It was a successful debut at the light heavyweight division for Philadelphia’s 🇺🇸Jesse Hart who earned a unanimous decision over tough veteran contender 🇨🇺Sullivan Barrera of Cuba.
By scores of 96-93, 97-92, 99-90 the 29 year old Hart (26-2-0, 21KO) quickly finds himself in the mix with the top dogs of the weight class like Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Artur Beterbiev, and Sergey Kovalev who are under the same Top Rank banner as Hart.
Referee Jay Nady was a presence early and often in this one, handing out continuous warnings for holding from the early rounds, and also ruled what appeared to be a legitimate knockdown for Hart in the fourth a slip, and what appeared to be a slip by Barrera a knockdown in the eighth.
If you have followed the career of the 37 year old Barrera (22-3-0, 14KO) it’s impossible to ignore that he really showed his age in this one. The usual heart and resiliency were still there coming back fighting from the knockdown and when hurt by Hart’s shots, but the punch output and overall aggression wasn’t what it used to be. It will be interesting to see what he chooses to do from this point on.
The win for Hart was definitive but not quite on par with who he will meet at the top tier of 175. Having Barrera significantly hurt and almost dead to rights in spots, he had problems closing the show and got wild when trying to land the kill shots.
“I don’t take nothing away from Sullivan Barrera, but I hurt my hand in the seventh round. I had one hand. My right hand was completely shot. After I hurt him and dropped him, I couldn’t really finish him. I take my hat off to him. He came to fight.”
“I think I’m a force to be reckoned with. If I had both my hands, I believe it would’ve went differently.” -Jesse Hart