by Hans Olson
“Marco will fight Chavez any time, any place, anywhere.”
“His own backyard.”
“If he wants Marco in November he can have Marco in November. Whenever Chavez decides he’s ready to step up to the plate and fight a real fighter, Marco will be there.”
Julio Gudino III, manager of the WBC’s #1 ranked Middleweight Marco Antonio Rubio (52-5-1), affirms with clarity that Rubio has every intention to fight and defeat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, the WBC’s current Middleweight champion.
“You know, it’s one of those unfortunate circumstances where you’ve got a guy like Chavez who’s got the money, the team, and he’s making money for a lot of people,” continued Gudino. “So they’re going to do everything they can to protect him and give him his longevity as a champion. Generally, you’re going to have one optional fight prior to the mandatory, but in this case they’ve given him 12 months to defend his title against the mandatory challenger.”
This past April, Marco earned that status as the mandatory challenger to the winner of Julio Chavez Jr/Sebastian Zbik, scoring an Upset-of-the-Year type win against the previously undefeated David Lemieux.
Hardly a fighter who gets preferential treatment, Rubio has seen it all in his ten plus years as a professional prize fighter. He’s been in wars, and he’s knocked others out quickly. He’s lost just as quickly, and won shockingly. He’s been on the wrong end of split decisions, moreover won some close ones. Through it all, Rubio fights on.
When he beat Lemieux, it was a career defining win in a career that has been defined by his unending work ethic, and a refusal to ever give up.
“Marco’s been doing this for so many years—he has a record that speaks for itself. He’s fought hard each and every day through his career. He’s never backed down. Marco has never cancelled a fight, has never been injured to have had to cancel a fight, has never been overweight and needed to cancel a fight. Guys like Chavez have the money, the star power, and the marketing team behind them. They get these opportunities to be world champions without having to have fought their way to that title. It burns these true boxers that have lived their life in the ring.”
Just last Saturday, Rubio continued his winning streak with a 5th-round TKO against
Ghana’s Mohammed Akrong. “You always want a little more of a challenge on these fights,” acknowledged Gudino. “Akrong was a tough, tough guy though. He took a lot of punches, stayed in there, kept coming forward, but it was just that—a stay busy fight.”
Julio said their team’s plan is to keep Marco’s fight schedule right on pace with Chavez and his fighting schedule; their hope being that it will eliminate any additional obstacles in securing the fight they want. “Since Chavez is going to be fighting November 17, our goal will probably be to have another fight near or around that time. That way, there will be no excuses. If we fight close or near that November 17 date, we’re going to be ready to fight. We don’t’ want to hear from Chavez’s camp ‘oh he just fought and we need to take a break.’ Well, we’ll be able to say ‘hey we just fought too and we’re ready!’”
There is also the fear that getting Chavez in the ring with Marco just may never happen.
“We’re waiting,” adds Gudino. “We’re here. We’re not going anywhere. Marco has been prepared. We’ve sought Chavez Jr. out for a number of years even before he was champion. He’s always dodged Marco. We don’t feel there’s any change at this point other than, now it’s just a waiting game. Hopefully it’ll come sooner than later.”
If the Chavez fight never develops, Marco Antonio Rubio could be an option to challenge Sergio Martinez, one of the top-3 fighters in world, pound for pound. “In the event that the fight against Chavez does not come to fruition, we’re going straight forward to Sergio,” said Gudino. “The Sergio camp is willing to do the fight, we’re willing to do the fight, we’re just going to wait a tad bit more to see what plays out, because not only does Marco want to fight Chavez…so does Sergio! Between the two of us, I think we’re going to sit tight a little bit and see what plays out with Chavez come November.”
The ideal situation for Team Rubio though, would be to fight Chavez before Martinez. “Part of the issue is, when you go into an eliminator fight, you have an understanding of where your career is going after that fight,” explained Gudino. “In your head and in your heart, it’s part of your career path that the winner of Chavez/Zbik is my guy, and that’s who I’m going to fight for the world title. Hands down, I mean we’d be remiss to not tell you, ‘yeah, Sergio is the much more difficult fight than Chavez is.’ Nobody’s hiding from that fact. Again, Marco has no problem stepping into the ring with Sergio…and that may be what’s going to happen.”
Logistically, it makes sense for all parties involved.
“If wee fight Chavez, win the title, we would probably have one optional, and then we would have to go and unify the Diamond Emeritus title with the World title against Sergio. Come high tide low tide we will be getting in the ring with Sergio Martinez, which will be a phenomenal fight.”
So many scenarios to confuse even the most seasoned boxing fan…but that’s boxing. For Marco Antonio Rubio, he’s happy just fighting, and knows a big fight, one way or another, awaits him. Julio Gudino and the rest of Team Rubio feel the same way.
“Like Marco says, he’s always been here…and he will stay here.”
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson
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