Sullivan Barrera is not taking any chances when he faces Dmitry Bivol for the WBA light heavyweight title at Madison Square Garden on March 3 and will lean on lessons learned from past fights and a nutritionist to get him in the best physical and mental state as possible.
Barrera spoke to Fightful and said he has been preparing for this fight a little bit differently given the stakes of the fight. Barrera hired the services of former world champion Chris Algieri, whom both have been trained by the same trainer, as a nutritionist and said he is feeling great and his weight is at a solid point with three weeks remaining before the fight.
"We called him up to help me with the diet and so far he’s been great and the diet has been working at 100 percent. We’re good on the weight at this point. This is the most important fight of my life and that’s why I made this decision to bring in Chris as part of our group. My focus is on this fight for now," Barrera said.
Even though Barrera will be fighting for his first world title, this upcoming bout against Bivol isn't the first big fight Barrera has had in his career. Back in 2016, Barrera faced Andre Ward and Barrera was knocked down for the second time in his pro career and soundly beaten by Ward. The loss was Barrera's first and only pro loss, but Barrera said he has learned from that loss and that he is a different fighter from before fighting Ward.
"When I faced Andre Ward, I only had about 17 fights and in about 13 of those 17 fights, I didn’t face a name fighter. Now, I’m definitely more of a name fighter who’s faced a guy like Andre Ward, you start to learn to take the positives from fights such as these. I can have all the talent in the world but the important thing is to learn from each fight and get better each time out," Barrera said.
Regarding Barrera's first world title challenge, Barrera said he won't predict a knockout or anything like that, but did say he's preparing for a war and will have fun with the fight.
"Like I’ve said in the past, one thing I’ve learned from fighting Andre Ward is that when you go into the ring, you go out and have fun. Since that fight, I’ve kept trying to have fun and I’m going to enjoy myself heading to that ring on March 3. I won’t try to look for the knockout, but if it comes, that’s great, but I’m preparing myself to go 12 rounds and fight a war," Barrera said.
Bivol vs. Barrera will be the co-main event to the HBO card at Madison Square Garden on March 3 with Sergey Kovalev vs. Igor Mikhalkin for the WBO light heavyweight title as the main event.
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