By Jake Donovan
Miguel Marriaga isn’t ready to give up on his dream of becoming a featherweight titlist—no matter how many attempts it requires.
The Colombia slugger managed his third straight win with a 3rd round stoppage of countryman Ruben Cervera in their modified lightweight scrap Saturday evening at Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, Ariz. Cervera accepted the fight on two days’ notice.
The opponent switch came about after originally scheduled foe Naciff Martinez who was 20 pounds above the contracted limit during fight week as he was scratched from the card.
Both boxers are natural featherweights, but Cervera (10-1, 9KOs) hadn’t fought since a 10-round loss to unbeaten prospect Ruben Villa this past January. In accepting the fight, he was granted a heavier weight limit, which meant Marriaga didn’t have to cut weight—but did have a hearty target for his body attack which produced the knockout ending.
"He was a last-minute opponent that came a little heavier than what I'm used to fighting, and that's why I focused on punishing the body,” noted Marriaga (28-3, 24KOs), who scored two body-shot knockdowns in round two, while also hitting the deck himself midway through round three.
“He connected well with a solid punch and I went down, but he didn't hurt me badly. My plan was to punish him with body shots until he did not want to continue and finally, he didn't come out to fight following third round.”
The win gave Marriaga five consecutive knockouts in non-title fights, with all three of his career losses coming in championship contests. He dropped a 12-round decision to overweight Nicholas Walters in his first failed title bid in June 2015. Five wins followed before suffered back-to-back knockout losses in 2017 to Oscar Valdez in a second featherweight bid and then to Vasiliy Lomachenko in an all-advised move to 130 pounds.
Now having won three in a row, the 32-year old slugger is eager to make his next fight a meaningful one—whether a fourth title shot, or the type of matchup that helps get him one step closer.
“I want a world title fight. I want to fulfill my dream of becoming a world champion,” insists Marriaga. “All the champions and 126-pound contenders are at the same level, so I'm willing to fight any of them. I'm here to fight the best!”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox