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 Last update:  2/4/2012       Read more by Jake Donovan            & 'Welcome To The Future' Staff Picks
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By Jake Donovan

The premium level of the 2012 boxing season is finally underway. HBO makes its season premiere with a highly anticipated Boxing After Dark doubleheader live from the Alamodome in San Antonio (Saturday, 10PM ET/PT).

In the main event, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (44-0-1, 31KO) endures his toughest test to date as he faces consensus Top 10 contender Marco Antonio Rubio (53-5-1, 46KO) in making the second defense of his alphabet middleweight title.

The co-feature pits a pair of normally humble warriors now in the midst of a grudge match. Nonito Donaire (27-1, 18KO) rises up in weight after a brief but electric bantamweight run as he takes on former 122 lb. titlist Wilfredo Vazquez Jr (21-1-1, 18KO) in a vacant title fight. 

Read on to see how the staff believes it will all go down.


“I have Chavez via UD. Rubio will bring the fight to Chavez and will have his moments but I expect Chavez to put together his finest performance to date and win 116-112.”
– Ryan Burton

“Given the number of experts predicting this to be the fight where Chavez falls or is at least tested by never before, I fully expect those same critics to give the second-generation star his full due once he scores the biggest win of his career. Rubio will make his presence felt, but boasting only a puncher’s chance against an iron-chinned boxer-puncher isn’t the best formula for an upset. Chavez overcomes shaky moments early to score a 10th round stoppage, with Rubio on his feet and in full protest.”
– Jake Donovan 

“Rubio's as tough as there is and he'll give the kid a big push.  Either Junior looks terrific, or he gets beat.  I say the latter. Rubio KO9”
– Lyle Fitzsimmons

“I feel Chavez is coming into his own and while Rubio is indeed a live underdog Chavez will simply be too much for him. Chavez Jr TKO6”
– Ernest Gabion

“This is the kind of crossroads fight that is rarely seen in boxing these days. Young prospects, contenders and titleholders face experienced opponents all the time, but it's not often that the opponent is someone who isn't on a losing streak or far removed from his better days. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is not the unrefined, inexperienced pro he once was, even though he'll never be on the caliber his father was. But Marco Antonio Rubio is a veteran who only last year took out another vaunted prospect in David Lemieux. He not only has the advantage in experience, but the ability to make it a rough fight for Chavez Jr. Rubio will do just that, either stopping Chavez late or taking a unanimous decision. And if Chavez Jr. proves us wrong, then, for once in a crossroads fight, that'll say more about how much the young guy is rising than it will about how far the old vet has fallen.”
- David Greisman

“I'm still not sold on Chavez, but I like him to build on a solid outing against Manfredo.  I see Chavez staying on the outside, darting in and out when he needs to score, and doing just enough to pull out a decision against a tough slugger in Rubio. Chavez UD12 Rubio.”
– Ryan Maquinana 

“Chavez by TKO.”
– Philip Michael

“Chavez hasn't seen the same quality of foe, but he'll probably be a small Cruiserweight in the ring.  Rubio has been stopped three times and the size difference will be a big part of the difference here. Chavez TKO8” 
– Cliff Rold 

“I like Chavez Jr. to pull out a very hard decision over a persistent Rubio. I expect that Chavez will try his best to box but ultimately be pulled into a firefight that he manages to still have success in.”
– Chris Robinson

“With all due respect to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., whom I consider a much better fighter than a majority of fans can possibly realize, I do pick Marco Antonio Rubio to win it in the first true upset of the year. Rubio should have been written off not once in his career but, as the Lemieux fight has shown, he is still full of some bitter surprises for his foes. I pick him to win a sudden stoppage in later rounds - say TKO 9 or TKO 10 (Chavez will be stopped on his feet).” 
– Alexey Sukachev

Total picks: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. 7, Marco Antonio Rubio 3 


“I have Donaire via 4th round TKO in the co-feature. Donaire does everything better than WV2 and it will show on Saturday.”
– Ryan Burton

“Vazquez Jr is entering this fight with the mentality that the loss is the end of his young career. I expect the fight to be bombs away early, but for Donaire to eventually figure out a way to devour the Boricua bomber whole. Donaire TKO8.”
– Jake Donovan 

“This is one of those fights where the loser grows from the experience.  Donaire's legit on the P4P stage and should have enough, but Vazquez makes him earn it.  Donaire UD 12. 
– Lyle Fitzsimmons

“Donaire TKO9.”
– Ernest Gabion

“While we don't know if Donaire's power will carry over to 122, I'm going to guess it will based on how much he labored to make weight from 112-118. I just don't think Vazquez will have an answer for him when the fight is in the center of the ring, and when he opens up, Donaire's counter hooks will punish him en route to an eventual stoppage. Donaire TKO8.”
– Ryan Maquinana 

“Donaire by wide decision.”
– Philip Michael

“This matches a top talent with a mid-level player from a down weight class.  That's a bad recipe for competition.  Donaire in a walk and nothing but Nishioka should interest anyone for Donaire at 122 right now. Donaire TKO7.”
– Cliff Rold 

“I favor Donaire over Vazquez Jr. because I feel he is a bit more versatile as a fighter. I think Donaire's movement and speed will trouble Vazquez but there may be a few shaky moments along the way. I'll go with Donaire via 11th round TKO.”
– Chris Robinson

“Donaire will easily destroy Vasquez Jr. in a fan-friendly but short fight. I'm seeing him doing his job in the first half of it.” 
– Alexey Sukachev

Total picks: Donaire 9, Vazquez Jr 0 

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Follow Jake on Twitter at or submit questions/comments to
Tags: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr , Nonito Donaire , HBO , Top Rank , Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. , Marco Antonio Rubio , Donaire-Vazquez , Donaire vs Vazquez , Chavez-Rubio , Chavez vs Rubio

 User Comments and Feedback (must register to comment)

comment by Walt Liquor, on 02-05-2012
[QUOTE=Cloud]How did anyone think Chavez would lose to Rubio? Chavez, for what faults he has, had advantages over Rubio. Rubio has to be one of the most overrated boxers in recent years.[/QUOTE] Cuz rubio can punch at 160 unlike his other opponents.

comment by EdMon917, on 02-05-2012
Still a good name on his record though. On to the next one!!

comment by Cloud, on 02-05-2012
How did anyone think Chavez would lose to Rubio? Chavez, for what faults he has, had advantages over Rubio. Rubio has to be one of the most overrated boxers in recent years.

Post A Comment/View More User Comments (3) 

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