It wasn't hard-hitting action all night long, but Julio Cesar Chavez Jr kept his belt and his undefeated record tonight.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr clearly had his struggles with making weight, which he admitted last night, but he won tonight's fight against Marco Antonio Rubio despite a mediocre performance. Chavez won by unanimous decision in San Antonio on scores of 118-110, 116-112, and 115-113. Bad Left Hook scored it 115-113 for Rubio, whose activity was as valuable as Chavez's bullying tactics, but it was a close fight that really could have gone either way. (118-110 was far too wide, however.)
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Chavez (45-0-1, 31 KO) just didn't have the same power and energy he usually does tonight. He was able to muscle the smaller Rubio, but often didn't do anything once he did get him to the ropes or into the corner. Rubio (53-6-1, 46 KO) kept pumping his hands, but to be entirely fair to Chavez, Rubio didn't do a ton of damage in the fight, and his activity was greater than his effectiveness in some ways.
Truthfully, neither Chavez nor Rubio looked particularly impressive tonight, and until the final two very spirited rounds, the fight was surprisingly dull.
What can Chavez take from this? Realistically, it's not a promising outing in any way. He had some issues preparing for the fight, clearly, including a reported drunk driving arrest a couple of weeks ago, and it appears we're far from out of the woods when it comes to Chavez's questionable training habits and dedication to the hard work that goes with the insta-fame that comes with daddy's name.
But he won the fight, and it's not really a huge argument that he didn't. You could score it close for Rubio -- which I did -- but it was very close either way. Chavez didn't rob Rubio, same as he didn't rob Sebastian Zbik last year, another fight I scored for Chavez's opponent.
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Is he ready for the true top names at 160? Is he really a top 10 guy?
If he's top 10, it's back-end, and the green trinket he got for a late/early Christmas gift last year doesn't prove that he's any better than that. Neither does a win over Rubio, a guy I said before I didn't buy as any big-time step up in competition from the likes of Manfredo or Zbik or even John Duddy.
After the fight, Chavez said he'd like to fight Sergio Martinez, Antonio Margarito, or Miguel Cotto next. That Martinez fight can be made any time he wants it, but chances seem very good that Margarito will be next. We'll have more on that tomorrow morning.
For now, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr remains unbeaten. How long he stays there will be up to his matchmakers in some ways, but up to him, too. If he comes to another fight in this kind of shape, he's going to have the same struggles he had tonight, and the other guy might be better than Rubio.