Chavez Jr. Wins Unanimous Decision

By Kieran Mulvaney

Photo Credit: Will hartSometimes it’s important simply to win, to take the victory by whatever means necessary, go home and tend to the bruises, and look for a spectacular win another day. Sometimes a fighter has to suck up the adversity and the obstacles and gut it out.

On Saturday night in San Antonio, both Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Nonito Donaire emerged victorious after battles that were perhaps more grueling than either might have wished or expected, but which were nonetheless clear enough that the trajectories of their professional careers will continue upward.

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CompuBox Analysis: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs Marco Antonio Rubio

By CompuBox

With every passing fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. carries an unenviable burden of proof every time he steps between the ropes: Can he live up to the legend whose name he carries?

So far he's passed virtually every test -- a six-round draw to Carlos Molina in December 2006 is his only blemish -- but many believe mandatory challenger Marco Antonio Rubio presents a new level of danger. The oddsmaker don’t think so, as they made Chavez nearly a 4-1 favorite.  Rubio carries a formidable 53-5 (46 KO) record, the experience of a 12-year veteran and plenty of give-and-take battles against well-regarded names.

Will the "Son of the Legend" clear this vital hurdle or will Rubio prove to be his stumbling block? Their CompuBox histories offer these clues:

> Read more CompuBox analysis of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs Marco Antonio Rubio on HBO.com

The Pros and Cons of Being Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

By Eric Raskin

Photo Credit: Ed MulhollandJulio Cesar Chavez Jr. is, by the most literal of definitions, another Julio Cesar Chavez.

But in the more figurative sense, he ain’t no Julio Cesar Chavez.

And nobody ever really expected him to be.

Junior turned pro at age 17 as a big-name novelty, selling tickets and headlining minor pay-per-views on the strength of that name that his Hall of Fame father established. Now, nearing his 26th birthday, Junior is still a big-name novelty. It’s just that the balance between those two defining terms has shifted. There’s only the slightest hint of novelty remaining, and he’s become one of the biggest names in boxing partially on the strength of what he – not his father – has done.

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On a Career-Saving Upswing, Marco Antonio Rubio poses a real threat to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

By Kieran Mulvaney

Photo Credit: Chris PolkSeven years ago, Kofi Jantuah and Marco Antonio Rubio were both once-beaten junior middleweights looking to earn a shot at a world title. But when they met in an eliminator at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in September 2004, only one of them looked on track to become a world-beater. And it wasn’t Rubio.

Within 30 seconds of the opening round, Jantuah flattened his Mexican opponent with a left hook that sent him crashing to the canvas. Rubio managed to roll on to his hands and knees, but in attempting to reach verticality, he toppled over again. Just like that, the fight was over.

The next time Rubio laced up for a major television audience was five years later, when he was offered as a sacrificial lamb to then-middleweight-champion Kelly Pavlik. After a dispiriting defeat to light heavyweight kingpin Bernard Hopkins in October 2008, Pavlik needed a confidence-rebuilding win. And in front of Pavlik’s hometown Youngstown crowd, everything unfolded according to script: Rubio offered minimal resistance, and Pavlik battered him for nine rounds en route to a TKO victory.

With that, Rubio might have been consigned forever to a role as a professional opponent, but the Pavlik defeat marked a turning point in his career, the point at which he determined to rededicate himself and improve his craft. “A lot of things came together for me after that fight,” he said.

Those things include a 10-bout unbeaten run, highlighted by a career-reinvigorating performance against then-undefeated David Lemieux last April. Lemieux was considered a fast-rising star in the making, and for the first several rounds against Rubio, he looked like one, dominating the early going and landing one hellacious combination after another. But Rubio had been there before, and as a result, he kept his poise and began reeling the tiring youngster in. In round 5, the fight began to turn; by the sixth, Rubio was completely on the rise. In the seventh, it was all over, and Rubio had secured the most famous victory of his career.

HIs reward is another shot at the middleweight title belt he failed to lift from Pavlik, which now sits around the waist of Rubio’s compatriot, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. It is a testament to Rubio’s career renaissance that the vastly more confident-looking fighter is widely expected to provide the stiffest challenge yet to his charismatic young countryman.

And as for Jantuah, the man who poleaxed Rubio in 30 seconds on the Las Vegas Strip seven years ago? He lost the title shot he earned with that win, lost twice more thereafter and hasn’t fought in the last two years.