By Jake Donovan
Less than two months after receiving assurances he was next in line for a title shot, Marco Antonio Rubio once again finds himself reminding the WBC of past promises the organization struggles to honor.
The repeat title challenger is displeased with recent suggestions of sanctioning a potential summer showdown between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Martin Murray. Both fighters have recent title fight losses to lineal middleweight king Sergio Martinez, who is now out for the rest of the year as a result of injuries suffered before and during his controversial points win over Murray last month.
Chavez Jr. was slated to face Bryan Vera, but inexplicably changed course and decided to pursue a showdown with Murray. Vera had already begun training camp and is now left in the cold.
Rubio is making sure the same doesn’t happen to him.
“I do not want to give away any (title shot),” Rubio said when learning of a potential Chavez Jr.-Murray showdown receiving the blessings of the WBC. I am the first in line to face (Martinez). If he is not available to defend the title in the ring, then the rules are very clear.”
Rubio (57-6-1, 49KO) is coming off of a landslide points win over American journeyman Marcus Upshaw this past March. The win was his fourth straight but his first fight following his being reinstated as the mandatory challenger in the WBC middleweight rankings.
The ruling came about after an independent committee found the absence of drug testing in Rubio’s loss to Chavez Jr. last February to violate the terms of their bout contract in accordance with the sanctioning body’s championship rules.
Rubio was perfectly willing to face Martinez next, once the Argentine southpaw was able to get past Murray. That barely happened, though not without the longtime champ suffering hand and knee damage that puts him on the shelf for the rest of the year.
The terms of his reinstatement as mandatory challenger state that Rubio is to receive a title shot no later than September.
“It’s simple, we are next,” states Oswaldo Kuchle, Rubio’s local promoter in Mexico. “Sergio can make another defense but it has to take place no later than September 15. If he is unable, then ‘Veneno’ will fight for the interim title against the next highest rated challenger.”
That would mean a rematch with Chavez Jr., who returns to the ring this summer after serving a suspension for his failed drug test following last year’s points loss to Martinez.
"If ‘Maravilla’ recovers from his injury(-ies), I'd face him,” Rubio insists. “He is considered the best and I want to prove that I can beat the best. We have a very effective system working with (trainer) Robert Garcia and we are confident…that the world middleweight title will be mine sooner or later.”
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