Going into the February 4th defense of his WBC Middleweight title, Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will certainly be a huge favorite over countryman Marco Antonio Rubio. Rubio is a rugged veteran who will certaily make a fight out of it, but this entire mess with Sergio Martinez and the persistent talk that Chavez’ impressive record is lined with tomato cans wont’ go away if he beats Rubio. In fact it will intensify.
A lot has been said about the WBC stripping Champion Sergio Martinez, giving the Argentinian superstar a different belt, and rushing Chavez Jr. into a title match that didn’t involve Martinez. The whole farce of avoiding a Martinez vs Chavez fight has seen the WBC go back on their word to force the defense of Chavez’s belt several times, and Martinez has gone ahead and cut ties with the WBC in anger.
There is an entourage, a veritable machine around Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. His father’s status as a legendary boxer puts pressure on the entire second generation and his handlers and several other entities invested (WBC?) to keep it going.
Rubio is a tough customer, with a solid record, but he is no Sergio Martinez. I have seen Chavez between a 5 to 1 and a 10 to 1 favorite at the sportsbooks. No one really thinks Rubio is going to win, which means you are going to see that line for Chavez go up.
Only something like a fluke will get Rubio a win, so even at those odds I would lay out the money on Chavez. It isn’t his time to lose yet.
As for Sergio Martinez, he took a gig fighting in March, also in a fight he is favored in. His circumstances are different, as Martinez is near the end of his career and he has been actively looking for the big fights. He has challenged Chavez Jr on several occasions in public and gotten no response. There may come a time in 3 or 4 years where Martinez begins to fade and Chavez might be able to get by him. It would be a shame if that were allowed to happen.
On paper, Rubio might be an attractive underdog to bet, but if you include all the other factors going into this fight, betting Rubio is like throwing money away.