By Keith Idec
The third component of an HBO’s tripleheader has been finalized for November 25.
According to an ESPN.com story posted Thursday, Felix Valera has been secured as Sullivan Barrera’s opponent that night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The Cuban-born Barrera (20-1, 14 KOs) and the Dominican Republic’s Valera (15-1, 13 KOs) will square off in a 10-round light heavyweight fight in New York.
The 29-year-old Valera has lost only a 12-round unanimous decision to Dmitry Bivol in May 2016. Kyrgyzstan’s Bivol (11-0, 9 KOs) dropped Valera once apiece in the sixth and eighth rounds of that bout on his way to winning by big margins on all three scorecards in Moscow (119-107, 119-107, 116-111).
Bivol won the WBA interim light heavyweight championship from Valera, who will end an 11-month layoff when he battles Barrera. The 35-year-old Barrera beat Long Island’s Joe Smith Jr. (23-2, 19 KOs) by unanimous decision in his last fight, a 10-rounder July 15 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Barrera could’ve fought former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in the main event November 25, but the Miami-based contender wasn’t satisfied with the purse he was offered. Russia’s Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) instead will face Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs), who Barrera knocked out in the seventh round December 16 in Indio, California.
The third bout HBO will televise November 25 will match former WBA super featherweight champion Jason Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs), of Camden, New Jersey, against Mexico’s Robinson Castellanos (24-13, 14 KOs) in a 10-round, 130-pound fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.