Light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (20-1, 14 KOs) was hoping to land a big fight in the fall.
He was presented with the opportunity to face former unified champion Sergey Kovalev in the main event of an HBO televised card on November 25 from the Theatre in New York's Madison Square Garden. Barrera had been gunning for the opportunity to face Kovalev since last year.
Barrera and Kovalev are promotional stablemates under New Jersey based Main Events.
According to Barrera, the terms for the fight were underwhelming.
While Barrera was not overwhelmed by the financial package to face Kovalev, he was willing to take the contest if a guarantee was extended for a much bigger payday in his next fight - provided he beat Kovalev.
When Barrera was unable to secure that guarantee, he walked away from the fight.
Kovalev, who was last seen in the ring in June when he was stopped by Andre Ward, will now face Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. Barrera bounced back from his first career defeat at the hands of Ward by knocking Shabranskyy out last year. He also stopped Paul Parker and dominated Joe Smith a few months back.
“I was offered the fight with Kovalev, but it wasn’t for a title. They offered me no money—they said $300,000 first, but I said, ‘I’ll take the fight, but if I win you need to guarantee me another fight for more money.’ They weren’t interested in this. So I said, ‘No title, no money—I’d better wait for a title fight, because I know I’m next in the rankings for a title,'" Barrera told Boxing News.
"I took Shabranskyy [in December 2016] for no money. I took Smith Jr. [in July 2017] for no money. I think I showed people with those wins that I’m a good boxer. I just want to be paid fairly. Boxing is my job.”