Marco Antonio Rubio is getting a shot at Julio Cesar Chavez Jr's WBC middleweight title in San Antonio on February 4, his first HBO main event in an 11-year career, and the veteran Mexican slugger doesn't plan to mess around: He tells Sal Rodriguez that he'll be going for the knockout from the opening bell.
"I will go for everything from the moment the bell rings. I want to knock Chavez Jr. out. I don’t want to leave the decision to the judges and wait for a wrong decision."
This is the right approach for the 31-year-old Rubio (53-5-1, 46 KO) who not only probably can't count on getting the scorecards in his favor with Chavez (44-0-1, 31 KO) being such a cash cow and likely to get such a reaction for everything he does, but I honestly don't think Rubio is a good enough boxer to outbox Chavez convincingly over 12 rounds.
Can he knock out the much-hyped Chavez? That's another story. Yes, Rubio's a good puncher, and he can knock him out if he lands a perfect shot, but even if he fights his very best, will he be able to catch Chavez clean enough, often enough to stop him?
I know Chavez isn't a diehard fan favorite, and I know his record is not a reflection of his true talent level. But one thing I can say is that Chavez, 25, appears to take a shot pretty damn well. He's been hit plenty in past fights, as defense isn't his strong suit (Freddie Roach is working on it), but he's held up thus far.
Of course, Rubio may be the best pure puncher Chavez has faced to date.
My gut feeling is that Chavez will win this fight clean and clear. He's a huge middleweight, and will come in anywhere between 175 and 185 pounds for this fight. Rubio, at 5'10" with a 70" reach, is a small middleweight, and if you saw him fight Kelly Pavlik, he looked clearly undersized that time out, and Pavlik is around the same size as Chavez.
The best thing this fight can really give us is action, no matter who wins or loses. Rubio does have the ability to bang, but I think he might be at a power disadvantage here, as well as a size disadvantage, and if they go toe-to-toe, I'm going to favor the younger, bigger, stronger guy.