What up world? It’s March 26th ,2016 according to the Corner Store calendar and if you look at the above fight poster you’ll see that supremely talented and former world champion pugilist Andre S.O.G. Ward will be facing off against little known Cuban boxer Sullivan “El Más Talentoso” Barrera.
Like I said , Ward is an elite talent , but Barrera’s nickname alludes to his confidence in his own skills. El Más Talentoso translates to “The Most Talented”. As I’ve become accustomed to do, if I don’t know much about a fighter that’s squaring off against someone I’m more familiar with I like to watch some of their previous fights to get a feel for what they’re bringing to the ring. Here is his most recent bout.
I’ve watched three of Barrera’s fights and what I saw made me say that he may not be the Most Talented fighter that I’ve ever seen, but he damn sure has the goods. His professional record is a bit misleading, because at 17-0 it would appear that he is a youngster with a padded record and very little experience.
On the contrary, Sullivan is 34 and like most Cuban born boxers he has an extensive amateur background with over 300 bouts to his credit. He also won the gold medal in the 2000 Jr Olympics in Budapest as a middle weight prior to turning pro in 2009.
From what I can tell Sullivan Barrera has a solid concept of punch placement and he throws a high volume of punches per round. He works the body consistently and effectively and he finishes his punches with a nice amount of pop. Basically, he has been coached well and he seems to know his way around the ring. He knows that fighting Ward will be a challenge on multiple fronts. I found this Barrera quote from boxingnews24.com
“Andre Ward has his name and I’m fighting in his hometown (Oakland,Ca.) so I have to have the knockout,” said Barrera to fightnews.com. “I would have to even if we were fighting in Las Vegas. More than anything, I am determined to overcome this challenge.”
El Más Talentoso hasn’t squared up with a fighter in Ward’s class so he’s taking a step up in competition level, but Ward has his own stepping up to do. This will be his first fight in the light heavyweight division. He’s coming up from his super middleweight class to fight against a true light heavyweight in Barrera that can box and punch. According to RingTv.com here’s what Ward had to say about the size difference.
“Though he may look bigger and may have bigger muscles, I think he’s going to realize that he’s not stronger,…And I think he’s going to have to deal with speed that he never dealt with before and conditioning that he never dealt with before so there are adjustments that are going to have to be made on both sides.”
We also can’t gloss over the fact that Ward has been extremely inactive over the last few years due to injuries and legal battles. Boxing is just as much a muscle memory sport as it is a mental chess game so ring rust can most definitely be a factor.
Looking at them standing next to each other at the official weigh-in face off Barrera is slightly taller and appears to be naturally bigger.
So what I’m saying is, don’t get it twisted and think that The Bay Area native Ward will have an easy tune up fight against a no name hot shot up and comer on his way to match up against heavy handed Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovolev. Just because you may not have heard of Sullivan Barrera don’t assume that a no name has no skill or no chance.
I believe that Ward is just too fast and skilled for Barrera and ultimately his talent will overshadow the talent of The Most Talented. Ward wont be a stationary target like Murat, Campbell, and Lacy were. I don’t think it will be a knock out like the legendary Benard Hopkins predicted, but I think Ward will come away with a hard earned W. Winning this bout decisively may or may not work out in Ward’s favor when it comes to a future match up against Genady “GGG” Golovkin. If Ward dominates Barrera and happens to beat Kovalev, then I don’t see GGG risking his zero loss record against a fighter that’s bigger and faster than him, and also put the hands on legit light heavyweights.
Andre “S.O.G.” Ward says he’s moving up in weight because he’s more concerned about being great than fake. He wants to be a multi divisional champ like Manny, Floyd, Jones Jr, Ray Robinson, Hitman Hearns, Ray Leonard etc. I’m looking forward to seeing if he can achieve this goal. As good as he is, it’s definitely not out of the question, but 1st he’ll have to get passed a hungry, skilled, powerful, crafty, nothing to lose attitude, Most Talented Cuban by the name of Sullivan Barrera.
12 is putting the Beer on ice 4 tonight.