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Beterbiev’s promoter wins purse bid for Barrera fight

Artur Beterbiev boxing photo

By Allan Fox: Yvon Michel, the promoter for unbeaten #2 IBF light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs), has reportedly won a purse bid for his IBF eliminator fight against Sullivan Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs). Michel won the purse bid on Thursday with a winning bid of 251,000, which isn’t a whole lot considering how talented the 31-year-old Beterbiev is. Barrera’s promoters at Main Events had the second highest bid at $181,000.

The split for the Beterbiev-Barrera fight will be 75/25, which means Beterbiev will be getting $188,250. Just how much Beterbiev will end up with after taxes and training expenses is the big question.

It might end up being considerably less than the $188,250. The date for the Beterbiev-Barrera fight is expected to be in March or April, according to Michel. The venue for the fight will be in New York.

The winner of the Beterbiev vs. Barrera fight will be the mandatory challenger to IBF light heavyweight champion Andre Ward. That doesn’t mean that the Beterbiev-Barrera winner will necessarily wind up facing Ward, because there’s a chance that Ward will lose his title if he faces Sergey Kovalev in a rematch or he could choose to vacate or retire.

With Ward there are a number of things that could cause him to lose his title long before he ever has to fight the winner of the Beterbiev vs. Barrera fight. But someone will likely fight the winner of the Beterbiev-Barrera fight unless the International Boxing Federation chooses to just give their IBF 175lb title to the winner of the fight. That could happen too.

“We have 15 days to decide the exact date and place,” Michel said to Dan Rafael at espn.com. “We have to see where that will fit best, and we also need the time to properly advertise it because this match has all the ingredients for a great fight. Our wish is to bring that fight to the USA to enhance Artur Beterbiev’s exposure.”

It makes sense for the fight to be in the U.S, because Beterbiev is already becoming a big name in that country with his knockouts. Only one of Beterbiev’s fights during his 11-fight pro career has taken place in the U.S, and that was his fight against Alexander “Woody” Johnson on June 12, 2015. That fight took place at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. However, many of Beterbiev’s fights since he turned pro in 2013 have been televised in the U.S., so the American boxing fans have had exposure to his fights.

Beterbiev’s last two fights against Isidro Ranoni Prieto and Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna attracted a lot of attention from the fans. The quick knockout of Prieto in the 1st round by Beterbiev last December really did a lot to gain a lot of boxing fans to the Russian fighter.

Barrera, 34, lost to Andre Ward by a 12 round unanimous decision last March in Oakland, California. After that loss, Barrera was seen by a lot of fans as an average fighter that lacked the talent to do much in the division. However, Barrera turned things around with his career in stopping the hard hitting Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in the 7th round on December 16 at the Fantasy Springs Casino, in Indio, California.

That was a very good performance by Barrera, as he knocked down the previously unbeaten 31-year-old Shabranskyy (17-1, 14 KOs) three times before stopping him in round 7. Barrera looked a lot better than Shabranskyy. However, Barrera was down once in the fight in getting dropped in round 2, but he was able to get up and continue to punish the Ukrainian fighter with powerful overhand rights to the head.

“He has fought much tougher opposition that Beterbiev has,” said Barrera’s promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events to ESPN.com. “Styles make fights and I think he has the style to beat him. I know he’ll have the game plan to do it.”

Other than Barrera’s fights against Shabranskyy and Ward, I don’t see much on his resume to say that he’s fought tougher opposition than Beterbiev. I don’t think Shabranskyy is anywhere near as good as Beterbiev and I think Ward isn’t as good either. I see Beterbiev beating Ward if the two fought each other. Beterbiev has an inside game that makes him very dangerous for someone like Ward, who at this point in his career mainly wrestles to try and stifle his opponents. Beterbiev would do well against Ward’s style of fighting.

Beterbiev has past wins over former world champion Gabriel Campillo and Tavoris Cloud. It was impressive the way that Beterbiev was able to knockout both of those fighters with big power shots. They tried hard, but they couldn’t match-up with Beterbiev’s inside fighting skills, huge power, and accurate punching power.

Beterbiev is a bad match-up for Barrera. The two fighters were supposed to face each other 1 ½ years ago, but Beterbiev suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss an entire year of his career. He came back from surgery and a year- long layoff to defeat Maderna and Prieto in his last two fights. It’s as if Beterbiev was never away. If anything, Beterbiev looks better now than he was before he suffered the shoulder injury. He’s looking very good right now, and it’s hard to imagine Barrera being able to compete with him when the two of them eventually face each other.

You’ve got to respect Barrera for taking the risk to fight Beterbiev, because he didn’t have to do this. Barrera could have gone in another direction. But by taking this risk, Barrera is putting himself in position to get a quick rematch with Ward if he wins. I don’t know that Barrera will do any better against Ward than he did the previous time they fought each other, but he’ll get a big payday out of the fight. That’s the positive. But first Barrera needs to get past Beterbiev, which won’t be easy to do. Beterbiev is looking unbeatable right now. Barrera will need to raise his game considerably for him to have a chance of winning this fight.

Beterbiev vs. Barrera should be a great fight for boxing fans. It’ll be interesting to see how Barrera deals with the accurate punching and the superior inside game of Beterbiev. Barrera was able to nullify Ward’s inside wrestling with his strength, but Ward dominated him badly on the outside. Beterbiev is a good outside puncher as well, and he might be too much for Barrera to deal with. This fight could end quickly if Barrera can’t find an answer to the punching power of Beterbiev. It’s a good sign that Shabranskyy was able to knock Barrera down. If he was able to knock him down, then Beterbiev might be able to stop him.




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