Boxing fans are pretty simple folks. We don’t ask for all that much, and often get less than that, and much less than we deserve, for the money we put out…
We want the best fighting the best, to see who is THE BEST.
The best in the 175 class is perceived to be Sergey Kovalev and the fans want to see him and Adonis Stevenson, who maintains he’s got Kryptonite-loaded gloves, and is the real Superman of the light heavyweight division, get it on.
But political divides keep that from occurring…and we all know what a dysfunctional cluster-eff the political realm is…Still we keep hope alive, refuse to fall into a mode of perma-cynicism, remain idealists accused at times of being naive, and wait for the impossible to happen.
It often does, just not on the time frame we desire…
On the subject of desire…Artur Beterbiev is a tantalizing prospect-contender, and boxing fans are eager to see him step up to higher-grade competition, see if his reality meets our perceptions and expectations. Possible star is what we see, now we need confirmation…
The IBF appraises him highly; they have him slotted as No. 2 in their rankings. Cuban-born Sullivan Barrera is the IBF No. 8. That sanctioning body has proposed an elimination bout between Beterbiev and Barrera, with the winner to get to the top of the heap and be graced with an opportunity to challenge the IBF top dog. That dog is no mutt, it’s Sergey Kovalev. He will fight TBA end of November, in Russia, so it would be end of first quarter 2016, probably, before this proposed IBF eliminator truly solidifies into a most-meaningful deal.
Here is the release which went out from Beterbiev’s promoter regarding the proposed Beterbiev-Barrera tangle.
I also reached out to Barrera’s promoter, Kathy Duva, to get her side on the matter. You’ll note that promoter Michel implies that this purse bid is something of a meaningless exercise, being that he understands the Cuban wouldn’t be allowed to enter Canada. Duva’s response follow this release:
MONTRÉAL (September 23, 2015) – A purse bid will take place October 5 at the chief office of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) in Springfield, New Jersey, for the IBF light heavyweight elimination fight between the IBF No. 2 and No. 8 contenders, respectively, Montreal’s Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs) and Cuban Sullivan Barrera (16-0, 11 KOs).
Under IBF rules, the minimum bid is $100,000 for this bout. Beterbiev will receive 75-percent of the purse bid to Barrera’s 25-percent, since the two-time Russian Olympian is the highest ranked contender, in addition to him already having won an IBF eliminator to earn his No. 2 spot.
“It is somewhat deceiving that we have to go to the purse bid,” said Beterbiev’s promoter, GYM president Yvon Michel. “According to Barrera’s promoter (Kathy Duva, Main Events), he cannot enter Canada. Should GYM win the purse bid and then Barrera is unable to fight in Canada, we will have to start the process all over again.”
Whether Barrera will be there or not, Beterbiev will see action soon.
“We intend to win the purse bid and give Artur a fight in Quebec, in November, regardless of the opponent,” Michel added.
And here is the Kathy Duva response:
“Sullivan Barrera has an immigration issue ?that we didn’t know about,” she told me. “We have found a lawyer for him who will be able to get it resolved within six months. But we don’t know exactly how long it will be before Sullivan, a Cuban defector, gets his US passport.
“Yvon Michel made a very good offer to put the eliminator in Canada,” she continued. “I explained to him that Sullivan may not be able to get into Canada by November and asked him to either ask the IBF to give us more time to stage the fight once Barrera gets his US passport or see if they could put the fight in the US. After all, I think that Beterbiev’s last two fights were in the US, right?
“Unfortunately, Yvon refused and said that if I didn’t agree to withdraw Sullivan from the eliminator that he would call for a purse bid. And he did.”
So, where does Main Events stand on the matter now?
“At this point, I am just trying to buy a little more time in the hope that Sullivan’s lawyer ?can come up with a miracle. Also, the show in Canada has not yet been officially announced and the intended main event–Lucian Bute vs. James DeGale–still hasn’t been made. So there is always the slight chance that the whole show falls through and Beterbiev ends up fighting next in the US after all.
“It’s a shame. It’s a great fight and Sullivan and Main Events really want to make it happen. The IBF ordered a 75-25 split in Beterbiev’s favor, so there is little chance that we can win a bid and bring the fight to the US. However, as I said, I’m just trying to buy a bit more time for Barrera’s new lawyer in the hope that we can somehow salvage Sullivan’s opportunity,” said Duva, in closing.