By William Trillo
The first time I met light heavyweight Sullivan Barrera, (18-1, 13 KO’s), I was on assignment in Big Bear to interview a triple initialed middleweight of some repute. During my time with the team I couldn’t help but notice the charismatic Barrera as he quietly made his presence known. I asked him his name and told him I was going to be keeping an eye on him and that I expected him to become a popular fighter.
After our brief meeting Barrera went on to face the likes of Jeff Lacy to Andre Ward. I was fortunate enough to be ringside for his fights against Hakim Zoulikha and Karo Murat. Apart from the decision loss to Ward, Barrera KO’d the rest of his opposition in slick fashion.
In his “what have you done for me lately” fight Barrera took on the highly touted and undefeated Vyacheslav Shabranskyy who sported 14 KO’s in his 17 fight career. In a fight of the year type battle Barrera and Shabranskyy both hit the deck before Barrera put the beat down on Shabranskyy stopping him inside of 7.
After a myriad of problems and finally a cancellation of a huge fight with Artur Beterbiev we will see Barrera step into the ring this weekend on HBO Latino against Paul “Pay-Per-View” Parker, (8 -1,4 KO’s), in a scheduled 10 round affair.
I recently spoke to Sullivan about all the afore mentioned topics in an exclusive interview this week.
Pound4Pound: Let’s start with the basics, tell us about your training camp and preparation.
Sullivan Barrera: It’s been a long training camp. We were supposed to fight someone else, (Artur Beterbiev), and now we got Paul Parker. I have made the necessary changes and am ready to give the fans a good show on April 15th.
P4P: How did you prepare yourself mentally after the Beterbiev fiasco?
SB: I feel fine. I adapted to the situation and have put in the proper work for my new opponent. I am just glad to be getting back into the ring. I understand the boxing business so I am prepared in my mind for these situations. And as I said… at the end of the day I am just happy to get back to taking care of my business in the ring.
P4P: A couple of these guys who want no part of you now reside in Montreal and are promoted up there, that being Beterbiev and Jean Pascal. Can we assume that is just a coincidence?
SB: I don’t know what’s happening, but it’s weird. So I’m just ready to move on.
P4P: Tell me what you know about Paul Parker.
SB: I have seen a few of his fights, the most recent being the fight against Thompson. He is a tall guy with good range and skill. I have worked on some things I can bring into the ring to defeat him. I respect all fighters who step into the ring but come April 15th I am going to show that I am ready for bigger and better things.
P4P: You both have a like opponent in Shabranskyy. I knew Shabranskyy had no chance against you and we saw what you did to him with that big victory. On the flip-side, Parker was KO’d by Shabranskyy. Can we take anything from those very different results as we look to this fight?
SB: With me, Shabranskyy came out way too confident and he took me lightly. It’s my experience that when you step into the ring with anyone with two hands it’s a huge mistake to take them lightly. My experience showed all my hard work in the gym paid off that night.
P4P: What are your goals in 2017? What direction are you going to take with your career and when do expect to get another shot at a title?
SB: You know that right now all my focus is on this fight against Parker on April 15th. But I am looking at my next hurdle to be Joe Smith Jr. I must defeat Paul Parker, then we can talk about Joe Smith Jr.
P4P: Do you look at the Kovalev vs. Ward rematch and hope you might get the winner of that fight sometime in the future?
SB: Yes of course. I would love to get a rematch with Ward and obviously, I would want to have a fight in the future with Kovalev.
P4P: You have been in the news quite a lot as of late. First there was the great victory over Shabransky and then the ugly situation with the Beterbiev mess. A lot of us don’t have a grasp on what transpired in that situation other than the fight fell out. That being said, outside of what has been written, what do you want the boxing fans to know about Sullivan Barrera that we don’t know yet?
SB: Ever since I fought Karo Murat I maintained my goal of what I wanted when I came to America, and that is to remain on my path to get to a world title. I am ready to fight anyone. I had no fear when the Andre Ward fight presented itself and I took it. Likewise, when the opportunity came to fight Shabranskyy I took it without a problem. You know Shabranskyy was supposed to be the next “Kovalev” but I was never afraid of him, or anyone. Unfortunately, with the whole Beterbiev situation…well it was a big fight but the way some of the things was presented to me, the contracts etc. was weird. You know with these fights a proper training camp needs to be set up. But there were three different dates at one point, then there were contracts submitted that if the investors backed out then the dates and/or venues could change. It was like they were purposely doing everything they could to get me to say no to the fight. But, at the end of the day I am ready and willing to fight anybody! Anything that is going to help me advance to a title in my career, I am willing to do it.
P4P: Last but not least, would you like to make a prediction or let the fans know what they can expect to see from you against Parker this weekend?
SB: One of the biggest things I have learned, and I learned this in the Andre Ward fight, that with a knockout you have to be patient and let it come. I was so anxious to get ahold of Ward that night and my game plan just went out the window. My main objective in this fight is to execute the things we have worked on in the gym and give the fans in attendance and the TV audience a performance that will make them want to see me in the ring again.
Sullivan Barrera vs. Paul Parker is a 10-round light heavyweight bout presented by Main Events and Mohegan Sun as part of the Mohegan Sun’s Rising Stars Boxing Series. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. ET. The HBO Latino Boxing telecast begins at 11:00 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT) with a ten-round middleweight match-up between Arif “The Predator” Magomedov and Elias “Latin Kid” Espadas. Tickets, which are priced at $50 and $75, are available now through Ticketmaster, the Mohegan Sun box office or the Main Events’ office. The card is presented by Main Events in association with Shamo Boxing and A&T Events and Promotions.
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