By Lee Bates / Photo: Jose Perez
PR Best Boxing promotions (Ivan & Peter Rivera) entered the sport of boxing unexpectedly, but once they were in they took full advantage of their opportunity. The Rivera brothers, who have been lifelong boxing fans started their own casual and surfwear business called ‘Xplotion’ in the early 1990s in Puerto Rico. They realized during that time there weren’t a lot of sponsorships for the professional boxers in Puerto Rico and they came up with the idea to sponsor fighters. Several world champion Puerto Rican fighters have worn their apparel such as world champions Felix Trinidad, Miguel Cotto, Wilfredo Vazquez Sr., and Daniel Santos just to name a few.
After sponsoring fighters, the Rivera brothers moved on to managing where their first fighter would be Santos. They would later have Santos sign with Top Rank, which was the beginning of a strong business realtionship that exists to this day.
In 2000 the Rivera brothers changed from management to become boxing promoters and formed their company known as “Puerto Rico’s Best Boxing Promotions.” Living up to their company name, they immediately signed the two ‘best’ fighters out of Puerto Rico in 2000 Olympians Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon. Both fighters would both go on to win world titles with PR Best Boxing Promotions. They would co-promote both fighters with Top Rank. Cotto they had through his first five world title defenses and Calderon they still co-promote with Top Rank.
For some that might have been good enough for a career but the Rivera brothers seem to just be getting started. Aside from still having world champion Calderon, their talent-loaded roster includes world champion Juan Manuel ‘Juanma’ Lopez, top contenders Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez, Alex “Pollo” De Jesus, and veterans/top contenders Eric Morel, and Jose “Carita” Lopez.
Fightnews spoke with Ivan, the younger of the two brothers, on how they came up with the company name, their relationship with Miguel Cotto, and expectations for even bigger things to come in 2009.
How long have you and your brother been a part of boxing?
It’s going on close to twenty years now. Our opportunity to become involved in boxing came through our casual and surfwear business called ‘Xplotion’. We began sponsoring fighters who wore our apparel like Felix Trinidad, Wilfredo Vazquez Sr., and Daniel Santos.
You managed Santos correct?
That’s correct. He was the first fighter we managed and we later signed him with Top Rank which began a great business relationship with them. We became promoters ourselves in 2000 and formed PR Best Boxing.
Do you still have your casual and surfwear business?
We still own the business but it is now being run by Peter’s wife Clara Casillas-Rivera. Peter and I have been working fulltime in boxing for quite some time now.
How did you come up with the boxing promotional name PR Best Boxing?
The PR part was the easy as it stands for Puerto Rico. We wanted to keep the tradition of putting on the best events in Puerto Rico and producing the best fighters Puerto Rico has to offer and that’s where the ‘best’ part of our company name comes from. We also have goals to do things that haven’t been done before in Puerto Rico boxing before.
Have you reached some of those goals?
Yes we have. In 2002 we had the first ESPN televised event in Puerto Rico which was important because ESPN boxing is a nationally televised show and it gave major exposure to Puerto Boxing. In 2003 we had the first major pay-per-view boxing event in Puerto Rico. So we’ve done some things and expect to do a lot more in the future.
How is your relationship with Miguel Cotto?
We have an excellent relationship with Miguel. We are very proud of the success he had with and has had without us. We fully expect him to become champion again in 2009.
Speaking of 2009 it seems that your fighters will be in a number of significant fights in the upcoming year correct?
Yes, We have Jose “Carita” Lopez fighting for the WBO interim title February 7th, Rocky Martinez for the WBO super featherweight title in early 2009, and Eric Morel scheduled to fight for the WBO bantamweight title in early 2009. Aside from that we have the possibility of mega fights for our current world champions Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez (WBO super bantamweight champion) and Ivan “Iron boy” Calderon (WBO light flyweight champion) in 2009. The boxing public should expect very big things to happen for PR Best Boxing in 2009 as do we.
For more information on PR Best Boxing and their future events visit prbestboxing.net