He trained for four months under boxing guru Jimmy Nickerson -- who had prepared Sylvester Stallone for some of his Rocky movies, as well as Robert De Niro for Raging Bull -- and, at 50, displayed perhaps his sharpest physique ever. Under Frank Zuñiga's crisply directed camera movements, he looked amazing slugging it out against younger and hulkier B-movie star Matthias Hues.
Fist Fighter raked in $15 million in the United States alone. American movie critics derided the script but praised the film's good look and star's screen presence. "Rivero projects a rarely seen burly wholesomeness, like a matinee idol from a gentle, less cynical era," wrote a Los Angeles Timesreviewer.
More recently, Rivero went back to Mexico to play the part of the fiendish Severin Cortes in the U.S.-produced The Pearl, based on the John Steinbeck novella. The film could be released this year. And Mexico's current crop of new filmmakers is a good sign of things to come, he says. He hopes to work with them soon.
Despite his being away for long periods of time, Rivero says reporters are still aware of his moves every time he returns to Mexico. Some of the younger moviegoers may not know who he is, but he is still recognized by the older ones.
He says, "I can feel that I am still in the heart of my fans."