By Hans Olson
“Look, I’m the number-one WBC ranked middleweight,” said Marco Antonio Rubio when I spoke with him last week.
“You know, Chavez needs to fight with me by June 4th . He keeps saying that it’s all his promoter’s decision—and hopefully they’re going to force the fight. If not, based on the regulations and the rules of the WBC—they’ll vacate his championship title.”
Marco Antonio Rubio made his point crystal clear.
“I want to fight him anytime, any day.”
First things first, Rubio (52-5-1) will have to take care of business Friday night in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. He’ll face veteran Matt Vanda (44-13) in a bout scheduled for 12 rounds. Vanda, who has twice been in the ring with the aforementioned Chavez Jr., is not someone that Rubio takes lightly.
“You know I think in the first fight Matt Vanda had with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, I think he won that fight,” said Marco. “On the second fight, I thought Chavez looked more prepared and won. But Matt Vanda’s a good fighter. We’re not taking anything lightly and we’re coming into the fight as serious as we do for all of our opponents.”
With a tentative date of February 4, 2012 at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, TX on hold…and with HBO’s muscle likely on board, Chavez and his team at Top Rank have a decision to make: Will they fight Marco Antonio Rubio?
“I’m not sure what the issue is,” continued Marco. “I hope the WBC orders the fight, and hopefully there won’t be any excuses that he continually comes up with. And if his promoter won’t let him [fight me], that’s his promoter’s decision.”
In some ways, Marco Antonio Rubio may have had a better chance getting a shot at Chavez Jr. had he lost to David Lemieux back in April’s WBC eliminator. He would have been viewed as just another ranked contender for Chavez to face. Unfortunately for Chavez, Rubio won…and now appears much more threatening.
Since his loss to Kelly Pavlik back in February 2009, Rubio has looked sensational winning 9 straight (8 coming by way of knockout). His impressive showings have proved to be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to getting the top names to now fight him.
“It’s one of those ‘you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t’ situations,” explains Marco. “The better I look, the more difficult it is because these promoters, they want to protect their little gold mine. I’m in that position where I understand I’m not a golden boy. I don’t have the name of a Chavez, or the name of a legend—and I understand that. But to be a true champion you need to fight the best. You need to fight the top contenders, and I fortunately right now am number one. Unfortunately, the people aren’t seeing a champion fight the number one contender. They’re watching him fight guys that just are not the mandatory, number-one guys.”
Which isn’t to say Marco feels Julio will be an easy fight either.
“I think he’s getting better. I don’t take the fight lightly, and I don’t think he’s just a simple, easy opponent…but I don’t know what the fear is of fighting me. I’m ready, I’m the number-one mandatory. This stuff with him not being ready, it’s his promoter’s decision…enough is enough. A mandatory is a mandatory, and the commission should be ordering the fight. He should step up and give the people what they want to see.”
A fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Marco Antonio Rubio would be a terrific test for each fighter, and a fight many fans would be interested in. For Marco Antonio Rubio, he represents the opposite to what the perceived image is of Chavez; the common thought being that Chavez has had an easy route to a title. I’m not saying I agree with that perception…I think anyone who gets to where Julio is deserves it—regardless of where they began.
It’s just that you can’t help but view Rubio as a true fighter’s fighter…not just the son of a fighter.
“My career, my life has been boxing,” states Rubio. “These last few years have been engulfed in boxing. My family is always my priority, my daughter. I’ve always got that. When I’m not in the ring and I’m not training though, I’m still somewhat training because I’ve got my own gym and I like to be there with the kids training and working with up and coming boxing. It’s kind of my hobby outside of the ring. My life is boxing.”
Boxing is everything to Marco Antonio Rubio. It’s what he is.
“That’s kind of the frustrating part…when you have guys that have not made boxing their life or their passion, and you have to sit on the sidelines and watch and wait your turn. I love boxing, and this is who I am right now.”