At 31 years of age it’s tough to label someone a prospect. That someone being from Colombia and competing at heavyweight makes it even tougher. It changes when you see Oscar Rivas’ amateur background and watch the tape. Not only did he take part in the 2007 World Amateur Championships, losing to eventual silver medalist Vyacheslav Glazkov, he also fought in the 2008 Summer Olympics. There he lost to Roberto Cammarelle, the man who would secure gold.
While he fell short against the world’s elite, it’s noteworthy that “Kaboom” managed to overcome Cuba’s best offerings in Robert Alfonso and Orlando Rabi after initial defeats. He also got a points verdict over longtime professional heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev.
Stylistically, Rivas is typically the aggressor, working behind a straight, largely slackless jab—a sizeable portion of which are thrown to the body. He keeps his hands high in a traditional posture but understands how to move his head to slip hooks. As a fighter who stands 6’ tall, that’s needed. What is vital, as well, is that his secondary shots come in a variety of forms, and they do. Crosses and hooks to the body are preferred for the Canadian resident, making his inside game an interesting challenge for those who square up with him.
Rivas’ fairly muscular frame comes with surprisingly nimble feet, though he isn’t going to circle the entire distance and certainly isn’t fast enough to keep the world’s top players guessing. His swiftness of hand is above average, as is his power. He’s more of a wear-you-down kind of a guy.
So far, Rivas has managed to get by an array of fighters who are clearly above .500, but yet to fight someone a boxing aficionado would label a fringe contender. That’s what makes his next step intriguing. He’s paired with Philadelphia’s Bryant Jennings, a guy who has taken on Wladimir Klitschko and Luis Ortiz. Both were losing efforts but the former was a game performance. It’s a big jump.
Jennings, like Rivas, wants to press and get behind the jab. He doesn’t mind mixing it up and displays a craft you often see of Philly fighters. “By-By” has long arms (84” reach) for his height (6’3”), too. This, at least on paper, looks as if it may provide enough sustained action to keep a fan’s attention, on top of some adjustments so as not to be a sloppy brawl.
Bryant Jennings will be the favorite because of his deeper resume, but Oscar Rivas is on the ascending and ready to make his mark at 200+.