By Dan Ambrose: Middleweight fringe contender Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs) turned down a world title shot against IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin for May 5, and instead he’ll take a much smaller money fight against little known welterweight Berlin Abreu (14-1, 11 KOs) on May 4th on ESPN on the undercard of the super featherweight contest between Golden Boy Promotions prospect Ryan Garcia (14-0, 13 KOs) and Jayson Velez (26-4-1, 18 KOs) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
#5 WBO, #9 WBA and #11 WBC ranked middleweight contender O’Sullivan is not young at 33-years-old, and for that reason it was difficult to understand why he would reject a title shot against Golovkin on May 5. You would think that O’Sullivan would have had a better payday in mind for him to turn down a fight against Golovkin, which would have given him a great deal of attention due to the popularity of the Kazakhstan fighter and the fact that the fight was taking place on the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo.
O’Sullivan would have become more recognizable overnight just by facing Golovkin. But instead of accepting the fight with Golovkin as the replacement opponent for Saul Canelo Alvarez, who had pulled out of the GGG fight, O’Sullivan is facing an obscure 26-year-old fighter from the Dominican Republic on May 4.
If O’Sullivan was following Golden Boy Promotions’ advice to him by rejecting the Golovkin fight, you’d have to hope that they at least are going to offer him a big paying future fight against their start Canelo Alvarez. If not, then O’Sullivan got some bad advice in turning down the Golovkin fight. Apparently, the money that O’Sullivan was going to get for the fight against Triple G wasn’t enough for him to agree to the title shot.
According to Dan Rafael, O’Sullivan would have still received a career payday for the Golovkin fight if he’d agreed to it. The Golovkin vs. O’Sullivan fight originally was going to be televised on HBO pay-per-view. If the fight had been on PPV, it would have given O’Sullivan a nice payday, but when the match was taken off PPV and moved to HBO World Championship Boxing, then that’s when O’Sullivan rejected the fight.
O’Sullivan still would have received a career high payday in facing Golovkin, and more money than he’ll be receiving for his fight on May 4 against Abreu. O’Sullivan would have made more money had the fight stayed on HBO PPV, but when it was moved to regular HBO, the offer was obviously reduced for him.
It looks bad for O’Sullivan to be taking on a little-known fighter picked from the welterweight division instead of taking a bigger payday against the middleweight division’s best fighter in Golovkin. Even though the money for O’Sullivan wouldn’t have been huge to fight Golovkin on regular HBO, it was still a world title shot and it would have been for more money than what he’s receiving for the Abreu fight.
The attention that O’Sullivan would have received in facing Golovkin in the main event on May 5th on HBO would have been priceless. O’Sullivan won’t receive the same attention fighting Abreu on the undercard of 19-year-old Ryan Garcia’s bout against Jayson Velez on May 4. Being on the undercard of a prospect that may never turn into a world champion doesn’t look great. Being on the undercard of a world champion would be a different story for O’Sullivan, but for him to be on the undercard of a prospect, it doesn’t look good.
The 26-year-old Abreu will be moving up 2 divisions from the 147 lb. weight class to face O’Sullivan at middleweight. You have to assume that O’Sullivan is being matched up against a welterweight in order to increase his chances of winning the fight, because he’s looked terrible at times when he’s fought good opposition at 160.
O’Sullivan was beaten badly by Chris Eubank Jr. in a 7th round stoppage loss three years ago on December 12, 2015. O’Sullivan lost to Billy Joe Saunders by a 12 round unanimous decision on July 20, 2013 in a very one-sided fight. The judges scored the Saunders vs. O’Sullivan fight 120-109, 120-109 and 119-110. O’Sullivan has won his last five matches since his loss to Eubank Jr. in 2015. O’Sullivan’s wins have come against Antoine Douglas, Nick Quigley, Chauncey Fields, Ronald Montes and Jaime Barboza.
Abreu has feasted mostly on low level opposition since he turned pro in 2010. Four years ago, Abreu tried stepping up against a better welterweight in Sammy Vasquez, and he was promptly stopped in the 4th round. Abreu was out of his depth in that fight against the highly skilled Vasquez. Since then, Abreu has gone back to fighting lesser opposition and he’s won his last seven fights in beating these fighters:
• David Emanuel Peralta (26-3-1)
• Juan Carlos Contreras (2-34-2)
• Jose Martinez (0-2)
• Wilson Hurtado (1-16-1)
• Joselo Diaz (0-9)
• Felix Sandoval (0-6)
• Victor Moya (0-13-1)
The 35-year-old Peralta defeated Robert Guerrero two years ago in beating him by a 12 round split decision on August 27, 2016 in an upset win at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. That was supposed to have been a sure thing win for Guerrero, but Peralta took the fight to him and ended up out-working and out-slugging the former 2-division world champion. The win for Peralta said more about how badly Guerrero had deteriorated as a fighter than it said about the Argentinian fighter being a good talent.
If O’Sullivan never fights for a world title in his career, he might wind up kicking himself for not choosing to accept the fight against Golovkin on May 5. O’Sullivan is ranked No.5 by the World Boxing Organization, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll get ranked high enough to get a title shot. It’s doubtful that WBO middleweight champion Saunders will bother giving O’Sullivan a title shot, because he already beat him easily in 2013, and there’s no audience for a second fight between them, especially with the Irish fighter padding his record by facing welterweight Abreu instead of a top contender from the middleweight division.
O’Sullivan better make sure he doesn’t lose to the welterweight Abreu, because that’ll look really bad. To turn down a title shot against Golovkin for a fight against an unknown welterweight, it puts O’Sullivan in a no-win situation.