It wasn’t the prettiest win you’ll ever see, but Cuban light heavyweight Sullivan Barrera stayed in contention at 175 pounds, and could be up next for WBA titleholder Dmitry Bivol after a win over Felix Valera on HBO.
Barrera (21-1, 14 KO) won a foul-filled fight that had two first round knockdowns and a total of four points deducted on low blows, on scores of 98-88, 97-90, and 97-89. BLH had the fight 97-89 and 98-90 on two cards.
For the second straight fight, both wins for him, Barrera, 35, found himself on the canvas in the opening round, the result of a cracking left hook from Valera (15-2, 13 KO). But Barrera came back to drop Valera at the very end of the opening frame, too.
The fight was mostly notable as it went along for a series of low blows from the 29-year-old Dominican, Valera, who first strayed low in the second round, and then lost points for low blows in the third, sixth, and eighth rounds.
In the ninth, Barrera dished one back, and lost a point himself.
Barrera really took control starting around the sixth, and more than earned the wide victory. Valera was tough and not easy to deal with, but Barrera was clearly the better fighter.
If Bivol (12-0, 10 KO) is next for Barrera, that’ll be a really interesting matchup between a rising star and a very solid, very strong veteran fighter who is on a good run right now.