Cooper’s Corner: Bivol vs Barrera Preview

Bivol/Barrera is perhaps the best fight on a jam packed weekend 

I, like other boxing fans across the world, am all eagerly anticipating the action for this coming weekend. All eyes will be fixed firmly on the bright lights of New York City as two cards thunder on into town. It is going to be explosive, primarily because many of the combatants preparing to step into the squared circle are partial to throwing some really heavy artillery. While you could easily be forgiven for focusing a lot of your attention on a certain WBC Heavyweight Title fight. Don’t forget to pay a little mind and attention to the boxing mecca of Madison Square Garden.

If I can give you all one reason to tune into HBO on Saturday it is certainly not because of the main event. Last year pound for pound #1 Andre Ward decided to hang up his gloves, for the time being anyway. In doing so he vacated his titles and blew the division wide open. Whilst the vacancies for the belts Ward left behind have now being filled. It is the WBA Champion Dmitry Bivol, who could very well end up being the new king of the 175 pound division.

On Saturday night Bivol will face the first real test of his young career. Whilst he may have only had twelve professional fights thus far, he has left a path of destruction in his wake. Like his countryman Sergey Kovalev, Bivol’s offense is his defense. He starts fast, really fast. Thus far we have seen him rip through his opposition with very little questions being answered about just how far he can go. He’s faced guys in the division that can punch a bit, like Samuel Clarkson and Robert Berridge. We’ve also seen him beat Cedric Agnew who is not half bad from a technical standpoint. If one thing is for certain, we learned nothing about Bivol from his last fight other than he was able to punch Trent Broadhurst so hard his family felt it back in Australia!

Standing in his way on Saturday night will be a man that is no stranger to a world title fight, and will unequivocally provide Bivol with a true baptism of fire on the world stage. Barrera has bounced back well from his loss to Andre Ward in 2016. He handed Shabranskyy his first loss, brought Joe Smith Jr back to earth, and bested Felix Valera last time out. I liken Barrera’s boxing ability to be very ‘Jekyll and Hyde’. If he commits to his jab, he is very good a disturbing his opponents rhythm. Its certainly not the fastest you’ll see, but it is very accurate when used. He’s a very busy fighter, that carries some real power. But, Barrera can get very wild and can easily get drawn into a brawl if his opponent shows to be willing. He’s certainly shown he has a good chin, although Joe Smith Jr did knock him down last time out. If Barrera as any chance of winning he will have to stay focused throughout.

Make no mistake about it this a huge step up for Bivol and if he is the real deal we are going to find out on Saturday night. Sullivan Barrera is more than capable of showing us if he isn’t.

May the best man win.


By: Aaron Cooper 

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