Frank Martin showed on Saturday why many think he could be a considerable force in the 135-pound division. Martin dropped, dominated, and defeated previously unbeaten Michel Rivera(16-1, 12 KOs) by unanimous decision in a WBA Lightweight Title Eliminator that headlined action live from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas(Showtime).
Martin cruised to victory, winning by scores of 120-107, 118-109, and 117-110.
He held a statistical advantage over Rivera, according to CompuBox, outlanding Rivera 174 to 67 and connecting on 31% of his shots, compared to 15% for Rivera.
The 27-year-old Martin (25-0, 14 KOs) had an easy time of it against Rivera and stayed in control from start to finish. In round seven, Martin delivered his signature moment of the fight, putting Rivera down hard with a straight left-right hook combination.
“We believe in ‘Man Down,’” Martin said. “It’s protect yourself at all times. He got caught slipping, and he went down.”
Martin, who is promoted by Errol Spence and trained by Derrick James, says he’s learning a lot being around Spence, James, and Jermell Charlo.
“It’s a blessing to be in the gym with Errol and [undisputed 154-pound champion] Jermell [Charlo], and they keep me going,” Martin said. “I’m always watching Errol when he’s sparring, and I’m always asking questions and looking to get better. Seeing champions on top like them, I’m getting nothing but game from them.”
Martin wants the big names at 135, which he discussed after the win.
“I just believe in myself, and I believe in our team,” said Martin. “We know what we’re doing, and we’re working consistently. We believed in it and believed that we’re ready for any of the top fighters, so let us get them. We’re ready to eat.”
This is a big win for Martin, but give credit to the 24-year-old Rivera. Only a few young fighters take this fight. However, Martin and Rivera dared to be great!
Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME