Sergey Kovalev to face Sullivan Barrera on April 25 on DAZN
By Dan Ambrose: Sergey Kovalev will be fighting next month against Sullivan Barrera on April 25 on DAZN at the Fantasy Springs in Indio, California. The fight will be at a catchweight of 180 lbs, according to Chris Mannix. If Kovalev wins, then he’ll return to 175 for a big fight if one is available for him.
The way Kovalev looked in his last fight, he’ll be lucky if finishes the fight with on his feet.
In the co-feature bout, Patrick Teixeira will be making a defense of his WBO 154-lb title against his mandatory Brian Castano. It’s a great card. Mike Coppinger broke the story.
This will be a tough one for Kovalev, as Barrera has a solid chin, and he punches well with both hands. When Barrera does occasionally lose, it’s against skilled fighters. Barrera’s three career losses have come against Andre Ward, Dmitry Bivol and Jesse Hart.
Sergey Kovalev will need to be 100% to beat Barrera
Kovalev was supposed to be moving up to cruiserweight, but it looks like he may have changed his mind. With the 36-year-old Kovalev’s punch resistance and stamina issues, fighting at cruiserweight would be a bad idea.
Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) is coming off of an 11th round knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez on November 2. There are still fans shaking their head wondering what happened to Kovalev that night. He looked like fighting one-quarter power against Canelo, and that’s one of the reasons why a lot of people were crying “FIX”.
They had never seen Kovalev look so weak. If Kovalev looks the same way against Barrera on April 25, then that’s a sign that he needs to move up cruiserweight.
Sources tell The Athletic that Sergey Kovalev and Sullivan Barrera have a deal to fight April 25 at Fantasy Springs in Indio, Calif., in a DAZN main event. Patrick Teixeira will defend his title vs. Brian Castano in the co-feature. Kovalev’s first fight since KO loss to Canelo
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) March 4, 2020
Kovalev will be potentially putting his career on the line against Barrera, as he’s someone that he cannot afford to lose to. If Kovalev loses, the only thing he can really do is move up to cruiserweight and go after WBC champion Ilunga Makabu.
He’s seen as the easy mark among the champions at cruiserweight in the eyes of a lot of fans. Kovalev wouldn’t need to worry about Oleksander Usyk or Murat Gassiev, as both of those guys now fight at heavyweight. Still, there are excellent fighters in the division that would give Kovalev problems.
Kovalev has slipped since 2016
From 2013 to 2016, Kovalev was considered the #1 light heavyweight in the division in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. Kovalev was brought down to earth by Andre Ward in a controversial 12 round unanimous decision defeat in November 2016.
A lot of fans had Kovalev winning that fight. In the Ward-Kovalev rematch in June 2017, Ward shocking stopped Kovalev in the 8th round. Some believe that Ward hit Kovalev with low blows, but it didn’t matter. Ward had already stunned Kovalev with a headshot moments before, and he very likely would have knocked him out regardless.
#13 WBC Barrera has lost 2 out of his last 4 fights since 2018, and he’s slipped down in the rankings at 175. He’s in the same situation Kovalev is in with his career, and he can’t afford to lose either.
Another loss for Barrera and he’ll be out of the top 15. Unlike some fighters, Barrera can’t move down in weight to try and reinvent himself at 168, because he’s a big light heavyweight. Draining down to 168 is likely out of the question for him.
Patrick Teixeira vs. Brian Castano in 50-50 fight
Teixeira (31-2, 22 KOs) vs. Castano (16-0-1, 12 KOs) shapes up to be an excellent contest. This fight is a toss-up. Both guys are brawlers with excellent power. Castano is still unbeaten, and he’s going to be a real problem for Teixeira. This is a 50-50 match.
The Brazilian Teixeira, 29, recently beat Carlos Adames by a close 12 round unanimous decision on November 30 to win the vacant interim WBO junior middleweight title.
This is the belt that Jaime Munguia relinquished when he decided to move up in weight to 160. It’s a good thing that Munguia did move up in weight because he would have had a lot of problems trying to defeat Teixeira or Castano.
Former WBA junior middleweight champion Castano, 30, fought to a 12 round draw against Erislandy Lara in March of last year. Castano vacated the WBA belt and then defeated Wale Omotoso by a fifth-round stoppage in his last fight in November.
Castano’s best wins in his eight-year career have come against these fighters:
- Michel Soro
- Cedric Vitu
- Wale Omotoso
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