By Elisinio Castillo
Light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera has come out swinging over rumors that he turned down a potential fight with WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.
The two fighters are slated to return on March 3, as part of a doubleheader at The Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York City.
In the main event, Kovalev will defend his title against IBO champion Igor Mikhalkin. And in the co-feature, Barrera will go after WBA champion Dmitry Bovil in a mandatory title fight.
Barrera says he was fully prepared to face Kovalev on the date - but he was offered a lowball sum of money for the contest.
He's angered at some of the comments being made by Kovalev's team.
According to sources in Barrera's team, the boxer was presented with an offer that was less than a previous offer to fight Kovalev last month.
"They do not care [about the truth], they want to supply trash and lies to people who do not know the boxing business, and they want to make me the bad guy in the story," Barrera told George Ebro.
Barrera says he worked very hard to earn a title shot at Bivol and was not going to walk away from that fight for a lowball figure.
Sources on his team indicate that he was offered $300,000, and then $400,000, plus two future options and the guarantee of a rematch with Kovalev for $600,000.
Both boxers are promoted by Main Events.
"I have faced very good opponents like Joe Smith, Felix Varela and Shabranskyy to win the mandatory position against a world champion. This mandatory position protects me from having to borrow money for the rest of my career. Win or lose, I do not want to be a slave to anyone," Barrera said.
And Barrera is holding his nose at Kovalev's upcoming fight.
"They want to make bad and poor fights, because they're not interested in the fans [and what they want]," said Barrera.
"The Kovalev-Mikhalkin fight is a joke. [Mikhalkin] ran from me when he had the chance to face me. But maybe they know that a guy like Mikhalkin is all that Kovalev can handle at this point."