The fans at the Alamodome did the wave midway through the main event in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday night, and that wasn't in homage to the thrilling spectacle in the ring. The tussle really didn't generate any buzz till round 11, when Julio Cesar Chavez Jr really upped the ante, and tried to smoke Marco Antonio Rubio. He didn't manage to take him out but he did dominate the underdog, who fought at the level he usually does against B+ and above-level boxers. The judges confirmed the obvious, seeing it 118-110, 116-112, 115-113 for Chavez Junior.
Fans wondered with Chavez' weigh-in woes and the news of his Jan. 22 bust for drinking and driving if Rubio would take his O, but the underdog didn't look like he thought he had an opening what with the weight woes and possible mental drain of the arrest.Then again, he was a super middleweight in against a light heavyweight, as Chavez was 22 pounds more than he was Friday. Junior went 237-560 to 201-962 for Rubio, who was much sound and not enough fury in what should be his last chance at a high profile strap.
Larry Merchant talked to Junior after, and some in the crowd booed the boxer. Junior said the weight woes affected him, and after the seventh or eighth, his legs were not cooperating. Did he learn from the weight problem? He said he will stay at 160 and will try to be more diligent and try not to be overconfident. Next up? Sergio Martinez, Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto, he said. He said if Bob Arum picked Martinez, he'd do it next. “If I fight like I did today, Martinez would win, but I know what I am capbale of, and I will prepare, and I will win,” he said.
The WBC middleweight champion Chavez Jr (from Mexico; 44-0 entering; age 25 ) was 159 ½ pounds and Rubio (from Mexico; 53-5-1 entering; age 31) was 159 ½ pounds on Friday.
Glenn Crocker, Jack Woodburn and Duane Ford were the judges and Guadalupe Garcia was the ref.
Chavez said in a pre-taped interview with Larry Merchant that making weight wasn’t horrid, and that the scale in his room was a pound lower than the official scale. “I’m in very good physical condition,” he insisted. He was asked if he was outgrowing 160. “No, not at all, I want to be in this division for awhile,” he said. He was asked about living up to the standards of his dad. “Everyone subconsciously wants me to be like my father,” he said, and said that can be problematic. “I want to make history just like my father did.” Jim Lampley said Larry didn’t ask about his DUI two weeks ago because they didn’t want to affect the competition.
Lampley said he looked “emaciated” and “translucent” at the weigh-in, so we wondered how his energy would look against Rubio.
In the first, Jr landed a long right. Merchant said he was 21 pounds heavier than on Friday. His energy seemed fine but what about in a few rounds? Trainer Freddie Roach after the round told Jr to jab more, and land the overhand right off a lazy jab. Jorge Rodriguez told his guy not to be overconfident, and think Jr can’t hit.
In the second, Jr did the body work he’s known for, and Rubio tried some of the same. Rubio wasn’t bombing, just being a bit busier. Jr tried to steal the round.
In the third, Jr squared up, played peekaboo, and then ripped when he saw an opening or angle. Harold Lederman had it 29-28 after three.
In the fourth, the two banged heads, but not too hard. Rubio’s punches didn’t possess “destruct and destroy” type oomph, so we wondered if the judges would smile on him. Roach asked for more jabs from Junior after the round.
In fifth, there was a timeout as Rubio strayed low. The underdog got backed into the corner a few times, and wasn’t answering with needed fury.
In the sixth, Rubio backed up too much. He wasn’t sending the message that he wanted the win. By the way, the corners were informed of the scores during the bout, as is WBC custom out of the US. The announce crew wasn’t sure wasn’t sure why this was occurring in Texas. In the seventh, Rubio in retreat wasn’t bothering Junior, who kept plowing forward, head bowed. Roach asked for a hook-n-roll after the round.
In the eighth, Junior was warned for throwing a left elbow. He had a solid round, apart from that. “I’ll say this about Rubio, he’s got a cool mustache,” Merchant said after the round. LOL.
In the ninth, it was more of the same, not a thrilling fight. The crowd buzzed in round 11, when Jr. pressed the pace. The crowd rose, and not to do the wave. “Raging bull!” Lampley screamed as Chavez clanged shots. This was the effort the fans desired. In the 12th, there were some good trades. We'd go to the cards.
Check out this Boxing Channel video of trainer Roach assessing Junior's performance.
SPEEDBAG Jim Lampley lauded Goody Petronelli, Wayne Kelly and Angelo Dundee, who passed away this week. “There are few people in boozing who were more beloved than Angelo Dundee,” Lampley said.
Michael Buffer also gave a shoutout to Goody and Dundee. “St. Peter, open your gates wide and please welcome two true treasures of the sport of boxing,” he said, before asking for a memorial ten count.
Larry Merchant said he covered Carmen Basilio-Sugar Ray Robinson at Yankee Stadium with Dimaggio and Hemingway ringside, with Dundee in Basilio’s corner. “Just one of the best guys ever, a guy who made this roughest and toughest of games fun to be around,” Merchant said, as he choked up.