Frank Martin and Michel Rivera Wager Their Undefeated Records
What has the makings of a terrific contest will take place on December 17 as unbeaten lightweights Frank “The Ghost” Martin (16-0, 12 KOs) and Michel “La Zarza Ali” Rivera (24-0, 14 KOs) face one another at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout is a WBA lightweight title eliminator and will air live on Showtime at 10 PM EST.
ON THE RISE
After an amateur career that included winning the USA National Amateur title in 2016, Frank Martin turned professional in October 2017. The southpaw from Indianapolis, Indiana is what you call a power boxer. Throughout his career, he has shown he can pick fighters apart and outbox his foes. But, he is a fighter with an aggressive streak. Ranked #10 by the WBA, Martin has no problem coming forward and initiating the action. His skills, ferocity, and punching power have hardcore fans tabbing him as a fighter to watch.
Martin’s attack has to be multi-pronged to beat Rivera. On the one hand, he must force the pace and neutralize Rivera’s jab. But, that must be done while being defensively responsible. At times, Martin is guilty of being so offensive-minded that he leaves himself open. If he does that in this fight, Rivera will pick him apart.
The hard-hitting southpaw must get his jab going, use his brain and physicality, and work Rivera’s body whenever possible. The more this is a dogfight, the more Martin’s power can come into play, and the more he gives himself the chance of victory.
Still, he’s in for a daunting task against Rivera, who has shown marked improvement over the years. The pride of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic does not have an amateur record of note. He turned pro in February 2016. After moving his operations to Miami, Florida in 2019, things started to blossom. He is currently ranked #2 by the WBA, #6 by the IBF, #10 by the WBO, and #12 by the WBC.
KEEP IT CLASSY
Rivera is a smooth operator in the ring. The 24-year-old has what you call an educated lead left jab. He uses the punch to set up his offense and nullify an attacking opponent. But, the Dominican has more than that to his arsenal. He has good punch distribution and is willing to go downstairs. He also has good defense and underrated pop in his punches.
Rivera must control the pace and keep that lead left hand in Martin’s face early and often. Work the body of Martin to slow him down and take some of his power away. Do not give your opponent a still target. He must use the ring. If Rivera makes this a battle of wits and skills, his chances of victory increase.
This is a high-stakes, high-reward matchup of young and hungry lightweights – a refreshing sight to see in contemporary boxing. The key to this bout is who can set the pace.
Look for Martin to come out early, hoping to land something hard while Rivera tries to box. Rivera will have to survive shaky moments. But over time, he gets the jab going. Martin’s attacking nature will be used against him, and Martin will start to land his share of shots in the middle rounds.
The longer the fight goes, the more it benefits Rivera, who will land a surprising number of body shots. In a battle of the puncher versus the boxer, skills, defense, and patience will be the difference. Michel Rivera wins this bout by decision.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.