Team Rivera: Looking for a few good men

08.11.03 - Newly crowned WBA welterweight champion “El Gallo” Jose Antonio Rivera (37-3-1, 24 KOs) -- boxing’s best-kept secret -- is getting bored working out without knowing when his next fight date or opponent will be.

The WBA mandated that Rivera, after winning a 12-round decision September 13 against previously unbeaten Michel Trabant (38-0) for the vacant WBA title, would have to fight No. 1 rated contender Thomas Damgaard within 120 days. Rivera has been at training camp for weeks, but Damgaard’s promoter has reportedly petitioned the WBA to permit Damgaard to “step aside” once again. Damgaard originally was scheduled to fight Trabant, but that deal wasn’t agreed upon in time, and Rivera replaced Damgaard.

Rivera wants to be a fighting champion and prove he’s one of the top fighters in the world. “Like most great champions,” Rivera’s manager Steven “Tank” Tankanow said, “Jose will fight anybody, anywhere. Damgaard, the Great Dane acting more like a Chihuahua, is hiding in Denmark after seeing what Rivera did to Trabant. Floyd Mayweather and Kosta Tszyu have been talking about moving up and taking on the best welterweights in the world. Well, Jose Rivera is right here for them. (Antonio) Margarito doesn’t need to look any further than Worcester to find somebody as tough as he is and (Ricardo) Mayorga should be fighting somebody who will go toe-to-toe with him, not dancing around like a little girl, like most of his previous opponents. Jose’s not going anywhere. Hell, we’ll move up to 154 if (Oscar) De La Hoya wants a real fight. Here’s a challenge to any of the world-class fighters between 147 and 154 pounds: If you have Mayorga-sized balls, contact Team Rivera.”

Article posted on 08.11.2003

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