Michel Rivera is coming into his own at the perfect time.

The baby-faced Dominican is on the verge of advancing from can’t miss prospect to budding contender in the red-hot lightweight division. The latest step in the career of Miami’s Rivera (20-0, 13KOs) comes this Saturday, as he faces Spain’s Jon Fernandez (21-1, 18KOs) on a Showtime telecast from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

The fight serves as an eliminator for the WBA title, with the winner in a position to challenge the likes of WBA “World” champ Gervonta Davis (25-0, 24KOs) or linea/WBA “Super/IBF/WBO champ Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12KOs). An investment into the future is well on the mind of Rivera, as is the case every fight but perhaps more so considering what is potentially within reach.

“It’s always important to look good,” Rivera told BoxingScene.com. “Especially where I am at in my career, on the brink of a title fight and of course, with all of the big money fights available.”

Rivera graduates from 10-round to 12-round fights with this weekend’s adventure, which comes in supporting capacity to WBA “interim” junior lightweight titlist Chris Colbert (15-0, 6KOs) versus Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-1, 9KOs). The fight is the second of 2021 for the 23-year-old lightweight, who earned an eighth-round knockout of Anthony Mercado on an FS1 telecast this past February in Los Angeles. It came on short notice as a consolation prize of sorts, after extensive talks for a showdown with Adrien Broner ended with the former four-division titlist looking in a different direction.

A full training camp was enjoyed for this fight, which Rivera—who is trained by German Caicedo and guided by promoter Sampson Lewkowicz—hopes will lead to his first career title fight and sooner rather than later.

“I believe I should be in line for a title with a win this weekend,” states Rivera. “But I know realistically I probably need a couple more fights. Not because I’m not ready, simply because of the politics involved.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox