Although he’s lost two of his last three bouts and is likely nearing the end of his career, 39-year-old Sullivan Barrera (22-3, 14 KOs) still has his sights set on becoming a world champion.
The 38-year-old Cuban came up short against Dmitry Bivol in a bid for the WBA Light Heavyweight title in 2018. He bounced back from that defeat with a victory over Sean Monaghan later that year but then suffered another defeat in 2019 against fellow former title challenger Jesse Hart.
While he’s had some rough moments in the ring over the last few years, 2020 was a difficult year for Barrera outside of the ring as it was for many boxers. Initially, he was scheduled to meet former champion Sergey Kovalev, but the bout ultimately fell through despite being postponed multiple times.
Because he could not land a fight in 2020, Barrera has been forced to take an extended period of time away from the ring. It hasn’t deterred his motivation, though. In fact, when he returns after two years away against former titleholder Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (41-0, 27 KOs) this Friday in Los Angeles on DAZN, Barrera will be fighting with hopes of one day winning a title serving as his primary motivation.
“We knew this opportunity could come,” Barrera told George Ebro (via Boxing Scene). “We know each other. When I was training in Big Bear with Abel Sanchez, we did sparring sessions. He comes forward, and that will make the fight more comfortable for me.
“[The sport of boxing is] hard, but I still have that love, that interest, and that desire to be world champion. In beating Ramirez, I’m sure we’d go for a title fight. That remains the goal. After the COVID-19 thing, the fallout with the fight against Sergey Kovalev, I still stand my ground. The passion is still alive.”
Against Ramirez, a 30-year-old Mexican, Barrera will undoubtedly be facing a tough test. After all, Zurdo is a highly experienced former Super Middleweight champion with an impressive 41-0 record as a professional.
While Barrera is aware of what lies in front of him, he appears to be enjoying the process and seems to be excited by the fight. And regardless of the outcome, the Cuban is at peace with what he’s accomplished even though he still has goals he’d like to achieve.
“I still feel strong. I look forward to [the fight with Ramirez]. There are more chapters ahead. I am proud of what I have achieved. I came [here] when I was 27, but my career developed beyond 30. I’ve made money. The world knows who Sullivan Barrera is. I couldn’t be a world champion, but I’m proud.”