By James Slater: This coming Saturday night (Feb. 4th) in San Antonio, Texas, WBC middleweight champ Julio Cesar Chavez will meet dangerous power puncher and fellow Mexican Marco Antonio Rubio. An exciting, possible slugfest is anticipated and there will be much more on the line for unbeaten Chavez Jr than just his green belt.
Only a fool would look past the powerful fists of long-time contender Rubio, but Bob Arum has spoken about some of the bigger names the 25-year-old “Son of A Legend” could fight providing he’s victorious at The Alamodome. As big a deal as this Saturday’s potential rumble is to all fight fans but Mexican fans in particular, there are in store some much grander fights for the reigning WBC champ with the 44-0-1(31) ledger.
Arum, in speaking with The San Antonio Express, said it could well be Miguel Cotto next for Junior if Chavez gets past Rubio.
“It’s one step at a time with this kid,” Arum said of Chavez Jr. “If he can handle someone like Rubio, then we’re ready to move him.”
And Cotto’s name is well and truly in the frame for Chavez Jr later this year. Of course, the Puerto Rican star is also in the frame as a potential Floyd Mayweather opponent on May 5th (or maybe the next rival for Manny Pacquiao) and Cotto is very much in a position to be able to pick and choose as a result. But a Chavez Jr-Cotto fight, another addition to the passionate feud that is Mexico Vs. Puerto Rico in boxing, would be a huge event if it took place.
Arum also spoke about when Chavez will face REAL world middleweight ruler Sergio Gabriel Martinez; a fighter who has accused the young Mexican of shamelessly ducking him.
“He’ll fight Martinez when he’s ready to fight Martinez,” Arum said, adding, “I don’t think Martinez is all that good.”
Most fans disagree, and feel the Argentine southpaw known as “Maravilla” is indeed all that good; with most fans feeling the soon-to-be 37-year-old would take Chavez Jr to the cleaners. Again, there are big, big fights out there for Julio if he can get past Rubio at the weekend.
I think Chavez will be carrying more nerves into the ring than Rubio on Saturday, fully aware that his promising future is very much on the line. Sure, 31-year-old Rubio, 53-5-1(46) wants to win at all costs himself, but he has had a decent, long career already and would at least be satisfied in having given the sport his best shot if he were to lose – and would even a victorious Rubio get himself fights with the likes of Cotto? Chavez, with all those big, defining fights head of him, has more to lose than Rubio does.
This fight is the acid test for Chavez Jr, but I think he will pass the test in a rough encounter. Look for the Freddie Roach-trained boxer/puncher to survive a few scares in the early to middle rounds, before winning a quite gruelling points decision. True superstardom could await Chavez if he does come through with his belt and unbeaten record intact.
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