The Demetrius Andrade conundrum: How does a boxer get the big fights when the big fighters don't want him?

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Demetrius Andrade is far from a "horrible fighter" the way Canelo Alvarez dubbed him back in May.

At 6-foot-1 with a 73½-inch reach, “Boo Boo” is sound in the sweet science and skilled as it gets in boxing, even if he’s guilty of being content of winning on points instead of pressing the issue and forcing a stoppage at times.

But what Andrade remains is the WBO world middleweight champion stuck in the quagmire of: Is he being avoided or hasn't faced anyone of merit yet that would warrant a tougher challenge against a marquee name?

The truth is probably a bit of both with the 33-year-old Providence, Rhode Island native who will seek his fifth straight title defense Friday night when he clashes with Jason Quigley at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire and live on DAZN.

Andrade's coronation as a bonafide boxing star was supposed to be set for October 2018, when he was slated to fight Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO title. I was there for their press conference in Boston and the two charismatic fighters were hilarious in selling the bout.

The fight could have been a real springboard for Andrade to not only showcase his boxing skills but also his charisma and personality on a grand stage. However, their momentum was dashed when Saunders tested positive for a banned substance.

Andrade fought Walter Kautondokwa from Namibia, dominating the relatively obscure fighter, instead.

Since then, Andrade (30-0, 18 KOs) has defeated the likes of Artur Akavov, Maciej Sulecki and Luke Keeler, with a unanimous decision over Liam Williams this past April being his most recent title defense. All while clamoring and lobbying to fight the likes of Canelo, Jermall Charlo and Gennadiy Golovkin.

Andrade has mentioned those three names ad nauseum, even crashing the press conferences of Charlo and notoriously Canelo in May, only for the Mexican superstar to tell him to “get the f—k out of here!”

Only Terence Crawford (37-0), Charlo (32-0) and Tyson Fury (31-0-1) tout better records as far as boxing’s unbeaten world champions go.

The difference is all the aforementioned names have fought better quality of opponents. Andrade just hasn’t. And the calling out of Charlo, Canelo and GGG hasn’t landed him a fight with them nor any other big names.

So, the question remains that is Andrade being avoided because of his smooth skills or because he hasn’t fought anybody of merit the way Canelo essentially told him six months ago?

As I said, it’s probably a little bit of both, but more leaning toward his lack of competition as the heavier factor. For what it’s worth, Charlo, the WBC middleweight champion, has called out the likes of Canelo and GGG, too, without landing either fight. Perhaps a bit of that is true with him, too, although it certainly feels like Charlo has more star power.

It’s part of the gift and the curse that comes with the catch-22 of ‘you’ve not faced anyone stellar yet, so why should I fight you?’

To their credit, though, all they’ve done is win throughout.

But if Andrade defeats Quigley, as he’s expected to do, perhaps it’s time to switch up his strategy a bit.

Maybe instead of calling out a Canelo, Charlo or GGG, Andrade should hone in on trying to lock down a fight with a respected veteran like Erislandy Lara or handing undefeated 25-year-old Jaime Munguia (38-0, 30 KOs) his first loss, all while keeping an eye on the winner of the Dec. 29 tilt between Golovkin and Ryota Murata. The Canelo fight looks like it will never happen, but Andrade securing a shot at any of these opponents would be a great look in building his profile up.

It takes one marquee opponent to flood the gates with more. Unfortunately, it takes time in boxing. Terence Crawford finally got a PBC fighter to cross the street with him, as he'll clash with Shawn Porter on Saturday night in his biggest test to date. A successful outcome there could perhaps lead to pressure for a Crawford-Errol Spence Jr. unification fight in the welterweight division.

It's going to take time for Andrade to get that quality of fight, too.

Of course, an impressive showing against Quigley will only help his cause.

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