Though he wasn't one of the three names mentioned by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr following his win over Marco Antonio Rubio tonight in San Antonio, Dan Rafael of ESPN.com tweets tonight that Top Rank is already making a move to match Andy Lee with Chavez in his next fight.
Chavez (45-0-1, 31 KO) wasn't at his best last night in a somewhat sluggish performance, but got the win and marches forward. After the fight, he specifically named true middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, Miguel Cotto, and Antonio Margarito as fighters he was interested in facing.
But Rafael says that Top Rank has already talked to HBO about a fight against Lee (27-1, 19 KO), and the network is very interested.
This is a fight that actually came up in November after Chavez defeated Peter Manfredo Jr, but was ruled out due to the fact that Lee is a southpaw. That came from Top Rank, the choice to not match Chavez with a lefty. Apparently, after tonight's iffy performance brought on mostly due to suspected poor conditioning and preparation for the fight, they feel he's now ready for Lee.
I said then that I liked that fight a lot, and I still do. It's legitimately dangerous. Lee and Chavez are both flawed fighters, short on defense, who like to fight and throw their hands. Lee can punch and the southpaw aspect is a change-up for Chavez. It's certainly no easy fight if it actually goes through.
After that, apparently Top Rank really does want to do a fight between Chavez and Antonio Margarito, which I've said repeatedly is a crap fight but is unfortunately one that makes some sense. With both fighters being well-known Mexicans, it's a seller at the gate.
What hurts its credibility is that Margarito (38-8, 27 KO) is no middleweight. He was a huge welterweight, makes for an average junior middleweight, and however you choose to slice it, he's shown no real punching power since the night Shane Mosley almost decapitated him. By the time Margarito gets into a ring next, it may be four years since his last credible victory.
Oh, and Margarito has an eye that is always going to cut his fights short and all but ruin his chances at winning. There's not a halfway credible middleweight in the world I'd pick Margarito to beat at this point. He's a well-known non-entity now, a Mexican Ricardo Mayorga with a physical defect.
But the Lee fight, yeah, I can get behind that. Lee recently lost out on a bid to face Felix Sturm on April 13. Sturm will instead face Sebastian Zbik, the fighter Chavez defeated for the WBC belt in 2011.