By Jake Donovan
Joebert Alvarez puts his unbeaten record on the line versus noted spoiler Julian Rivera this Friday in Mexico City, Mexico. The scheduled 12-round flyweight bout headlines the Spring 2014 season finale of Boxeo Telemundo, capping a block of four straight Fridays on air.
Last week saw a shocker when Alejandro Hernandez knocked out Marvin Mabait in five rounds, thus derailing the Filipino's hopes of a shot at a world bantamweight title. Given the upsets posted and competitive bouts over that stretch, event handlers believe the spring season finale (Friday, Telemundo 11:35PM ET) will follow suit and end with a bang.
"This season jumped out to a great start with Jonathan Oquendo beating Guillermo Avila in March, and I expect Joebert and 'Chicano' (Rivera) to bring it on Friday night," said promoter Felix 'Tuto' Zabala, whose All-Star Boxing company is the primary feeder for the Boxeo Telemundo series. This is a terrific main event and I applaud both fighters for stepping up to accept the fight."
The series changed formats in 2013, running in three separate blocks of four consecutive Fridays - the spring season (March/April), summer (June/July) and fall (September/October). Previous years had the series run one Friday per month, rotating locations between Central Florida and Mexico City.
Alvarez comes in with the glossier record (13-0-1, 6KO), but fights outside of his native Philippines for the first time as he travels to his opponent's hometown for Friday's regional title fight. The 24-year old has won three straight since the lone blemish on his record - a technical draw in an Aug. '12 bout that lasted just four minutes before a headbutt eventually led to a medical stoppage.
Rivera (13-8-1, 2KO) is a series favorite and has developed a reputation as a spoiler. The Mexico City native enjoyed the best stretch of his career in 2012 with wins over Sergio Frias and Edgar Jimenez (twice, both bouts on Telemundo), leading towards a shot at flyweight champion Juan Carlos Reveco.
The title fight didn't turn out as hoped, but Rivera came back strong in 2013. A competitive loss to unbeaten Matthew Valenzuela - which also aired on Telemundo was followed by a hard-fought win over former title challenger Ulises Lara last November.
"Chicano always comes prepared. Joebert has a fight on his hands," Zabala insists. "I told anyone who would listen last week that 'Payasito' was a handful for any bantamweight in the world. We saw what happened.
"I can say the exact same about this bout, at the exact same venue (Foro Polanco, in Mexico City). I can say that because that's how we match all of our fights. Records don't matter as long as we know the fights have the potential to be competitive."
Tags: Boxing Television , boxing
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox