By Jake Donovan
Marco Antonio Rubio continues to fall just short once reaching the top level, but remains a hero to many in his native Mexico.
With a win over Marcus Upshaw tonight, the middleweight contender is guaranteed a mandatory title shot in his next fight. The announcement earlier in the week declared that the WBC will reinstate his previous mandatory ranking prior to his Feb. ’12 showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, on the basis of the absence of promised random drug testing – or drug testing of any kind.
Rubio dropped a decision, but now gets the last laugh. He enters this fight riding a three-fight win streak and a world of confidence as he prepares for tonight’s showdown, which airs live on Televisa from Uruapan, Mexico.
A sold-out crowd of 6,500 is expected on hand, with the last tickets having been purchased long ago.
“Rubio’s drawing power here in Mexico is huge,” insists promoter Oswaldo Kuchle. “On Wednesday for the public workout, more than 1,500 fans came just to see him. Saturday is going to be crazy!”
Rubio (56-6-1, 49KO) has won three straight – all by knockout – heading into tonight’s battle. Even without the promised future title shot, his legion of adoring fans has proven massive. It showed during his workout and again on Friday during the weigh-in and pre-fight parade.
All fighters were on hand to walk the streets of Uruapan, but it was Rubio who drew the most attention. The Mexican contender met with all people throughout the day, stopping to shake hands, sign autographs and meet the people.
His popularity is hardly lost on the city brass, who has supported Rubio through it all and encourages greater exposure to ensure that all get to see the fight.
“The mayor of the city of Uruapan has just requested that we put up a huge giant screen outside the arena, which we will do,” informed Kuchle.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox