he gets excited too, winging in wild and reckless hooks, yet he doesn’t have the one-punch knockout power of his peers.

Thanks largely to the adulation afforded on him by the US boxing media, Andrade has an inflated opinion of his credentials despite the biggest name on his ledger being former welterweight champ Keith Thurman – who he beat in the Olympic Trials 14 years ago!

For Andrade this fight represents just another routine title defence towards, perhaps, an actual defining career matchup. But for Williams it’s everything he’s ever worked for: 12 rounds to change his life.

The Welshman lost his head against Gary Corcoran and laboured through, whilst his head-butt strewn blood bath with Smith obviously led to his first career loss. He can’t afford to lose control like that against Andrade.

The champion can be hurt and has been dropped in the past. But he’s always got up to win, and win easily. If Andrade’s mind is indeed on bigger engagements and he’s taken his eye off the live threat from the Valleys, then Williams could represent great value to score an outstanding upset.

TIP: Andrade on Points (unanimous) or Williams TKO 4-6




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Nick Peet
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