Jose Antonio Rivera: ďIíll challenge anybody at 154lbs, and Iīll take them outĒ
18.08.06 - Inteview by Mike Casile (PBR): Jose Antonio Rivera is the WBA light middleweight champion, who won his title in a convincing fashion, knocking his opponent down five times. He is a legitimate contender for a big pay day, but no one will touch him. He has made overtures to De La Hoya, and Margarito, and others, but all he hears is crickets. He gets very little respect for a man holding a world title, and he feels that there is only one reason he can not get a big fight, and that is Fear.
Article posted on 18.08.2006
PBR: Why do you think youíre so far under the radar?
Rivera: There were a couple of big opportunities that I missed. I was supposed to fight Fernando Vagas, before he fought Campos in 1998, and I hurt my wrist. I think HBO has always held that against me for reason, because I havenít been given the opportunity since. Then there was the Mayorga thing, he didnít make weight, so they found him another opponent. What about me?
PBR: You were supposed to fight Daamgard, and it was postponed, because on injury. What happened there?
Rivera: Well, I was hurt, and then he got hurt, and pulled out of the fight, to pursue Arturo Gatti. I guess there was more money in it for him. We only offered him a World title shot, figure that one out.
PBR: Thatís too bad, because I think you would have taken him out easily, do you agree
PBR: You wrote an open Letter to Margarito, you think you can beat him?
Rivera: I am an old school fighter. Styles make fights. Fighters that come to brawl and come to bang, are fighters that are easy Pickens for me. They are always right in front of my punches, and I always feel like Iím stronger and more dominant, fighting that style of fighter. A fighter that runs from me usually gives me the most trouble.
PBR: The division is dominated by this type of fighter; do you think this a big reason why you canít get that big fight?
Rivera: Yes, that is absolutely the case, thatís why I never get the opportunity. When I was in the welterweight division, no one wanted to give me a shot. Now that I move up to Junior Middleweight, everyone is moving down. I donít get it.
PBR: Youíre a World Champion right now, your not getting the respect you deserve. Does that bother you?
Rivera: What bothers me more than not getting the respect of a champion is not getting the opportunity. Just fight me! I am willing to prove myself. I will fight anybody, anywhere. I am willing to fight anywhere.
PBR: Is there anyone out there at all, which has given any indication that they might fight you, besides your upcoming mandatory challenge for the WBA title?
Rivera: Right now, I donít see anyone out there, who is willing to fight me. I have to be honest. I donít see it. The big name fighters, say they are willing to fight; they say they want it, but they never sign the papers. It is all talk.
PBR: Shouldnít your manager or promoter be going out to get these fights?
Rivera: Yes, Don has done a lot for me. But for some reason, my name is not in the mix.
Do you think Collazzo was your toughest fight?
Collazzo is a tough fighter; I take nothing away from him. He is another one of those fighters that doesnít get a lot of credit. He moves around a lot, he is tough to hit. I knew after fighting him, I had to move up to 154. I had been at 147 far too long.
Does moving up in weight take away some of your possibilities?
Well, it seems like whenever I make a move, other fighters below me in weight move up. When I moved up, Hatton went up to 147lbs. That could have been a great fight. All these so called experts do not see these matches for some reason.
You seem like the most genuine candidate for a big fight. You said you will fight Margarito, and give him a shot at your title, is he afraid of you? Do you think he wants to fight you?
No, he doesnít want to fight me. I donít have the ďde La HoyaĒ name. We are both after the same thing really. He is known, he carries this reputation, like he is this dangerous puncher. Well, I will fight him, and take a lot less money too. I talked to my promotional team, and we heard nothing from him.
So youíre offering him a world title shot, and he wonít take it?
Thatís what Iím saying. I am willing to put it all on the line.
Is there anybody else you challenged?
Yes, De La Hoya, but he seems to want one more big fight. I donít know how he can hold that title, and not fight anyone, when there are guys out there who would like to unify, or fight for the title.
Is Oscar afraid of you? Why donít you say it, if you believe it?
I donít talk trash about other fighters, I just want an opportunity. Iíll challenge anybody at 154lbs, anywhere, and Iíll take them out.
previous article: Williams-Mitchell: Overview & Prediction
next article: Jeremy Bates - A Real Life Rocky?