Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland
How confident are you in your abilities? Enough to bet $150,000? That’s essentially what Sullivan Barrera did when he turned down a career-high payday ($400,000) to face WBO title-holder Sergey Kovalev last night at Madison Square Garden. Insulted by the fact Main Events wouldn’t commit to a second fight with a higher purse, Barrera opted to face blue-chip prospect Dmitry Bivol for $250,000, believing a good showing would lead to better standing at the negotiating table with Kovalev.
It was a showcase alright — Dmitry Bivol is now in line for an eventual Kovalev fight after dismantling Barrera over 12 one-sided rounds and scoring a late stoppage.
There was little to criticize from Bivol. He outlanded Barrera 243-77, and controlled range by out-jabbing the Cuban 97-10. Barrera tried to make it a rough affair, but his tendency to lunge forward after power shots resulted in Bivol clipping him with 3-4 punch combinations. It was reminiscent of how Juan Manuel Marquez would punish foes for wayward punches.
The finishing combination was a 1-2 right down the pike. Barrera beat the count but was in no shape to continue on.
In only his fourth year as a pro, I wouldn’t rush Bivol into a Kovalev unification just yet. The Krusher should set his sights on the winner of Badou Jack vs. Adonis Stevenson, which would give the 13-0 Bivol at least two more fights to hone his craft.
As for the rest of us, let Barrera serve as a shining example not to bet against Bivol.