The IBF has scheduled an October 5 purse bid to hopefully put together a light heavyweight eliminator between Artur Beterbiev and Sullivan Barrera, with Barrera's team saying that Beterbiev has refused to fight in the United States.
"I am very sorry to hear that for some reason Artur Beterbiev isn't willing to fight me in the United States," Barrera said via press release. "The biggest fights are here and it's funny that his last fight was in the U.S. and yet he won't fight me here. I've been wanting a big fight for years and I am willing to fight Beterbiev knowing that the purse is in his favor 75/25."
Barrera (16-0, 11 KO), a Cuban fighter now based in Miami, adds that he has legal issues that would prevent him from fighting in Canada, where Russia's Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KO) is currently based.
"If I could travel to Canada I would but I have some legalities that my team is currently in the process of getting cleared up," he said. "Artur, you have fought in the U.S. Don't let your promoter block you from the fight that so many fans have been asking for. Let's give the fans what they want, a great fight and the winner gets the opportunity to make history."
The winner of a potential Beterbiev-Barrera fight would be in line for a shot at Sergey Kovalev and the IBF light heavyweight title. It's unlikely that Barrera's team will win a purse bid, as Beterbiev is backed by Al Haymon, which could potentially make a Kovalev-Beterbiev fight tough to get done, too. In other words, all of this is kind of weird and it's hard to figure how it may actually play out.
If Beterbiev's team win the purse bid as would be expected, and they make the fight in Canada, Barrera apparently can't actually do it, which amounts to him forfeiting his position in an eliminator bout. And even if that fight gets done, and Beterbiev were to win, can Kovalev-Beterbiev actually happen? Kovalev is with HBO, and while it's certainly not impossible to figure Beterbiev and Haymon signing up for that fight and letting it go forward on HBO as a mandatory title bout, given it would be good money for everyone, will Haymon want to do that? In other words, is this IBF eliminator even worth exploring given the way this entire scenario could play out, where one fight can't happen and the next probably won't?
Boxing is a fun sport.