Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (17-1 12 KOs) is not a happy camper. When he signed up to go into the lion’s den and face Andre Ward on his home turf this past March, not in his wildest dreams did he expect to still be on the shelf seven months later.
It isn’t like the 34-year-old has turned down fights either. He has accepted fights against a Who’s Who list of the top light heavyweights, only for all of the fights to fall apart one by one for reasons that Barrera can’t comprehend.
“We were offered the fight against (Artur) Beterbiev and we said yes and obtained permission to travel to Canada. Unfortunately Canada denied our entry so to save the fight we said that we would take half the purse to have the fight in the United States and they turned our offer down,” Barrera stated.
“We also were offered Oleksandr Gvodsyk and then 2 days later (Isaac) Chilemba ended up getting the fight. We were offered (Bernard) Hopkins but nothing ever materialized and then most recently we were offered (Slava) Shabranskyy and again nothing is happening.”
With nothing on the table, Barrera and his team have elected to take a stay busy fight at home in Miami on November 11th on a local card. The bout will be his first under the guidance of his new trainer Derik Santos, who he has been working with the past several months. Barrera is practically fighting for free with his manager paying his opponent’s purse.
The former Cuban amateur standout is a gym rat and stays in shape year round. Prior to the loss to Ward, he had stopped his previous six opponents. With his fan friendly style and high ranking (#4 by the WBA, #8 by the IBF and #12 by the WBC), Barrera is shocked that his promoter Main Events hasn’t been able to secure a meaningful fight and that his manager has to keep him busy.
“I’m frustrated because as a boxer it’s tough to stay afloat. I’ve been training since two weeks after my last fight in March and I thought that I gave Ward some trouble but I admit that he was superior and I must learn from that but overall I would have thought more opportunities would have opened up from that fight. Right now I have absolutely no offers. My promoter claims to be working on something but nothing ever materializes so I am not sure what is going on,” lamented Barrera.
“I’m disappointed. I feel like my talent is being wasted. My promoter Main Events has repeatedly stated they are working on something meaningful but so far nothing is happening. I am thankful though that my manager was able to come up with a fight to help keep me busy.”