Report from Miami as Demetrius Andrade vs Luke Keeler displays some top-level boxing while Jake Paul vs AnEsonGib provides something rather different
Demetrius Andrade vs Luke Keeler
For the boxing purist, far too much of the coverage of this Matchroom USA show in Miami had been devoted to the fight between YouTubers Jake Paul and AnEsonGib. The real main event saw Demetrius Andrade, unbeaten WBO middleweight champion, put his belt on the line against spirited Dubliner Luke Keeler, who had turned his career around after a rocky period and earned this opportunity after defeating Luis Arias in August.
For Andrade, this was another marking-time scenario as he awaited marquee contests. A 2018 match with Billy Joe Saunders fell through when the Brit failed a drug test, while Andrade and his team scuppered a previous bout with Jermell Charlo due to promotional wrangles. A supremely talented operator, it is beyond time for Andrade to test himself at the very highest level.
Perhaps the Providence native, of Cape Verde heritage, is as impatient as the rest of us, given he dropped Keeler with the first punch landed, a straight left, after about five seconds. Andrade did not rush upon the resumption and plucky Keeler came back into things by the end of the round.
Tall, rangy Andrade looked a division bigger, just to add to the scale of Keeler’s challenge. The Irishman seemed a bit static and apprehensive, no surprise given how the fight began. Andrade, hands low, showed little if any regard for Keeler’s threat and scored another knockdown, this time with a left that arced a little, towards the end of round two. Keeler shook his head but rose, as he had the first time, at the count of nine. He survived until the bell.
Keeler, brave but outclassed, too often stood in range without throwing. Andrade could have been more ruthless but was poised and accurate for the most part. Luke, emboldened by the fact he had overcome adversity and was still in there throwing, bounced on his toes, landing occasionally, but still waited too long. It threatened to become scrappy.
Andrade, with a wide stance, chucked some really wild shots as he endeavoured to get Keeler out of there but it appeared the American had missed his chance as Keeler took what he could get and moved. It was repetitive and Andrade must bear the brunt of criticism for that. He was significantly superior but failed to emphasise this with an exclamation point. Keeler was content to survive and that’s exactly what he did, achieving a moral victory of sorts by lasting until the closing stages of the ninth.
That’s when Andrade finally closed the show, right uppercuts and straight lefts having his challenge all at sea against the ropes, where the referee stepped in.
It HAS to be a big fight next, if only to bring out the best in Andrade.
Jake Paul vs AnEsonGib
The battle of YouTubers, this one at cruiserweight and continuing a lucrative trend, was, perhaps inevitably, nowhere near Andrade vs Keeler as a display of technical prowess. But hey, the millions of people, mostly kids, who follow these two ‘influencers’ won’t care. Luckily.
As well as an oddity, the scheduled six-rounder also proved a mismatch. Paul, tall and lean, at least looked like he had some rudimentary idea of what to do in the ring, but podgy Gib was awful. He looked nervous, showed poor balance and never appeared comfortable in there.
Paul capitalised and to the referee’s eternal credit, he recognised the disparity between the two early and halted the bout near the end of the opening round, after the third knockdown scored by Paul. Gib looked as if he would go down every time he was hit cleanly.
Expect Jake to now fight KSI, who edged his rematch with Paul’s older brother, Logan, in November.
To quote Forrest Gump, that’s all I got to say about that.