This Saturday night serves as a proving ground at the lightweight division when two top-10 fighters go head to head in the main event on Showtime. From Las Vegas, Nevada at the Cosmopolitan Michel Rivera and Frank Martin aims to separate from the pack of contenders as they climb the ladder at the 135-pound division. It’s a great matchup to end the year here in the states, as we boxing fans anticipate are jammed-packed schedule in the first half of 2023.
This is the type of fight we’ve become accustomed to being featured in the main event on Showtime but to be fair they needed this one because their last few headliners were subpar. Michel Rivera is the more experienced boxer having gone the 10-round distance a total of 5 times compared to Martin who’s only fought in the 10th round twice. Jackson Marinez is arguably the best opponent on either man’s resume, and Martin stopped him back in July.
Let’s get right to the nuts and bolts of this bout that saw Rivera open as the favorite only to see Martin turn the tables heading into Saturday as the betting favorite. Both guys have quality jabs, good hand speed, and can pop. Similarly, both tend to be front-foot heavy, especially when throwing the jab. Adding to the intrigue, these two boxers love to time opponents during exchanges. Rivera has a habit of overextending at times on offense so keep an eye out for Martin’s counter, likely with his left hand. Michel’s footwork can be wonky, and his defense a tad leaky. Michel is most comfortable at range and will look to use his 3-inch reach advantage.
Frank Martin can be repetitive with his attack and when he doesn’t double up his jab sticking to a single look for Rivera to counter using a straight right hand over Frank’s jab. Martin does a fairly good job of blocking punches with his gloves but can also leave his chin open in the process. Frank likes to use angles while up close and throws speedy, effective combinations. No doubt about it Frank will have to cut the distance to have enough success to earn a victory. Both guys will focus their punches to the body making it very interesting to see who can really hurt or at least be affected to the body which as we know creates targets to the head.
Stylistically this should be a skillful banger, given how the styles match up. It may take a little bit of time for Frank Martin to get inside, meaning Rivera will take an early lead. Then it will come down to who has the better chin and whether Frank can get past the counter rights getting close enough to null in void the reach Michel has on him. This boxing podcaster really sees this as a true 50-50, so if you like Rivera, jump on the underdog slated as a +175 all the way up over +200. At those odds, even if you’re not picking Michel, it’s well worth it. Something tells me the difference maker will be Frank Martin’s footwork applying pressure with those angles, making it tough for Michel to land clean in the mid-to-late rounds.
My Official Prediction is Frank Martin by Majority-Decision.
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Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio