By: Sean Crose
The undefeated 20-0 lightweight Michel Rivera appeared on Saturday’s Showtime Boxing broadcast from the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. His opponent in a scheduled 12 rounder was the 21-1 Jon Fernandez. This was the first time Rivera had stepped into the ring since February, when he had knocked out Anthony Mercado Raices in the final round of their scheduled 8 round battle. Fernandez had last fought in February, as well, knocking out Aristides Perez in the very first round of a scheduled 8 round affair.
Rivera looked smooth and fluid in a close first round, but it wasn’t enough to keep Fernandez off him. The second round was an interesting affair. Rivera clearly looked to be the more talented of the two fighters, but it was Fernandez who landed the more telling punches. By the third it was clear that Rivera was going to have to change the tempo of the fight and perhaps start engaging in effective aggression. In the fourth, Rivera started doing just that, tagging his man hard early on.
The two men engaged in high octane combat in the fifth. It was a quality fight. Rivera employed effective defense in the sixth…until he suffered a flash knockdown. Rivera could move and throw well, but wasn’t able to land nearly as effectively as he clearly wanted to. Fernandez seemed to have his opponent’s timing down in the seventh. In the eighth, Rivera – quite abruptly – sent his man down and out with a perfect left, right combo.