By Lem Satterfield
Oscar Rivas earned his nickname, “Kaboom,” from trainer Marc Ramsay sometime before his August 2009 professional debut as a heavyweight, a third-round TKO of Joe Stofle.
Ramsay was overseeing violent sparring between Rivas and Canada-based Hatian, Bermane Stiverne, who reigned for eight months as heavyweight champion starting in August 2014.
“Oscar had zero professional fights the first time he came to train with me in Canada and the first time I put him into sparring,” said Ramsay of Rivas, a 31-year-old silver medalist as a 19-year-old in the 2007 Pan American Games.
“It was his first full round here in Quebec with Bermane Stiverne, who was was not yet the heavyweight champion but he was on his way. They were just throwing bombs, and when Oscar finished, I just told him you seem to go for the big bombs all of the time. The way you fight, it’s like ‘Kaboom!.’”
Rivas (24-0, 17 KOs) will attempt to blast out Fabian Maldanado (26-0,25 KOs) in their scheduled 10-rounder at Centre Videotron in Quebec City on the December 1 undercard of a 175-pound WBC title defense by southpaw Adonis Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs) against Ukrainian Oleksander Govzdyk (15-0, 12 KOs) on Showtime.
The 6-foot Rivas went 10 rounds for the second time in his last fight in May, weighing 238 ½ pounds for a unanimous decision over 6-foot-4, 233 ¼ Herve Hubeaux (29-3, 14 KOs).
The 6-foot-1 Maldanado (243 1/2) is a Brazilian mixed martial artist who returned to boxing after a six-year hiatus in February 2016 with a 95-second KO of Robson Bambu. Maldano has since won three straight by first, second and third-round stoppage, the last past two in back-to-back victories over Clayton Soriano de Lyra in April and September.
“We are very foscused on this fight, and we have a variety of sparring partners who can imitate his style, ,” said of the 38-year-old Maldanado, who has faced only five fighters with winning records and gone as far as five rounds, once.
Rivas was originally scheduled to face Ebenezer Tetteh (19-0, 16 KOs), but the hard-punching Ghanian’s visa problems prevented him from making the trip.
Known for his speed, strength and punch delivery, Rivas knows he’s capable of stopping Maldonado, but he won’t try to do so in a reckless manner.
“We’re prepared for a 12-round war. But if we have any opportunity to stop the fight, we’ll jump on it," said Rivas. "After two more wins, the call for a heavyweight title shot can come for me at any time and I feel that I will be ready. But first, I want to take care of Maldonado in December."