By Michael Woods
Sullivan the Spoiler, that's what he wants to be.
Sullivan Barrera wants to wreck the best laid plans of Andre Ward, and all the other folks who are keen on seeing Sergey Kovalev issue a rude welcome to Ward at 175, in a fall faceoff.
The Cuban believes that Ward picked the wrong dude to engage in a weight class acclimator, and tgat will be apparent March 26 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, and on HBO.
Ward weighed in with a comment on a fight that has been rumored for more than a month.
“I don’t really have much to say other than this. On March 26, it will be very simple. I’ll be in a new weight class against a tough opponent but I’m coming with the same approach,” said Ward. “I’ll be in great shape and ready for battle. Sullivan Barrera has had a lot to say lately and I love it. He’s going to have an opportunity to back up every word that he has spoken. These are the type of challenges I like and on March 26, it’s go time.”
His manager James Prince offered a lightly menacing/paranoid-ish take on the scrap.
“I’m excited to be on Team Ward as we enter the light heavyweight division. No weapons formed against us shall prosper,” he said.
Barrera spoke of his role in this promotion, that of spoiler. By the way, his promoter is Main Events, same as Kovalev's, so if he throws a wrench into the machine, by winning, they'd be impacted.
“We as a team had a tough choice to make – crash the party by taking out Ward first or wait for the mandatory and take out Kovalev,” said Barrera. “We decided that the time is now. Ward will fall first and then we will go after the belts.”
His trainer Abel Sanchez talked about the tangle.
I asked Sanchez what he does to ready his guy to beat Ward.
Born in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was 285-27 as an amateur.
“The best I can do is prepare him to be the best Sullivan can be, if his best is not good enough, well we have work to do,” Sanchez said.
I think so highly of Ward's ability to remove your firing pin. Does Sanchez think he's the best defender in the game? Nah, Sanchez said. He thinks Floyd Mayweather is better at D, and so is Guillermo Rigondeaux. Is Ward No. 3? “If you go back and research CompuBox stats, I believe it is those two and GGG in third.”
Is there a fight that Sanchez can cite which shows weakness in Ward, something to build on? “When he was active, not many, it has been some time of inactivity, and the opposition has not been up to the par of when he was active, so we have to take him into a long physical fight, if he still has all those phenomenal skills hidden and we un-earth them, then we will be in for a great fight. We have to have a great training camp and great game plan for Sully, because I expect the great skills to be there and Ward to be the best we have seen lately on that night.”
MY TAKE: Ward will be the favorite, he is in any fight he takes. But Sully is 6-0 under trainer Sanchez and what if Ward is rust coated? Sully's wins with Abel are all by KO. Kid could be a live dog.