By Jake Donovan
Anthony Dirrell looks to rebound from his first career defeat as he faces longtime middleweight contender Marco Antonio Rubio, who moves up in weight.
The super middleweights collide at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, airing live on CBS in the latest installment of Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) series.
Dirrell engages in his first fight since losing his super middleweight title to Badou Jack in his first defense this past April. The defeat was a letdown after his emotional win over Sakio Bika in their rematch last August.
Rubio also looks to rebound from a tough night in the office his last time out. The veteran slugger from Mexico hasn't fought since a knockout loss to unbeaten middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin last October. It is also the first fight above the middleweight limit for the 35-year old Mexican slugger since 2012.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS: ANTHONY DIRRELL vs. MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO
Ryan Burton (Dirrell TKO5): This is basically a tune up fight for Dirrell. Rubio, who was never an elite fighter at 160, has seen better days and won't be as durable at 168. He should get stopped in the first half of the fight.
Jake Donovan (Dirrell TKO7): Had the opposite been true and Dirrell drained himself to make middleweight, perhaps this becomes a more competitive fight. Rubio beefing up to super middleweight doesn't figure to be a good look, a slower version being a poor matchup for Dirrell's skillset.
Peter Lim (Dirrell UD): Dirrell suffers a flash knockdown but, other than that minor scare, quite easily outboxes the tough Mexican to win a unanimous decision.
Cliff Rold (Dirrell KO): Rubio was old and shot-ish at 160. Moving up isn't helping.
Victor Salazar (Dirrell Dec.): Overweight or not, Dirrell should beat Rubio who didn’t show up versus Gennady Golovkin. Dirrell is younger, bigger, faster, and better. Plain and simple, Dirrell should win running away.
Alexey Sukachev (Dirrell TKO6): Badou Jack made subtle moves and showed some amateur-esteemed finesse, which Rubio lacks. Being a stationary target won't make him any favors, and the Mexican will be crushed by a stronger fighter.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com.