Boxing’s back and we couldn’t be more excited. After the normal year end sprint that seems to be happening lately there’s been a real lack of exciting match-ups since the December 17th Super Six finale. Starting this weekend that all changes and there is a eight week stretch of quality fights on either Showtime or HBO.
This Saturday in San Antonio, TX we see WBC Middleweight title holder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. match up with the hard hitting veteran, Marco Antonio Rubio. The undercard on this could easily headline it’s own Boxing After Dark episode as the number five ranked fighter on our pound for pound list, Nonito Donaire steps up in weight to meet Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in Donaire’s first fight in the bantamweight division.
We’ll cover the less interesting of the two fights first. Donaire might be taking a step up in weight but this fight really shouldn’t be much more then a warm up for him in the 122lb weight class. He was right in not making the jump in weight and immediately fighting one of the elite fighters and this fight should serve to give him a chance to see how well he can adapt at a higher weight class in terms of hand speed and lateral movement. Although I believe this ends in a stoppage before the seventh round, Vazquez will do something Donaire’s last opponent, Omar Narvaez, didn’t do. And that’s stand and trade with Donaire and actually engage the Filipino fighter. It might not be the recipe for a victory but it certainly will make for an exciting fight while it lasts. Let’s face it, no one is really expecting a close one becuase the fights everyone is excited to see are Donaire against Guillermo Rigondeaux and Toshiaki Nishioka. Bigger challenges certainly lie ahead for Donaire and boxing fans are lucky for it.
Marco Antonio Rubio and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. presents a much more interesting fight. There always seem to be people echoing the “Chavez fights bums” argument prior to any of his fights. That can’t be the case here as Marco Antonio Rubio brings a set of heavy hands full of KO power and the ability to be the spoiler to this fight. Just ask David Lemieux what underestimating Rubio can get you. Lemieux was another undefeated boxer who couldn’t withstand Rubio’s power.
That isn’t to say Chavez Jr. doesn’t have an advantage in not only hand speed but natural size as well. In him we have a fighter that fights in the middleweight division but could easily move up to the super middleweight division without trouble. He generally rehydrates to a cruiserweight level which gives him a big advantage over Rubio. Chavez has also shown hints of the iron chin which made his father so famous. He’ll need it against Rubio. The Torreon, Mexico born warrior has made a career out of knocking cats out with his powerful punches and Chavez Jr. would just be another upset in his career. This fight could go either way as far as we’re concerned. But we’re gonna put ourselves out there and say Rubio by late round stoppage in a thriller.
Regardless of the outcomes, Saturday night looks like a fun night of fights. Hopefully it starts a trend for the next couple of weeks.