At the age of 23, Jean is a four-year pro. A prospect at 126 pounds, he was an amateur standout before his debut.
He stayed active with three fights in 2015, four in 2016, four in 2017, and three in 2018.
Jean stepped up to 10-round status for the first time on July 14, 2018, in New Orleans and won by first-round knockout against Angel Luna.
In his last fight on October 31 in Panama City, Panama, Jean lost a 10-round unanimous decision against Jason Sanchez. The bout was held during the WBO’s annual convention.
Maxboxing.com’s Andy Rivera reported [excerpts]: Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Jason Sanchez scored an upset win over Jean Carlos Rivera by 10 round unanimous decision to win the World Boxing Organization Youth featherweight title.
Rivera, from Puerto Rico, was considered the favorite over Sanchez and a sparkling 15-0 record. Although Sanchez was unbeaten, as well, entering the fight, he had not had a significant win and fought mostly at home in Albuquerque on small cards.
The competitive fight was close with each having their successful moments. Rivera was strong early in the fight but it was Sanchez who came on strong in the latter part of the fight.
In the 10th round Sanchez cemented the win when he staggered Rivera and hurt him, although sending him to the canvas the referee issued a [mandatory] eight count to Rivera giving Sanchez an extra point advantage.
The official decision was 97-92 twice while the third had it 96-93. [End Rivera item]
In an earlier interview, Jean said, “I train at Lopez Boxing Gym in Orlando, Florida. We’ve got a couple of pros in the gym around my weight class or a little heavier and we usually spar each other. We have other friends who are pro boxers and amateur boxers, and they come and help us out before fights.
“My style – I’m more of an old-style Puerto Rican fighter. I move and use angles, but I switch up if I have to – if the fight is toe-to-toe, I’ll fight toe-to-toe. I do whatever I have to do to win, but mostly I’m a boxer.”
Regarding his nickname, he said, “The first week that I was in the gym with my trainer, we were doing the mitts. He felt my power and just started calling me Chapito – Little Chapo.”
In an earlier interview, trainer Alex Lopez said, “I’ve trained Jean since he was 11 years old and my wife, Miriam, is his manager.
“We named him ‘Chapito.’ I grew up in the gym in Puerto Rico with Edwin Rosario, the lightweight champion of the world, and his nickname was ‘Chapo.’ I fought as an amateur and I used to train with Rosario in the gym. I also started training fighters at a young age, and I helped train Rosario when I was younger, too. I also trained with Wilfredo Vazquez, Juan Nazario – they were all world champions.
“Jean is similar to Rosario – he can box and he can crack with both hands. He’s a natural-born puncher, just like Chapo was, so we named him Chapito – Little Chapo.
“This kid was born to be great.”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Jean said, “I was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. I have two brothers, one older and one younger, and an older sister. My family moved to Orlando when I was about seven years old. My father – he’s my stepfather, but I consider him my father – works in construction, and my mom is a school bus driver. My stepfather never boxed. My real father, he was a professional boxer back in his day. His name is Angel Santiago.
“I started boxing when I was around 10, 11 years old. I always loved boxing ever since I was a kid. They used to put the fights on here on pay-per-view when any of the top names were fighting, like Miguel Cotto. They would put it on here in the living room and have a big family party to watch the fights. I was about six or seven years old. All the other kids were outside playing hide-and-seek, and stuff like that, and I would just sit inside and watch the fights.
“I started boxing in one gym for about four months later, then I took some time off from boxing – I didn’t really know what I was doing. Then Alex Lopez opened his gym. My dad found a flyer for it at a pizzeria – as soon as it opened, we went to the gym and Alex has been training me ever since. Basically, he’s taught me everything.
“I had my first fight when I was 13 years old. I had around 60, almost 70 amateur fights – maybe 66, 67 fights. I don’t remember how many wins and losses. Most of my fights were in Puerto Rico and they don’t keep records of the fights, but I probably had around seven, eight losses. I won the PAL tournament two years in a row when I was 16 or 17. My trainer didn’t like for me to fight in big amateur tournaments. He’s been in boxing a long time and he knows there are a lot of tricks – people try to steal fights and stuff like that – so he always just kept us under the radar.”…
Jean won several amateur tournaments including two PAL tournaments, a Title Championship, the Florida State championships, and the annual Julian Jackson Tournament…
Jean is also responsible for introducing Felix Verdejo to boxing…Felix said, “I started boxing when I was nine years old. One day I was playing baseball and there was this kid throwing rocks at me. I went to my father to complain. The other kid was a boxer and his father said, ‘If you have a problem with him, put the boxing gloves on and spar a little bit.’ So, we sparred, and the father of the other kid saw how well I managed myself and said I should go to the gym.”…Felix’ manager-trainer Ricky Marquez added, “I trained the other kid, Jean Rivera – the one that was throwing rocks at Felix that day – and he brought Felix to me. That was the first day that Felix came to the gym. Now Felix and Jean are like brothers.”…
STRENGTHS: Has good skills and movement…has good punching power, a good body puncher…had a strong amateur background…
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 16 fights…65 total rounds…
AVERAGE LENGTH OF BOUTS: 4 rounds…
KNOCKOUT PERCENTAGE: of total fights – 62 %…of wins – 66 %…
DISTANCE FIGHTS: 10 rounds – 1 (0-1)…8 rounds – 1 (1-0)…