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Sullivan Barrera wants Jean Pascal fight

Image: Sullivan Barrera wants Jean Pascal fight

By Jeff Aranow: #4 WBA, #9 IBF, #12 WBC light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs) is targeting a fight against former WBC 175lb champion Jean Pascal (31-4-1, 18 KOs) next, as he believes that a win over the 34-year-old Canadian will get him a shot at the winner of the Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev fight.

It’s interesting Barrera isn’t calling out unbeaten #2 IBF contender Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) for a fight, because that would be a fight that would make a lot more sense for Barrera to be taking if he wants a title shot against the Ward-Kovalev winner.

#13 WBC Pascal is a fringe contender at this point in his career with a 2-2 record in his last four fights. To say that Pascal has seen better days in his 11-year pro career is putting it lightly. Pascal has suffered to knockouts at the hands of Kovalev since last year. Pascal’s only wins have come against little known journeyman Ricardo Macelo Ramallo (21-11-1, 15 KOs) in stopping him in the 3rd round on December 16 this month, and a controversial 10 round unanimous decision win over Cuban Yunieski Gonzalez (18-2, 14 KOs) in July 2015.

Many boxing fans thought Gonzalez deserved the win over Pascal. However, Pascal was the well-known A-side fighter in that match, so it wasn’t surprising that the judges gave him the nod by the scores 96-94, 96-94 and 96-94. Gonzalez was also beaten by Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in a 10 round majority decision loss in December of 2015.

Barrera made it a point in avenging Gonzalez’s loss to Shabranskyy by stopping the Ukrainian fighter in the 7th round on December 16 in their fight at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.

In that fight, Barrera knocked Shabranskyy down three times in dropping him in round 1, 5 & 7. Barrera was knocked down in round 2. It was a good fight. Barrera now wants to avenge Gonzalez’s defeat at the hands of Pascal, and he thinks that victory will get him the nod to fight the Ward vs. Kovalev 2 winner. It might not. Pascal doesn’t have the same cache that he once did in the boxing world since losing twice to Kovalev, as well as to the 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins in 2011.

Barrera said this to about wanting to fight the 34-year-old Pascal to avenge Yunieski Gonzalez’s loss to him:

“I knocked out Shabranskyy to get revenge for my friend [Gonzalez], and I will knock out Pascal too,” Barrera said. “We can fight anywhere in the United States. Hell, I would go to his [native] country of Haiti and fight him. I just want to get my hands on him.”
Pascal did not look particularly good in his fight against 33-yearpold journeyman Ramallo on December 16. Pascal got a 3rd round stoppage, but he didn’t look improved from his two knockout defeats at the hands of Kovalev.

Pascal hasn’t fought the Fountain of Youth anywhere to bring him back to the fighter he was seven years ago. Even in the prime of his career, Pascal was a flawed fighter. Carl Froch beat Pascal by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision in 2008. The only thing Froch did was fight hard for the full 12 rounds. Pascal fought well in the first quarter of the fight, but then gassed out in the last eight rounds to lose by the scores 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110.

Barrera lost to Andre Ward by a 12 round unanimous decision last March in Oakland, California. The scores were fairly wide with Ward winning by the scores 117-108, 119-109 and 117-109. That was Ward’s second fight back after missing two years of his career due to promotional problems. Barrera was too slow for Ward, and unable to fight him in close.

Barrera would throw shots from the outside, miss, and then fall forward into a clinch. Ward would wrap Barrera up after he would miss his shots to prevent him from doing anything on the inside. A rematch between them would likely be the same result.

Barrera is a pretty one-dimensional fighter, and he’s not going to be able to change his game enough for him to have a chance at beating Ward. For Barrera to beat Ward, he would need to learn how to fight on the inside, because he’s too slow to land his punches from the outside.

Ward will either block the shots or duck them, causing them to miss most of the time. Barrera doesn’t know how to fight on the inside though, and it would take too much time for him to learn. Beterbiev is higher ranked than Barrera, and I believe that the boxing public would much prefer to see him fighting Ward for his IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight titles than Barrera.

