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Barrera: Who Has Bivol Beat?; He Still Needs To Prove Himself

By Keith Idec

NEW YORK – Sullivan Barrera respects Dmitry Bivol, just like all of his other opponents.

Barrera believes, though, that Bivol still has plenty to prove to justify all of the hype accompanying the unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champion during his rise in the 175-pound division. The Cuban contender considers his resume much stronger than the Bivol’s record as a professional and he intends to prove his superiority Saturday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

The scheduled 12-rounder between Kyrgyzstan’s Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) and Miami’s Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) will open HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader at 10:05 p.m. ET.

dmitry-bivol (23)

“He’s 12-0 with who?,” Barrera said before a press conference Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. “Who he beat? Easy fights. Nobody punched back [at] him. I respect him. He’s a champion right now, but he needs to prove it Saturday night. He needs to beat Sullivan.”

Barrera, 36, and Bivol, 27, have one common opponent. Both boxers beat the Dominican Republic’s Felix Valera (15-2, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision.

Valera dropped Barrera in the first round of their November 25 fight at The Theater. Barrera recovered and easily out-boxed Valera in their 10-rounder to secure his shot at Bivol, for whom he is the WBA’s mandatory challenger.

In just his seventh pro bout, Bivol won a 12-round unanimous decision over Valera and took the WBA’s interim light heavyweight title from him in May 2016.

Bivol said Wednesday that Valera was the best opponent he has faced during a pro career that began in November 2014. Barrera has fought former pound-for-pound king Andre Ward (32-0, 16 KOs), the only fighter to beat Barrera, and beaten light heavyweight contenders Joe Smith Jr. (23-2, 19 KOs) and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-2, 16 KOs).

“I’m the biggest test for him,” Barrera said. “I told you – I respect him because he’s good, he’s young. But he don’t have this test before. He has 12 [wins] and 10 knockouts, but he didn’t have this test.”

The Bivol-Barrera winner is expected to eventually get a shot at WBO champion Sergey Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs). Kovalev is heavily favored to defeat fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs), the IBO champ, in HBO’s main event Saturday night.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by chrisJS on 03-05-2018

[QUOTE=j.razor;18539994]Still lying I see. Nelo vs lil g who you got? I got Nelo again.[/QUOTE] You gonna blame Canelo's PED test on GGG? Truly pathetic. If GGG failed a test like this you'd be all over him. Canelo is dirty.

Comment by chrisJS on 03-04-2018

[QUOTE=j.razor;18539994]Still lying I see. Nelo vs lil g who you got? I got Nelo again.[/QUOTE] I had Canelo by a close, controversial decision.

Comment by Chrismart on 03-04-2018

Good win for Bivol that and a good performance. While not the worst, that cut early on didn't seem to bother him at all.

Comment by j.razor on 03-04-2018

[QUOTE=DuckAdonis;18529887]If he didnt drop it it would have been a unification fight[/QUOTE] That's not what he said.

Comment by j.razor on 03-04-2018

[QUOTE=chrisJS;18529793]Wrong. I get most fights right. I was wrong this weekend on Estrada-Rungvisai but have a good record. I pick with my head not based on race. You are wrong most of the fights I've seen your pick on.[/QUOTE] Still…

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