World-class professional boxing returns to Hard Rock Event Center with “Rumble at the Rock IV” on Friday, March 1! We caught up with the Director of Boxing at The Heavyweight Factory, Henry Rivalta, to discuss the boxing world, what makes a great fighter, and more.
What was your introduction to boxing?
My intro to boxing was in 2001 when my brother-in-law asked me if I wanted to manage a fighter. His name was Lou Del Valle, former WBA light heavyweight champion of the world. I had no experience at the time but something inside told me to do it. It was truly a learning experience
— like going to college and paying for semesters in order to receive the necessary knowledge to one day co-exist in the business.
You’ve worked with a lot of great fighters in your career. What makes a great fighter?
I’ve had the pleasure of working with many great fighters and have been part of championship teams. In my humble opinion, what makes a great fighter is their desire to be better daily. It’s that want and drive that you need to become an elite athlete and work even harder once you reach your goal. That’s what makes a great champion.
What kind of fighting styles can we expect to see at Rumble at the Rock IV?
You can expect all types of styles as we have prepared a wide variety of weight classes to ensure a little bit of everything. These 11 fights will be more than exciting as each fighter is matched very evenly.
What sort of training have the fighters been doing to prepare for Rumble at the Rock IV?
They have been working extremely hard, pushing their limits. No one wants to give the other the upper hand.
Boxing has evolved in many ways over the years. How have you had to adapt over the years in the boxing world?
I’ve had to adapt with the times. I have been blessed in the sport and have had the privilege to work with great individuals and entities. I am friends with most of the boxing world and I know just about everyone in the business which makes it a lot easier for me. I started as a manager for fighters from 2001 through 2005. In 2006, I started doing events as a promoter with the mayor of Miami at the time, Julio Martinez. I then moved on to Top Level Boxing Promotions, which was my company, and owned my own boxing gym with my brother-in-law Herman Caicedo. That’s where I truly started to understand the dynamics of the business. I later served as Director of Boxing from 2009-2012 at The Heavyweight Factory. I then moved to serve as Director of Boxing Operations for Acquinity Sports which later became Iron Mike Productions where I served as COO. Times changed and I went back to managing fighters with my company, Rivalta management. From 2015 to present time I serve as Director of Boxing Operations for Mr. Kris Lawrence at the Heavyweight Factory. He’s a great man and it’s the most fantastic place I have ever been part of. My peers here all treat me with a lot of class and respect and I couldn’t ask for a better place to be at this time in my life. Being able to co-promote events with All Star Boxing and my dear friends Tutico Zabala and Ruben Dejesus has also been a real pleasure. Evolving has been instrumental. God seems to have placed me back where I needed to be. My dear friend Don King told me in 2004 that relationships are worth more than money in this business. He was surely right.
What do you think is the greatest era of boxing?
The greatest era of boxing was the old heavyweight era. They were hands down the most competitive era ever — from our Olympic team cleaning up medals to our pros holding the word titles. I remember guys like Riddick Bowe, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Oliver McCall, Shannon Briggs, Lennox Lewis, The Spinks Brother, Larry Holmes, Ray Mercer, Chris Byrd, the Klitschko brothers , Tony Tucker, Michael Moorer and last but not least the great Muhammad Ali. The heavyweight division for me set the greatest era for boxing and I truly hope it comes back. It sure seems like that’s where it’s headed but those are hard shoes to fill.
Derrieck Cuevas has said fans will see the best version of him they’ve ever seen in this fight against Ed Paredes. How has he been preparing mentally and physically for this fight in contrast to past fights?
I advised Derrieck to truly be ready. This is his stiffest test yet. Ed is no walk in the park. He’s a hard hitting boxer who has a left hook that can cause a knockout at any time. He has to prepare mentally because Ed is the local hometown kid here in Hollywood. Ed’s losses are fights he took on very short notice. He has never been stopped. Derrieck has to bring his ‘A’ game in order to win.
Ed Paredes said he took some time off to heal his body prior to this fight. How has he geared up to prepare for this fight after taking time off?
Ed is a tough warrior and a veteran in the sport. The time off is good for certain fighters but it is not for everyone. In this case it could be helpful because a little break comes in handy from time to time. If he has healed and he comes in shape it could be a very long night for Derrieck. For us the goal is to put evenly matched bouts in the ring and bring south Florida pure boxing at its best. We are the #1 promotional firm in South Florida and the busiest. I wish these two warriors the best of luck. May the best man win.
Tickets to Rumble at the Rock IV at Hard Rock Event Center are on sale now!