Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will face Marco Antonio Rubio on February 4 in San Antonio, live on HBO. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will put his WBC middleweight title on the line on February 4 against Marco Antonio Rubio in San Antonio, part of an HBO double-header that will also include Nonito Donaire facing Wilfredo Vazquez Jr for the vacant WBO super bantamweight belt.
Chavez (44-0-1, 31 KO) is "supposed" to be facing Sergio Martinez next or facing a stripping of his title belt, but as expected the WBC is appearing to play favorites and not sticking by their tough talk of "Sergio or stripped" from before.
The whole thing is a near-perfect example of boxing nonsense as Rubio (53-5-1, 46 KO) supposedly won a WBC eliminator in April 2011 with his upset of then-unbeaten David Lemieux, but then the WBC said that was not an eliminator fight, but Rubio became the No. 1-ranked challenger anyway.
Since defeating Lemieux, Rubio has fought a bunch of scrubs to protect his status and stay active, while Chavez picked up the belt from paper champ to end paper champs Sebastian Zbik in June, pulled out of a lame fight with Ronald Hearns in September, and then beat fringe contender Peter Manfredo Jr in November.
Meanwhile, Sergio Martinez was moronically stripped of his WBC belt in March because he fought Sergiy Dzinziruk instead of Sebastian Zbik, as HBO turned down Martinez vs Zbik (but not Zbik vs Chavez, neither of whom had ever fought on HBO), but did win the WBC "Diamond" belt in that fight with Dzinziruk, and defended successfully against Darren Barker in October.
So now here we are with Martinez and promoter Lou DiBella saying they will NOT step aside and that they expect the WBC to honor their promise, because, y'know, Martinez and DiBella are new to boxing, and this whole thing gives them both the vapors. The WBC? Not honoring a promise? Protecting and favoring a popular Mexican fighter?! WHAAAAAT?!
Martinez appears headed toward a fight with Matthew Macklin on March 17, possibly at Madison Square Garden. Chavez vs Rubio is happening on February 4. That's where this is all at right now. The good news is that Chavez vs Rubio and Donaire vs Vazquez both have good potential to be exciting fights, and Martinez vs Macklin is a good fight, too, and well, sometimes we "don't care about the belts," but then later we pretend it's a big deal that Chavez isn't going to fight Martinez, as if there's some competitive matchup there, so in the end, honestly, I think it all works out fine.