Frank Martin Outclasses Michel Rivera; Aims for Top Names Next!
The excitement level was high at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada when lightweights Frank “The Ghost” Martin (17-0, 12 KOs) and Michel “La Zarza Ali” Rivera (24-1, 14 KOs) went to battle in a twelve-round lightweight WBA eliminator. With his blend of skills, punching power, and aggression, the 27-year-old Martin has a dynamic that has caught the attention of insiders.
Ranked #10 by the WBA, the native of Indianapolis, Indiana took on Rivera, who has received plenty of notice from hardcore heads. While not a banger like his opponent, the 24-year-old is a well-schooled craftsman. Ranked by three of the four major sanctioning bodies (WBA #2, IBF #6, WBC #9), the native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic has impressed observers with his boxing ability and composure that belies his youth.
A ONE-MAN SHOW
After a feel-out opening round, Martin began to find the range for a series of southpaw left hands in round two. Rivera has a tendency to dip to the right with his hands low. That gave the quicker Martin the openings to land shots. Rivera tried to adjust by jabbing with more force and initiating the action. In previewing this match, Martin’s speed was a point of focus. It was his speed and movement that was the difference in the first half of the bout.
Martin’s domination continued in the middle rounds. A straight left-hand put Rivera on the seat of his pants in the seventh. Martin was in his bag, fighting with full confidence. Whether fighting on the back foot or moving forward, the southpaw from Indiana was in complete control. All Rivera could do was try to pump the jab. But even that punch was neutralized by Martin’s counterpunches and defense.
By the championship rounds, Rivera had the look of a defeated man. Martin was having fun in there as he continued to tattoo his opponent with combinations. This fight was an easy one to score as judges ruled the fight in favor of The Ghost by a clear-cut unanimous decision (117-110, 118-109, 120-107) who will now become the WBA #1 lightweight contender. After the fight, the victor said he would love to fight either undisputed champ Devin Haney, WBA ‘regular’ champ Gervonta Davis or ex-world title challenger “Rolly” Romero.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.