Advertisement
Advertisement

Three Belts on the Line: The Big Weekend Report Card

by Cliff Rold

Now this is more like it.  After a sputtering start to the year, action kicks into high gear on two continents with three title fights of consequence. 

In the U.S., Jr. Chavez faces arguably the sturdiest test of his young career in defense of his 160 lb. paperweight while Nonito Donaire attempts to win a vacant belt and honors in his third weight class.  Across the Atlantic, American Steve Cunningham will attempt to win his third IBF 200 lb. title and exact a measure of revenge for a debated decision defeat in his last outing.

Barring a draw, we’re guaranteed at least one “And new…” 

Could the weekend close with three?

Let’s go to the report cards.

The Ledgers

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. 

Age:
25
Titles: WBC Middleweight (2011-Present, 1 Defense)
Previous Titles: None
Height: 6’0
Weight: 159.5

Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 159.5 lbs.
Hails from: Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico
Record: 41-0-1, 31 KO

BoxingScene Rank: #9 at Middleweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-0, 1 KO
Current /Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 1 (Sebastian Zbik)

Vs.

Marco Antonio Rubio 

Age:
31
Titles/Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’10

Weight: 159
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 163.5 lbs.
Hails from: Torreon, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico
Record: 53-5-1, 46 KO, 3 KOBY
BoxingScene Rank: #8 at Middleweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 0-1, 1 KOBY
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 2 (Jorge Vaca, Frankie Randall)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 2 (Kasim Ouma, Kelly Pavlik)

Pre-Fight: Speed – Chavez B; Rubio B-
Pre-Fight: Power – Chavez B; Rubio B+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Chavez B-; Rubio B-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Chavez B; Rubio B

This has become a sexy upset pick in some quarters.  Chavez hasn’t faced the same quality of foe as Rubio and remains a question mark.  Rubio has been through the rigors, facing hard men on the path to becoming one.  However, there is no ignoring the size issue.  Chavez puts on a lot of weight between the scale and the ring.  He likely enters the ring on Saturday a full-bodied Light Heavyweight if not small Cruiserweight.  Given height, reach, and youth advantages to go with weight, Rubio has a mountain to climb.  If he can tag the youngster, and Chavez isn’t hard to find, Rubio might be able to grind him down.  It will be a full night’s work but the veteran knows that.  Chavez hasn’t been hit by anyone with this experience level.  Can he swim if the waters get deep?  It’s one thing to get caught by the feather fisted Sebastian Zbik and endure.  Rubio will be another matter…though he doesn’t have the speed or combination output of Zbik.  

Nonito Donaire 

Age:
29
Titles: None
Previous Titles: IBF Flyweight (2007-09, 3 Defenses); WBC/WBO Bantamweight (2011, 1 Defense)
Height: 5’5 ½
Weight: 121.6
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 116.4 lbs.
Hails from: San Leandro, California
Record: 27-1, 18 KO

BoxingScene Rank: #1 at Bantamweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 6-0, 5 KO (8-0, 6 KO including interim title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 6 (Vic Darchinyan, Moruti Mthalane, Hernan Marquez, Wladimir Sidorenko, Fernando Montiel, Omar Narvaez)

Vs.

Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. 

Age:
27
Titles: None
Previous Titles: WBO Jr. Featherweight (2010-11, 2 Defenses)

Height: 5’5 ½ 

Weight: 122
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 122.65 lbs.
Hails from: Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Record: 21-1-1, 18 KO, 1 KOBY
BoxingScene Rank: #10 at Jr. Featherweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 3-1, 3 KO, 1 KOBY
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 2 (Ivan Hernandez, Roberto Leyva)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Jorge Arce)

Pre-Fight: Speed – Donaire A; Vazquez B
Pre-Fight: Power – Donaire A; Vazquez B+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Donaire A; Vazquez B-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Donaire A; Vazquez B

Donaire is one of the game’s most obvious super talents.  Vazquez got stopped by the aged Jorge Arce two fights ago.  Prior to Vazquez, Arce hadn’t beaten anyone of prime value in years.  It spoke to the limits of a Vazquez with a lack of amateur experience learning his craft on the fly.  He’s got great genes, and has done well for himself all things considered, but there is a ceiling.  Vazquez’s chance here comes in the form of legitimate pop.  Vazquez can hurt what he lands on and is the largest foe of Donaire’s career.  If Donaire is pressing to make up for a lackluster win over Omar Narvaez last time out, could Vazquez use it to his advantage?  It’s his puncher’s chance.

Yoan Pablo Hernandez 

Age:
27
Titles: IBF Cruiserweight (2010-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)
Previous Titles: None
Height: 6’4
Weight: 198.4

Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 198.7 lbs.
Hails from: Halle an der Saale, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany (Born in Cuba)
Record: 25-1, 13 KO, 1 KOBY
BoxingScene Rank: #1 at Cruiserweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 1-0 (2-0, 1 KO including interim title fights)
Cu rrent/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 1 (Steve Cunningham)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Wayne Braithwaite)

Vs.

