by Victor Salazar
New York - There will be plenty of action for New York fight fans later tonight as two big cards go head to head on competing networks.
In Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Showtime will televise a massive heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KO’s) and Luis Ortiz (28-0-2 NC, 24 KO’s).
In Manhattan, Sergey Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KO’s) will take on Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KO’s) inside The Theatre at Madison Square Garden on HBO. On the undercard of the Kovalev-Mikhalkin, Cuban world title contender Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KO’s) attempts to dethrone WBA world champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KO’s).
Barrera, who has been linked for a Kovalev fight for quite some time, explained his reasoning for fighting Bivol and not Kovalev, even as the two share the same promoter, Main Events.
“The first fight with Kovalev before he fought Shabransky, the title was not on the line when the offer was made to us,” Barrera told BoxingScene.com.
“The second offer was less money and it did not make sense now that Kovalev had the title and other business things included, which at the moment we wanted to work on. That’s why we decided to go with Bivol.”
Should he best Bivol, he would be one of the rare Cubans with a world title in the heavier divisions. Fitting as his countrymen Luis Ortiz has the same opportunity on the same night and the same city as he tries to become a world champion at heavyweight.
Barrera is confident both he and Ortiz will make history on Saturday.
“On Saturday Luis Ortiz does the work he’s supposed to do and Sullivan Barrera does the work he’s supposed to do, and on Saturday we make history personally and for my country of Cuba who always supports us,” stated Barrera.
“Saturday we’ll have two new world champions, one at light heavyweight and one at heavyweight, both of us winning the title in New York City.”
As to why he’s picking Ortiz to win, it’s simple to Barrera.
“It’s a tough fight. Wilder has power but Ortiz is quick for a heavyweight. He had good moves and good defense. Its hard fight but I think Ortiz can win the fight.”