Top lightweight contenders Michel “La Zarza Ali” Rivera and Frank “The Ghost” Martin went face to face on Thursday before they meet in a scintillating WBA Lightweight Title Eliminator headlining action live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, December 17 in a Premier Boxing Champions event at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
The press conference also featured fighters competing on the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The action will see former world champion José Uzcátegui return to action against unbeaten former amateur standout Vladimir Shishkin in a 12-round IBF Title Eliminator, while bantamweight contenders face off as Vincent Astrolabio and Nikolai Potapov meet in a 12-round IBF Title Eliminator that kicks off the telecast.
Rivera vs. Martin will pit unbeaten top 135-pound contenders against each other in one of boxing’s most loaded divisions. The matchup is widely considered a step up for both fighters, as the Dominican Republic-native Rivera duels the Derrick James-trained Martin to determine who will be next in line for a world title shot.
Here is what Rivera and Martin had to say Thursday from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas:
Photos from Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
“We know that Martin is a good boxer with abilities, but I’m the guy. I’m bigger and stronger. He’s strong and confident too, but I’m more confident. This is my time and I have to do everything to win this fight.
“This fight is everything. I believe that I’m more talented, but I like that he’s confident. For me, this is the best fight of the year. Nobody should miss this fight.
“I’ve really done a lot of work for this camp. This is my first main event and I have to make this my time. I’m dedicated and motivated. On Saturday, everyone will see a new superstar in the ring.
“It’s not normal for two undefeated guys to put their records on the line. I’m telling everyone, you can’t miss this fight. This is going to be amazing.
“He’s a southpaw, but that’s nothing new. I’ve been fighting with guys more experienced than him for a while. We know he’s got Errol Spence Jr. behind him, but that doesn’t mean anything in the ring. I’m one hundred percent confident that I’m winning this fight.
“Everyone knows I’m a confident fighter. That’s because of how hard I work in the gym with Herman Caicedo and my whole team. I’m not going to quit and I’m going to keep pushing and be ready for anything Martin brings.
“I’m so excited to be fighting again on SHOWTIME. I know that with a win on Saturday, I’m going to have the really big fights all set for me.
“Everyone knows me. I’m different. I’m the guy. I will win this fight. We’re going to talk in the ring.”