Steve Cunningham
Age: 35
Titles: None
Previous Titles: IBF Cruiserweight (2007-08, 1 Defense; 2010-11, 1 Defense)

Height: 6’3

Weight: 197.5
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 196.5 lbs.
Hails from: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Record: 24-3, 12 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #2 at Cruiserweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 4-3, 2 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 5 (Guillermo Jones, Kelvin Davis, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, Marco Huck, Wayne Braithwaite)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 3 (Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, Tomasz Adamek, Yoan Pablo Hernandez)

Pre-Fight: Speed – Hernandez B; Cunningham B+
Pre-Fight: Power – Hernandez B; Cunningham B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Hernandez B; Cunningham B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Hernandez B; Cunningham B+

Let’s call this round seven.  After coming off the floor in the first round of their first fight last October, Cunningham grinded back into the fight aided by a body attack.  A questionable cut led the fight to the cards after six and two far too wide scores in favor of Hernandez sealed fate.  Cunningham has a problem with getting dropped beginning in the Tomasz Adamek fight but he recovers well.  Hernandez isn’t the most diverse boxer, but he’s steady and fundamentally sound.  If he can exploit an early opening from Cunningham again, will the older man’s legs hold?  If he cannot, can Cunningham convince the judges to favor his body shots on the scores?  Can Hernandez keep his feet for a full twelve?  The Cuban looked to be flagging bad when the convenient end came last time.  Counting on a cut twice isn’t always a safe bet. 

The Picks

Starting with the Cruiserweights, the stakes are high.  Ring Magazine will recognize the winner as outright Cruiserweight champion.  WBO titlist Marco Huck should have some say in the matter if and when he returns from a pending Heavyweight excursion, but it would be hard to deny Cunningham should he win.  With a superior jab and speed, a Cunningham who stays off the floor should be a clear winner.  One who hits the deck, given the controversy the first time, might just get the benefit of the doubt as the rounds wear on.  Cunningham appears still the more complete fighter and is the pick here with a stoppage from the ninth round on.  

The HBO show is less intriguing in terms of picking winners though the fights should be entertaining.  Rubio is tough but limited and Chavez has too many physical advantages.  It’s a good progress step for the popular progeny.  He should shake off some shaky moments to break Rubio down and stop him around the eighth. 

As to Donaire, this is a case where a rise in the scale is not the same as moving up.  Jr. Featherweight isn’t very good right now in terms of depth and Vazquez is a step down from what could have been with fighters like Abner Mares and Anselmo Moreno at Bantamweight.  There is only one real fight for Donaire at 122 lbs. for the moment: Toshiaki Nishioka.  Guillermo Rigondeuax could be ready within a year.  For now, it’s a title in a third weight class by round seven.

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Cloud on 02-04-2012

I reckon Cunningham wins this time but both pack a punch and Hernandez should have had a first round KO last time. Real toss up fight. I got Donaire winning. I reckon Chavez defeats Rubio. I'd love to see Marco…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (1)
Top Headlines Daniel Jacobs Says Poltics Will Not Stop Gennady Golovkin Bout Sebastian Diaz Outboxes Carlos Ruiz, Held To Disputed Draw Oscar Negrete Outboxes Bustos For Decision Win in Los Angeles Jessie Vargas vs. Kell Brook Could Be Pushed Back To October Wilder on Joshua: U.S. Fight Puts Him on Map - But He'll Lose! Margarito-Alvarez Finalized For August 13th in Baja California Photos: Jamel Herring, Denis Shafikov Ready For Battle Hekkie Budler Ring Return is Scheduled For October 22 Ward's Coach: Brand Trumps Wade, Golovkin Didn't Want It! Chocolatito vs. Cuadras: Both Ready as Negotiations Heat Up Herring, Shafikov Make Weight For Crossroads Clash On ESPN Hearn: Eubank Win Over Golovkin is Bigger Than Hatton-Tszyu De La Hoya Sees Big Things For Niko 'Baby Face' Valdez Photos/Weights: Ganigan Lopez, Jonathan Taconing on Point Oscar Negrete: I Have To Be at My Best Against Bustos Dolton, Ghvamichava Meet in July 12 PBC on FS1 Headliner De La Hoya: Canelo a 154-Pounder, Golovkin Fight in 2017 Ryabinsky: WADA Has Ruled, Certified Povetkin as Clean Golovkin vs. Eubank: Hearn Gives Update on Finalizing Terms Oscar Negrete Wants a Title Shot After Bustos Fight Sammy Vasquez To Face Felix Diaz, Collazo is Out With Injury Anthony Joshua is a 4/1 Favorite To Win BBC SPOTY Award Photos: Andre Ward Throws Ceremonial First Pitch in Oakland Photos: Jamel Herring vs. Denis Shafikov Open Workouts Photos: Mikaela Lauren, Klara Svensson Go Face To Face Zac Dunn Stops Carlos Jerez In Five, Remains Unbeaten Promoter: David Benavidez Will Become Youngest 168 Champ Daniel Jacobs Rips Mora, Says Billy Joe Saunders Rejected Fight Golovkin Focuses on Middleweight Legacy, Canelo in Rearview Frank Warren: Wilder, Fury Would Outwork, Outfight Joshua Hearn: After Watching Thurman-Porter - I Know Brook is Better! Joshua Gormley To Face Andy Ruiz on July 16, Detroit Anthony Joshua's Fall Options: Stiverne, Jennings, Pulev, Parker Keith Thurman Very Interested in Facing Kell Brook in The Fall Wilder Embraces VADA, Feels Drug Testing Should Be Year-Round Margarito: Canelo Will Not Be Able To Help His Brother! Golovkin's Promoter: Eubank in The UK Would Be Huge Event Luis Rosa vs. Luis Hinojosa Ends in First Round No-Contest Peter Quillin Mulling New Direction, Move To Super Middleweight Ricky Burns, Kirill Relikh Have 30 Days To Reach a Deal
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement