Michel Rivera knew from the moment he was assigned this fight that nothing about it would be more satisfying than his last outing.
That never prevented him from making a statement.
The unbeaten 21-year old lightweight prospect from Dominican Republic—who now lives and trains at Herman Caicedo's sports complex in Miami, Fla.—was relentless in a one-sided stoppage of Mexico’s Jose Luis Gallegos after five rounds Saturday evening at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, Calif. A hematoma over Gallegos’ left eye coupled with alarming punishment forced referee Marcos Rosales to call a halt to the contest in between rounds.
“I was happy with my performance,” Rivera (17-0, 11KOs) told BoxingScene.com after Saturday’s bout, which aired live on FS2, preceding a PBC on FS1 quadrupleheader topped by Alfredo Angulo’s 10-round win over Peter Qullin. “I thought they were going to stop it a round sooner, but my corner told me to just keep punching away, to keep targeting his body and he would eventually fall.”
To his credit, Gallegos (16-8, 12KOs) remained upright the entire time and even protested the stoppage minutes after the referre informed him that his night’s work was done.
For Rivera, it was a second straight televised win in the United States, having outpointed previously unbeaten Rene Tellez this past June live on Showtime.
“Anytime you can beat an undefeated fighter, it’s always going to mean more,” pointed out Rivera, who admittedly wasn’t thrilled with the choice of opponent for Saturday’s fight. “This guy, he had seven losses already. I knew he was tough… but I really enjoyed beating (Tellez), just like my last win at home in Dominican Republic (an 8th round knockout of Yankiel Diaz, 12-0 at the time of their July 2018 clash).
“But I trust my team and they wanted to see how I look against someone who can take a punch. I was happy to show them he couldn’t take my punches for very long.”
In taking minimal punishment in the bout, comes a willingness to add at least one more fight to his ledger before the end of the year—if not the end of the month.
“I want to fight tomorrow, I’m serious,” insists Rivera, who is more realistically looking at a return in late November or early December. “I just love to fight. I want to be the Floyd Mayweather of my time. I want to be the star of this generation.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox