Lightweight contender Michel Rivera knows there are no guarantees.
The Miami-based Dominican’s meeting with Frank Martin on Saturday at Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is being billed as a WBA title eliminator, meaning, if he wins, he’ll be in position to challenge undisputed champion Devin Haney or secondary titleholder Gervonta Davis.
Rivera doesn’t know with certainty that he’ll get his big opportunity next but a victory over the respected Martin would bolster the argument that he’s worthy.
“Maybe after this fight, maybe I’ll fight for a world title,” Rivera, 24, told Boxing Junkie. “And it’s an opportunity to show what I have [on a large stage]. Frank Martin is a good prospect, a good fighter, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to win.”
A prospect? Martin (16-0, 12 KOs) is ranked No. 10 by the WBA. Still, Rivera believes his opponent remains a level below him.
Rivera (24-0, 14 KOs) is ranked by all four major sanctioning bodies, No. 2 by the WBA.
“I’m a contender for one and a half years, waiting for a title [shot],” he said. “He has 16 fights, he’s never fought in an eliminator. So he’s a prospect, not a contender. … [But] it’s a fight have to take right now. If I have to fight everyone to become mandatory, I’ll do it.
“That’s boxing. One day it’s going to come. I have to stay like this.”
An extra source of motivation for Rivera is the fact that he’ll be fighting in the main event on Showtime in the U.S.
He remembers watching his heroes fight on the premium network when he was a teen. The fact he’ll be a featured on the broadcast Saturday night adds to the significance of the fight for him.
“When I was 14 years old I watched Showtime with my father,” he said. “I dreamed of fighting on Showtime. Life is crazy. I’ve put in a lot of work for this opportunity. Dreams happen. Right now it’s time to show what I have.”
If he continues to win, he believes, everything else will fall into place.
“I don’t really know what comes next,” he said. “I put it in God’s hands. … I just want to win this fight, prove that I can win the title. And maybe I’ll get my chance.
“I just stay disciplined, listen to my coaches, run, work hard in the gym. I want to be a world champion at 135 pounds.”