Sullivan Barrera won’t get his desired showdown with Sergey Kovalev, but ESPN reports that he’ll join the former champ in Madison Square Garden next month against Dominican finisher Felix Valera.
Barrera (20-1, 14 KO) has spent the last year-and-a-half making Andre Ward’s win over him look better and better. He tore up headliner Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in his first fight back, then took out Paul Parker and Joe Smith Jr. despite suffering an early knockdown against the latter.
Valera (15-1, 13 KO) didn’t fight anyone with a winning record until his eleventh pro fight and came up well short against Dmitry Bivol last year, although he did last the distance before giving up his interim WBA title. He’s not yet 30, so a great leap forward isn’t entirely out of the picture, but he looks like fodder for “Sully B.”
This will, hopefully, lead to the winner of this facing the winner of the main event. Barrera vs. Kovalev is the ideal outcome, of course, but if Shabranskyy can handle a slugger like “The Krusher,” I’d be glad to see him take on Barrera again.