“I want a rematch with Ward or a fight with Kovalev, but I know they are fighting again so I can’t just sit around,” Barrera said. “Pascal needs to man up and fight me. If he beats me, he can get a Ward fight. If I beat him, I can get a Ward rematch or a Kovalev fight.”

Barrera would likely get a good payday if he fought Pascal. You can understand why Barrera would want that fight. Pascal is still popular in Canada despite his career starting to head downhill.

Instead of calling out Pascal, Barrera should be trying to get fights against the higher ranked contenders like Joe Smith Jr., Dmitry Bivol, Beterbiev, San Monaghan, Eric Skoglund, Dominic Boesel and Robert Stieglitz. Beating one of those guys would likely do more for Barrera than defeating Pascal, who is on the verge of slipping from the top 15 rankings altogether due to his defeats to Kovalev.

Lucian Bute fights Eleider Alvarez in WBC 175lb eliminator on February 24
The World Boxing Council has decided to have the February 24th fight between #1 WBC Eleider Alvarez (21-0, 10 KOs) and Lucian Bute (32-3-1, 25 KOs) as a WBC light heavyweight title eliminator when the two fighters face each other at the Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Quebec.

The winner of the fight will be the mandatory to WBC light heavyweight belt hold Adonis Stevenson. Bute, 36, has had some bad luck in four of his last six fights. He was beaten by Car Froch, Jean Pascal and James DeGale. Bute’s last fight against WBC World super middleweight champion Badou Jack resulted in a 12 round draw last April. Bute fought well enough to win the fight in the minds of a lot of boxing fans, but the judges that worked the contest saw it as a draw.

“Alvarez is a great challenge. We are going to have an exacting eliminator against him, in order to face Stevenson for the WBC championship,” said Bute via Fight News. “It is an honor and a privilege to fight with Alvarez and if I defeat him I will probably go for the championship with Stevenson, which is my golden dream.”

Alvarez, 32, isn’t much of a puncher, so Bute has a very good chance of winning this fight as long as he stays off the ropes and throws enough punches. Bute’s downfall in his loss to Carl Froch in 2012 was fighting off the ropes. Froch teed off on Bute once he backed up against the ropes, and this led to the fight being halted in the 5th. In Bute’s 12 round unanimous loss to Pascal in 2014, he fought timidly by failing to throw punches. This made it easy for Pascal to win the fight by a one-sided 12 round decision.

Bute did not look mentally confident against Pascal. He had the appearance of a fighter who was afraid to get hit. Bute gave Pascal too much respect in the fight, and he lost whatever chance he had of winning by not throwing anything back at him. Bute was a lot busier in his 4th round knockout win over Andrea Di Luisa and his competitive 12 round unanimous decision loss to James DeGale last year in November 2015. Bute didn’t quite throw enough punches against DeGale in the second half of the match for him to lease the judges.

In Bute’s fight against Badou Jack, he threw a lot of shots and outworked the champion over 12 rounds. The judges didn’t give Bute the win due to them putting more weight on Jack’s harder shots. Still, the fight was scored a 12 round draw.

“I was already a champion at 168 pounds, but now I want to climb to the 175 pounds division. I’m in camp and in great shape,” said Bute.

If Bute can handle the punching power of Alvarez, which is far from devastating, then it’s quite possible that he’ll win this fight. Bute has the pedigree to win, and he seems to have reivented his career with his recent fights against James DeGale and Badou Jack, even though he failed to win the fights. Bute is a tough out for anyone at this point in his career with the changes he’s made with his fighting style. Bute has transformed himself from a single power shot type of fighter to a high volume puncher. That makes Bute very hard to deal with, because he’s throwing so many shots. Many of the punches he throws has mean intentions on them. Bute will throw a lot of punches with medium to low power, and then he’ll load up on a big shot and surprise his opponents. Alvarez might not be ready for that kind of fighter.

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