Michel Rivera was expecting a different date and network for his next ring appearance but will gladly settle for the contingency plan.
A short notice opportunity was accepted by the unbeaten Dominican lightweight, who will face Puerto Rico’s Anthony Mercado Raices this weekend. Their junior welterweight bout will air live on FS1 (Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT) atop a preliminary card preceding the Fox primetime telecast (8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT), with both events airing live from Shrine Auditorium in Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
Rivera (19-0, 12KOs) and his team were provided with what will amount to eight days’ notice by the time the 22-year old lightweight prospect steps into the ring this weekend. Earlier plans called for a possible slot on the March 13 Showtime card headlined by David Benavidez, as both boxers are promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz. Rivera—who now lives and trains in Miami—was instead informed of a guaranteed slot later this spring but to remain prepared for an earlier ring assignment.
With it comes Rivera’s first fight since arguably his most notable win to date, a 10-round decision over Ladarius ‘Memphis’ Miller last Halloween in San Antonio, Texas. The bout served as part of the non-televised undercard preceding the Showtime Pay-Per-View headliner topped by Gervonta Davis’ spectacular 6th round knockout of Leo Santa Cruz in their two-division title fight, with the WBA junior lightweight and lightweight titles both at stake.
This time around, Rivera is granted better treatment and with the potential for more to come. A win could put him in position to return as early as April, as Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) begins rolling out its spring schedule.
Mercado Raices (13-4, 11KOs) fights for the first time since a 5th round knockout of Andres Navarro in March 2019 at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. The nine-year pro from Camuy, Puerto Rico steps well up in competition, as Rivera is being groomed for title contention later this year.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox