Big Bear Lake, CA: As IBF number one light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (17-0, 12 KOs) prepares for the biggest fight of his career against one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters, Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KOs), at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California which will be televised live on HBO, the 34-year old from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is calm, confident and ready for anything.
Barrera trains in Big Bear Lake, California with legendary trainer Abel Sanchez. Sanchez is best known for working with IBF, WBA and WBC Interim Middleweight World Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Sullivan has taken advantage of working with his prestigious coach and being surrounded by other elite boxers like Golovkin. He said, “Camp has been great. I feel great. I am ready to make history on March 26. The best advice I have received was from Gennady Golovkin who told me to work my speed and to fight intelligently. Abel Sanchez told me not lose my cool and to stay focused at all times.”
This advice has given Barrera the confidence he needs to face Ward, the former WBA & WBC Super Middleweight World Champion, as he makes the transition into the light heavyweight division.
According to Sullivan, “[Ward] is considered one of the top three or four fighters in the world. I admire him a lot. He is a great challenge. I love what he has done. I also consider myself one of the best talents in the world. This opportunity is something that will prove to the world that I am at the top. I think I am getting him at the right moment because he is moving up. This is the perfect fight for me to prepare for the future 175 pound fighters who are at the elite level.”
Sanchez believes Sullivan is ready for this challenge because he has been able to adapt Sullivan’s Cuban skills with Abel’s approach to create an entirely unique style. Explained Sanchez, “Sullivan has a style that is partly from the Cuban school and partly from my school. The attacking style that he has now is because of some of the things that we practice in the gym. It’s just a matter of going at Andre and taking what he gives us. I wasn’t trying to change his Cuban style, what I was trying to do is make him a little more aggressive. I wanted to make him stick out his punches a little more and have better balance. I wanted a little better positioning and technique with his legs. By adding the two styles together it gives us more opportunity for him to do what he has to do.”
This unique style has given Sullivan the confidence he needs as he prepares to face Ward. He said, “If I have to box, I will box. If I have to attack him, I will attack him but I will be ready for anything as the fight goes on. I, like everyone else, recognize that Andre is a great boxer. I, too, am a great boxer. The only thing that is missing in my resume is that I haven’t had the opportunity. I think this is the opportunity for me to prove that I am just as good.
Ward vs. Barrera, a 12-round IBF number one position and mandatory position eliminator which is presented by Roc Nation Sports in association with Main Events, takes place Saturday, March 26, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The event is sponsored by Corona Extra, Ticketmaster, Corporate Travel Management Solutions (ctms), Glad, Lyft, Zappos, BodyArmor, SAN Nutrition, Shoe Palace, The Waterfront Hotel and Visit Oakland. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT. Opening the HBO telecast will be Joseph Diaz Jr. vs. Jayson Velez in a 10-round fight for the NABF Featherweight title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Miguel Cotto Promotions.