Frank Martin took some time to get data on Michel Rivera and then put his advantages to full use on Showtime from the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The lefty Martin, signed to Errol Spence Promotions, used superior mobility and hand speed to outclass Rivera in a battle of lightweight unbeatens.
After 12 rounds, the judges awarded Martin, who took over total control around the midway point, the UD. The scores were 117-110, 118-109, 120-107.
Martin went 174-561 to 67-439 for the loser. Martin spoke to Mauro Ranallo after getting his hand raised. He said he could have done better, but was happy to get the W. The victor said trainer Derrick James told him to move more, and moving forward, he will learn and do even better.
The lefty Martin (16-0 with 12 KOs entering) fighting out of Texas, is 27.
The Dominican boxer Rivera, living in Miami, was 24-0 with 14 KOs, is 24 years old.
In the first, Rivera looked bigger and longer. His jab looked sharp but Martin picked off many of them.
In round two, Martin closed some distance. He got angles, and his hand speed impressed the fans in attendance. Trainer Herman Caicedo asked Rivera for more movement. In the third, Rivera started out aggressively, he hurled his right after the jab, and had Martin playing defense. Martin is not a volume guy, and especially not in that round. Trainer Derrick James chided Martin for watching too much after the round.
To round four—Rivera moved smarter, more often to his left. Martin again didn’t throw much. He picked it up late, to maybe steal the round. He strafed the body a couple times. In the fifth, both men showed maybe excessive deference to the other to start. Martin seemed to control the flow of the action more than Rivera.
In the sixth, again, both stared maybe too much. Then Martin got a little busier at 1:28, but it was another tight round. In round seven, Martin started stronger. His accuracy got noticed when he sniped and moved, and threw again. Even when Martin lunged in, Rivera didn’t make him pay. Then Martin scored a knockdown, off a lead left-right hook combo. Caicedo sounded frustrated, telling his guy he wasn’t listening well, and so it behooved him to just fight.
Rivera in round 8 looked plodding, he wasn’t letting his hands go. Martin mixed movement and punch selection sweetly, Rivera was two steps behind the whole round. In the ninth, no, Rivera didn’t move to his left, to make it harder for the Texas based hitter to land his left.
In the tenth, Rivera tried to push the matter but he wasn’t able to get a bead on the slippery lefty. Martin stayed smart in the 11th and 12th, so the cards got read.
Shishkin Gets W Over Vet Uzcategui
The No 9 (IBF) super middleweight, Vladimir Shishkin (from Russia; 13-0 entering) took on ex IBF 168 champ Jose Uzcategui (age 31; 32-4 entering; No 7 in IBF) of Venezuela/Mexico/ US in the second TV fight on Showtime Saturday night.
After 12 rounds at the Cosmo in Vegas, the judges awarded Shishkin the W, by scores of 115-113, 117-111, 117-111. This was advertised as a title shot eliminator, for the record.
A stiff one-two from Uz sent a message in the first. Shishkin, moving lots laterally, featured a stiff jab, to body and head. In the second, Shishkin impressed with his focus. He looked more confident, even, late in the round, as trainer SugarHill Steward looked on favorably.
In the third, the Russian kept up a steady beat of offense. His combos were piling up now. He did well to work hard at a middle distance, and at staying balanced, the better to add a fifth punch of a combo. To round four—Uz ate a couple right uppercuts, delivered from that middle distance.
Shish moved well, his legs looked light, he looked pretty fresh through five. Steward barked at Shishkin to let loose the right hand more. In the sixth, the hand speed of the Russian stood out. “Pick it up… Listen, it’s time to finish it now,” Steward said before round seven started.
In the eighth, there was trading but Shishkin’s beard held up well. Uz got peppier, sensing his power was taking something from the Russian. He listened to his corner, Javier Capetillo, and fired left hooks to the body. Ref Celestino Ruiz warned Shish for being chippy. Uzcategui had now warmed up and looked like he wanted this W.
In the tenth, Uz landed an overhand right a couple times. We saw a scrape on the left eye of the Russian. His volume dropped off now, how much energy did he have left? In the 11th, Uz didn’t act like he was a few points down. The slow pace benefited Shishkin. In the 12th round, Shishkin used what energy he had, he will be happy he did the 12. To the cards we went…
A bantamweight scrap between Filipino Nick Astrolabio (17-3 coming in) and Nikolai Potapov (23-2-1 entering) started the slate for Showtime. At 1:26 of round six, Astrolabio scored a stoppage victory, after his power shots broke down the Russian.
The 25 year old Astro (No 3 in WBO) signed to Manny Pacquiao Promotions, scored two knockdowns in the first, and was credited with one.
We saw blood on the left eye of the 32 year old Potapov (No 9 WBO) during round two.
In the third, Pota, in his first fight of the year, had luck with a left hook and now he was throwing combos. Astro started holding some, and his volume compared disfavorably in this round. Was the fight taking a turn?
In the fourth, Pota, who fought once in 2020, and once in 2021, started strong, he looked to be the aggressor and Astro wasn’t adjusting as well he could have. They both got chippy in this round, throwing rabbit punches. A left stunned Pota in the last part of the round.
To the fifth, Pota went to the mat again. The Astro power edge seemed to now be an obvious differentiator.
Replay showed a right uppercut/left hook follow made the Russian take a knee.
In the sixth, Potapov went down and stayed down, unable to beat the count of ten. Replay showed that a left to the body did the damage.
Astro, who beat Guillermo Rigondeaux in his prior start, went 74-236 to 58-225 for the loser.