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🥊 The biggest fight of Boo Boo Andrade’s career

David Benavidez, left, will defend his Interim WBC super middleweight title against Providence's Boo Boo Andrade, right, when the two meet as the headline match on Showtime Boxing Saturday night.Associated Press

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You can easily skip Patriots/Giants on Sunday afternoon, which gives you the perfect excuse to stay up late on Saturday to watch Providence’s own Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade in the biggest fight of his career as he headlines Showtime Boxing on pay-per-view.

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Andrade, 32-0, takes on David Benavidez, 26-0, in Las Vegas. The undercard for the fight begins at 8 p.m. on the East Coast, so Lord knows when the main event will begin.

I wouldn’t pretend to know anything about boxing beyond what I read in the news, so I asked Michael Parente, the broadcast voice of Rhode Island-based CES Boxing and CES MMA, to help break down Andrade’s big fight.

Q: Let’s set the stage here. We have two undefeated boxers who are fighting in the most high-profile bout of either of their careers. What would a win do for Andrade?

Parente: This is an opportunity for Andrade to spoil the potential Benavidez-Canelo Alvarez superfight that’s been on the table since March, and perhaps carve his own path to the elusive showdown with Canelo that he’s been chasing most of his career. If Benavidez wins, he’s the mandatory challenger for Canelo’s IBF, WBO, WBA, and WBC super-middleweight titles, and the WBC has already gone as far as to pitch dates for this fight in 2024 at their most recent annual convention.

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This is by far the biggest fight of Andrade’s career, and it’s unlikely at his age (35) that he’ll get another opportunity like this if he loses. And while beating Benavidez also makes him only the 56th male fighter in the sport’s history to become a world champion in three different weight classes, the real prize is catching Canelo – Andrade has wanted this fight forever and Canelo has always found a way to avoid it, both at 154 and 160 pounds. There’s no guarantee Andrade gets the fight even if he beats Benavidez, but there’s almost no chance it happens if he comes up short next Saturday.

Q: It seems Andrade has been in a place for the past few years where he can’t seem to secure a marquee match against the best-known boxers in the world – until now. Why is that?

Parente: Andrade has gone as far as to show up at other fighters’ press conferences to challenge them on the spot and has been vehemently denied – and avoided – from 154 to 168 pounds. Even Tyson Fury has referred to him as “the most avoided man in all of boxing today .” There are a few reasons why. First, he’s really, really good. He’s a slick, speedy southpaw with a super-sharp jab and the ability to switch from southpaw to orthodox at any point. He’s also difficult to look good against, meaning that even if you beat him, it’s going to be ugly and possibly work against you.

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And for whatever reason – perhaps the lack of knockouts, which casual fans consider “boring,” or not being backed by one of the more recognizable worldwide promoters until he signed with Eddie Hearn in 2018 – Andrade has never been a big enough draw financially for the sport’s top fighters to risk a loss for less than what they think they’re worth.

Q: It’s worth pointing out that Benavidez is considered a fairly significant favorite in this fight, which is the first time in recent years Andrade has been considered an underdog. What does Andrade need to do to win?

Parente: Benavidez is the bigger, stronger fighter of the two and a natural 168-pounder. Andrade began his professional career as a 154-pounder and, like many fighters, has moved up in weight through the years both for better opportunities and because of the toll that cutting weight takes on your body at an older age. Andrade can’t afford to get drawn into a “phone booth” fight and box Benavidez at close range. Not only does Benavidez have a slight height advantage, he’s won 23 of his 27 fights by knockout, compared to only 19 knockouts in 32 pro fights for Andrade.

Boo Boo needs to keep the fight at a distance, work off his jab, and be the better counterpuncher – all easier said than done against a fighter of Benavidez’s caliber. I do think the later the fight goes, the better Andrade’s chances are. Benavidez has only gone the distance three times in the last six years.

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Q: Make a prediction for us: Who wins this fight?

Parente: My heart says Andrade, whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with through the years when he showcased his talent early in his career on two fight cards for CES Boxing – and whom I consider a friend – but my gut tells me Benavidez pulls this out in a narrow, tougher-than-expected war.

Q: Win or lose, where does Andrade rank among the best fighters to come out of Rhode Island historically?

Parente: Rhode Island is still Vinny Paz territory, and rightfully so, but if we’re talking pure, God-given talent and skill, I can’t envision a scenario where Andrade is anywhere below No. 2 on anyone’s list – if not No. 1.

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter that also contains links to other important Rhode Island stories, information about local events, and more. If you’d like to receive it via email Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him @danmcgowan.