Artur Beterbiev vs. Sullivan Barrera a possibility
By Allan Fox: Light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (17-1, 12 KOs) says his team has been given an offer to fight unbeaten #2 IBF, #3 WBC, #3 WBA, #4 WBO Artur Beterbiev (10-0, 10 KOs) for a fight at a still to be determined date and time. Barrera, #4 WBA, #8 IBF, #12 BC, hasn’t fought since losing a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision to former super middleweight champion Andre Ward last March at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
Barrera, 34, has been eager to fight since then, but he hasn’t had any fights lined up for him until this potential fight against the hard hitting Beterbiev.
My team got me offer to fight artur beterbiev final some good news 👏🏽👏🏽👊🏽👊🏽
— Sullivan Barrera (@sullivanbarrera) August 24, 2016
Beterbiev, 31, recently returned from a year-long layoff last June to defeat Ezquel Ovaldo Maderna by a 4th round knockout in Montreal, Canada. It was a good performance from Beterbiev, who had been out of the ring since June of 2015 with a shoulder injury. Beterbiev now wants to stay busy to work himself in position for a world title shot.
It is unknown which of the 175lb champions Beterbiev will go after. He’s reportedly beaten IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev twice while in the amateur ranks, so that would be a good match-up for him. However, Kovalev has a fight on November 19 against Ward in Las Vegas, Nevada.
If Kovalev loses that fight, then Beterbiev might be better off going after Ward than wasting time with the beaten Kovalev. WBC champion Adonis Stevenson would be a good option as well for Beterbiev, because Stevenson can be hit and he’s getting up there in age at 38.
Barrera gave Ward a pretty tough fight despite losing. Barrera had his moments in that fight. Ward did a good job of picking the slower, stronger Barrera with shots while he was coming forward all night. Barrera was knocked down in round three, but it was more of a balance thing than him being really hurt by the punch.
Beterbiev has the kind of talent that could lead him to a world title eventually. He just has the bad luck of coming up when the light heavyweight division has two very solid champions in Stevenson and Kovalev. If Beterbiev is able to beat one of those fighters to become a champion, it would be a big deal, because those fighters are looking very hard to beat right now. Beterbiev beat Kovalev before, so he might have his number still.