Marco Antonio Rubio - "I Will Knock Pavlik Out!"
Exclusive Interview by James Slater , photo by Sumio Yamada - Fans are eagerly awaiting the ring return of middleweight world champion Kelly Pavlik. Opposing "The Ghost" in his comeback fight on February 21st will be Mexico's 28-year-old Marco Antonio Rubio, 43-4-1(37). Pavlik's #1 contender, the Mexican has been waiting for his chance at Youngstown's finest for some time.
Article posted on 17.01.2009
Rubio, who is unbeaten as a middleweight and who boxed a number of the world's top 154-pound fighters before making the move up, is confident of victory. Though he is seen as a fairly big underdog in the eyes of most, Rubio is sure he will prove the doubters wrong.
Very kindly taking time out recently to speak with this writer, direct from his training camp, Marco spoke (through his interpreter and manager Julio Gudino) in the calm, confident and sure manner associated with many fighters from his homeland..
James Slater: It's great to speak with you, Marco. Firstly, how training has been going for the big fight on Feb 21st?
Marco Antonio Rubio: I have really been working well. I am training in Toluca, Mexico. I will begin sparring in the next few days. 2008 was the best year yet in my career as far as my training goes.
J.S: Have you been following Kelly's career - scouting him?
M.A.R: I'm Pavlik's mandatory, so yes. I have all his fights on tape and I was present at two of his fights.
J.S: What did you think to Pavlik's loss to Bernard Hopkins?
M.A.R: I take nothing from Pavlik as a fighter, but I felt that was a difficult fight in the making for Kelly right from the start.
J.S: Can you tell us what your game-plan will be in Feb?
M.A.R: I will be using my [physical] strength in this fight. My biggest assets are my strength and my power. I will win this fight by knocking Pavlik out. I want to show the world I am a real world champion. I will also be using Pavlik's defects as a fighter against him with my boxing skills. My boxing skills will accentuate his defects.
J.S: Some people feel Pavlik will have more pressure on him, coming back from a loss and all, and that you will have far less pressure on you. Do you agree?
M.A.R: I think Pavlik has some pressure on him, yes. But as far as myself, this is my first world title opportunity, so I feel the pressure is the same for me - if not even greater. In all honesty, we both have tremendous pressure on us, because we both have to show our true abilities in this fight.
J.S: What do you think about the claims some critics have that you are "tailor-made" for Pavlik?
M.A.R: The experts can say what they want and I respect all their opinions. But I think they are basing it [my chances] only on my recent fights.
J.S: You are a hard puncher for sure. What is your best punch though?
M.A.R: It's hard for me to say what my best punch is, as I have scored stoppages with several different punches - be it a body shot, a kidney shot, a right hand to the head, whatever. I have many different KO punches. I am agile in the ring and I can adapt to each opponent I face.
J.S: Do you feel you are at your very peak at age 28?
M.A.R: I do feel I am near the pinnacle of my career, yes. Like I say, 2008 was my best year so far. Not so much as in terms of wins, but in that the training has been so good and my mind has been so clear. My personal life is all in order now.
J.S: Up until 2006, most of your career had been fought down at 154. How would you rate yourself as a 154-pounder?
M.A.R: It was hard for me to make 154 and I was suffering from dehydration in my last few fights at 154. That is why I lost, I was going in with good fighters who were at their very peak and who were stronger at the weight than me. I have not lost a fight since moving up to middleweight.
J.S: Can I ask you about the 1st round loss you suffered against Kofi Jantuah?
M.A.B: There were a multitude of reasons for that loss, really. Above all I thought I was invincible, if you will, after [scoring] all my KO's. But I like to think I have proven myself to the public since. I have shown my heart and my determination since.
J.S: Do you rate Jantuah as your toughest-ever opponent?
M.A.R: No, Kasim "The Dream" Ouma was my most difficult opponent. It wasn't so much punching power or anything like that. But Ouma had such a crafty style and he was a southpaw. He never hurt me, but I couldn't keep up with his style and his work-rate. Also, I was a little worn out from training going into that fight.
J.S: It's been great speaking with you, Marco. What is your final prediction for the Pavlik fight?
M.A.R: I will win the fight by knocking Pavlik out.
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