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Joebert Alvarez, Julian Rivera Ready For War

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."

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
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