Sullivan Barrera, one of the many Cuban boxers who has defected from the island is liked by many for his aggressive boxing style, one that not many from his country have.
In the recent month, the Cuban boxing style has been criticized, for being—too technical. It may seem odd to many, but most fight fans like action-packed fighting with blood flying onto the canvas or better yet, the aggressive style Mexican fighters are known for.
“The way I fight, I’m aggressive and I go forward. The people like that and they call it entertaining and that’s what attracts people to me,” Barrera said this is also what has brought him a lot of support, especially on social media where he interacts with his fans.
Respect the fight
Barrera has an almost perfect record of 21-1 and who has been ranked as the third best in his weight class feels his abilities are underestimated.
Future Hall of Famer Andre Ward gave Barrera his first lost. Barrera said even though he lost that fight he has shown to be one of the best boxers in his division.
“I think I haven’t earned the respect I deserve,” Barrera said, “I have earned the opportunity to fight for titles.”
Barrera was offered the shot to face Sergey Kovalev, but he decided not to take the fight because of the low pay.
When I asked Barrera if he regrets not taking the fight he said no because even when he was offered to fight Kovalev again after the first offer, the payday would have been even lower than the first. He said taking the fight with Bivol was the way to go because it was where the real test was.
Tough loss under the bright lights
Barrera faced the Russian boxer, Dmitry Bivol on Saturday who has a perfect record of 13 wins. The Cuban was knocked down in the last round. Bivol landed 243 of his punches, while Barrera only made contact 75 times. Barrera admitted Bivol must have realized it was an off night for Barrera and that’s why he stepped on the gas the last minutes of the 12th round.
Barrera said he felt weak in the last rounds, but nothing justifies his performance in Madison Square Garden. But the boxer said he did do one thing different before this fight and feels that may have been a factor in the night’s result—an Epson salt bath on Friday afternoon.
“I couldn’t keep my hands up, I couldn’t control my body,” Barrera said.
Even though it wasn’t his best night, he still insist this was the right fight to take.
“I could tell you what I felt inside. I couldn’t make combinations and I couldn’t control my hands. Where was Sullivan’s uppercut that everyone likes?” the boxer said about the fight.
Less than 3 days after the fight, Barrera watched the film but said it would be the last time for now.
The fighter feels who could have kept fighting, but considers the referee made the right decision.
“It wasn’t the Sullivan I am. I have been in this sport for many years, I know how it works. I know a lot of people is going to think there’s no Sullivan they knocked him down, but it’s not like that I’m coming back. I’m going to keep proving what I’m capable of and I’m going to fight again and win my place and I will face Bivol again,” said Barrera.
Barrera said he went 200 percent at his training camp and again he said taking that bath that he took to help him with his soreness was all he did differently before this fight.
This was a key fight for Barrera and this loss was a tough one, yet he said his first loss against undefeated Ward was his most significant fight. Even though Ward is the better fighter, he still couldn’t knock him down the way Bivol did.
Seeking a rematch
Barrera said the results could have been different if he would have entered the fight under different circumstances.
“If Sullivan would have been there Saturday the way the real Sullivan is, I’m completely sure Bivol wouldn’t have made it to the 12th round with the power he had,” Barrera said.
In the 7th round, Brrera got to his corner and told them he didn’t feel good. But like a good and motivating trainer, Derick Santos told him “in this corner, I don’t want any negativity.”
“I’m not going to tell you in the next one I’ll work harder, but in the next one I will do things differently,” Barrera said.
Being 36 years old is a factor many have said could affect his opportunities in the next months, but he says the people are wrong.
“To the people that support me from the heart, I owe it to them. … I”m not going to hold back, I’m going to keep working and getting better…I still have spirit and strength and I can keep going forward,” said the passionate boxer.
Just like that, Sullivan Barrera felt very confident to say he still wants a rematch with Bivol.