Kubrat Pulev v Rydell Booker
On November 9, Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev (27-1, 14 KO’s) will return to ring action against Rydell “Rock-n-Rye” Booker (26-2, 13 KO’s). The two will collide on the undercard of Herring v Roach Jr and will air live on ESPN+.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
When Pulev slides through the ring ropes he will, be doing so in an attempt to smoothly resume his career. Earlier this year, the Bulgarian boxer got himself into a fair amount of hot water with a female media correspondent. During an interview with Jennifer Ravalo, the Cobra suddenly, and unexpectedly, grabbed Ravalo’s face and kissed her on the mouth.
The stolen kiss would lead to Ravalo securing high profile attorney Gloria Allred and launching a lawsuit against Pulev. When the dust had settled, Pulev was fined, suspended for six months and mandated to attend sexual harassment protocol training. At the current time, the fine has been paid, the training obtained and his six-month suspension has elapsed. Having satisfied all elements of his prescribed penance, the Cobra is ready to get back in the ring.
Despite his recent rocky road, Pulev is in an enviable position. This is due to his being rated #1 by the IBF. With this distinction, he is in a prime position to challenge for the strap currently being held by Andy “Destroyer” Ruiz Jr (33-1, 22 KO’s). Ruiz acquired the IBF, along with the WBA, WBO and IBO, when he upset Anthony “AJ” Joshua (22-1, 21 KO’s) on April 1. Ruiz and Joshua are scheduled to stage an immediate rematch on December 7 in Saudi Arabia.
SKIPPING TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE
Ahead of this bout, the IBF has already ruled that whoever the winner is must face Pulev no later than May 31, 2020. Perhaps in an effort to preserve his positioning, the Cobra has chosen to come back against what appears to be a soft touch.
The first notable highlight regarding Booker is the fact that he took a fourteen year hiatus from the sport! After dropping a unanimous decision loss to James “Lights Out” Toney (77-10-3, 47 KO’s) in 2004, Rock-n-Rye disappeared from boxing until 2018. Booker won his three return fights in 2018 against lower tier opposition.
2019 began with a unanimous decision loss to undefeated Jermaine “989 Assassin” Franklin (20-0, 13 KO’s), although Booker bounced back with a third round TKO over Dieuly Aristilde (9-10, 2 KO’s). Of Aristilde’s ten losses, nine have come by way of knockout. Now Booker finds himself in a fight with Pulev. Conventional wisdom would suggest that Pulev dominants this bout fairly easily. In this zany sport however, much stranger things have happened.
3kingsboxing will definitely keep an eye on this bout and Kubrat Pulev’s mission to get his IBF heavyweight title shot.
By: Bakari Simpson