Hernandez TKO3 Rivera

By Matt McGrain on February 9, 2014
Hernandez TKO3 Rivera
When The Confessor found the range, Rivera began to unravel. (Promociones de Pueblo)

Last night in Huixquilucan, Mexico, Adrian “The Confessor” Hernandez, the number one contender in the light-flyweight division, defeated woefully underqualified challenger Janiel Rivera in three short rounds. For the few minutes it lasted, it was not a close fight.

Rivera is the type of opponent that troubles certain quarters of the boxing press and boxing public, one who is not in the league of the elite fighter he is matched with. These matches are unsatisfying for fans and they are dangerous for the lesser fighter. Rivera has never boxed more than eight rounds in his professional career. In the summer of 2013 he was defeated over that distance by Miguel Del Valle, who was 8-19 going into that fight. His last five victims have a combined record of 18-25-1 and in his fourteen professional contests he has defeated only three opponents with winning records. Putting him in the ring with Hernandez was, as the saying goes, extremely brave of his management.

“The Confessor” has plenty going for him, including the best nickname in boxing. He is the Transnational Boxing Board’s #1 contender at the weight and a match with Japanese wunderkind Kazuto Ioka, ranked #2, would start a new lineage and crown a linear King. Whilst nobody appears to be straining at the leash to make that fight, it would unquestionably be a thing of beauty. Hernandez, now 29-2, has looked a different man since his 2011 knockout loss to Kompayak Porpramook, winning seven in a row, four by way of knockout, including that of Porpramook whom he avenged himself on over six in October of 2012. 

Able to conduct himself with admirable stoicism in the first round, Rivera did not disgrace himself, and even landed some shots on the stalking Hernandez, whose deficiencies include a static defense and a tangible determination to land punches. When The Confessor found the range for his left hand however, it became clear that we would be in for a short night. Again and again this punch found home, both to body and head, and Rivera began to unravel. 

Originally nicknamed “Big Bang” for the punches that brought him a long string of knockouts in the first few years of his career, Hernandez has dipped in destructive ability as he has moved up in class but these punches nevertheless carry considerable weight. Peppered by these hurtful shots, Rivera showed heart both to take them and to fire back, but he was essentially dominated from then on.

That he finished the fight in a deep squat with his back to his own corner-post unable to defend himself from an opponent far out with his class was yet another harsh indictment of the WBC who collected their fees regardless, as the fight was fought in defense of their increasingly meaningless belt. That Rivera was driven there by some of the tightest uppercuts you’ll see in the sport is, on some level, a celebration of the sport, as are the huge combinations that Hernandez fired in when he had his opponent hurt, not for him the safety-first strategy of a preceding a deadly punch with a careful one, but certainly it would have been more interesting and less disturbing to see Hernandez let these skills loose upon a more qualified foe. Finding one shouldn’t be difficult. Light-flyweight has suffered from a drain of talent to the absurdly stacked flyweight division, but there is still skill to burn at 108 lbs.

If Ioka isn’t to be his next opponent #3 ranked Donnie Nietes or the #4 ranked John Casimero, both out of the Philippines, would provide extremely stiff opposition whilst #5 Pedro Guevara, a fellow Mexican, has rehabilitated himself beautifully following his split decision loss to Casimero and is undoubtedly once again ready for top opposition. Most intriguingly, Naoya Inoue, perhaps the world’s brightest prospect, cracked the top ten recently and will likely be hunting himself a top contender in 2014.

Hernandez might be a bridge too far for him at this point, but nor is he an opponent who, like Rivera, would make you fear for his safety.

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Adrián Hernández vs. Janiel Rivera

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  1. The Flea 12:52am, 02/18/2014

    Sorry Hernandez Vs INOUE is pretty much confirmed.

    Great fight.

  2. The Flea 12:51am, 02/18/2014

    Get rid of minimum and keep light fly.

    Ioka Vs Hernandez is pretty much confirmed.

  3. nicolas 03:33am, 02/10/2014

    According to BOXREC, i Believe there are less than 300 minimum weight fighters. Of course with the sanctioning fees that these ‘organizations of boxing get of course there will not be and end to this nonsense.

  4. Matt McGrain 12:26pm, 02/09/2014

    I would say keep minimumweight and do away with light-fly. That will never happen though.  Because that would impact the ability of the alphabet soup lunatics to get money.  They can have up to four champions in each division, remember.

  5. nicolas 11:28am, 02/09/2014

    On fight news I wrote about this fight that first with all the different boxing organizations, a champion should really only fight the number one contender or the top contender available, unless he fights one of the other ‘recognized champions’. It was a travesty that this was a title fight. The fighter he also lost to had lost some 13 straight fights. He won a WBC minimum championship against according to BOXREC was 0-1. I would also wish that the light flyweight and minimum weight division be abolished from boxing. While I realize that not every boxer can be a heavyweight, or even perhaps a middleweight or lightweight. That the cannot be a flyweight is absurd. Are these boxers so malnourished that they can’t fight at flyweight? the light flyweight and minimum weight divisions according to BOXREC does not have even have a combined 1,000 fighters fighting actively today.

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