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Arum to match Chavez Jr. against Antonio Margarito if he can beat Rubio on Saturday

Antonio Margarito Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Marco Antonio RubioBy Dan Ambrose: WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (44-0-1, 31 KO’s) will be facing former IBF/WBO welterweight champion Antonio Margarito (38-8, 27 KO’s) in 2012 if Chavez Jr. can beat challenger Marco Antonio Rubio (53-5-1, 46 KO’s) on Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Chavez’s promoter Bob Arum told RingTV that he wants Chavez Jr. to take a fight after the Rubio against a still to be determined opponent in April or May and then look to face the 34-year-old Margarito in the summer. And if there’s still any time left in the year, Arum may match Chavez Jr. against WBC Diamond middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. I kind of doubt that, but it makes for a good quote from Arum because he has to comment on that fight because that’s the one fight that boxing fans want to see from Chavez Jr.

Arum told RingTV “I would like to do a Martinez fight at the end of the year…I would probably do a fight in early April or May [against somebody still to be determined] for Chavez on HBO, and then maybe a fight against Margarito, and then Martinez. The problem with Cotto and [Saul] Alvarez is that they want to have Chavez come down to a ridiculously low weight. That’s not possible.”

Arum goes on to say that Chavez Jr. is still growing taller and sees that as a reason for why he can’t fight Alvarez or Cotto at a catchweight below 160. Alvarez and Cotto want Chavez Jr. to meet them halfway between 154 and 160 and 156lbs, which is a fair number given that Chavez Jr. will very likely balloon upwards to the 180 pound range after he rehydrates before his fight with one of them. You can’t blame them for wanting to see Chavez Jr. have to take off a little more weight because they’re going to be a lot smaller than him. But Arum is wrong about Chavez Jr. growing taller. He’s 6’0″, and has been the same height for several years.

What’s happening is that Chavez Jr. is filling out and putting on a lot of weight. He’s huge for a middleweight and Arum should see this as a danger signal because there’s going to be a time in the near future that Chavez Jr. can’t safely make 160lbs anymore. The fact they have him draining down from 180+ to fight at 160 tells you that his time at middleweight is very short. Once Chavez Jr. can no longer make 160, he’s probably going to be finished as a contender because he would be serious trouble against the top fighters at 168 like Mikkel Kessler, Lucian Bute, Andre Ward, Kelly Pavlik, Anthony Dirrell and Andre Dirrell.

Chavez Jr. would still likely have a weight advantage over those guys when it came to fighting them, but it would be useless weight because those guys would be close enough to Chavez’s weight that there wouldn’t be any real advantage for him. And those guys are so much more naturally talented than him that he would be beaten by pretty much all of them. Arum might have to look to go after a weak link and hope he can a controversial decision and then have Chavez Jr. dodge the top competition for a couple of years while he milks the title against scrub contenders.

The Margarito is a sad joke. Margarito isn’t a middleweight and would be in way over his head against Chavez Jr. It doesn’t matter than Margarito in his prime was a good fighter, but his surgically repaired right eye will likely continue to give him problems in the future and I can’t see it holding up against Chavez Jr. for very long. Freddie Roach, Chavez’s trainer, will have him moving and jabbing to keep from getting hit by Margarito. As long as Chavez Jr. can keep away from Margarito for six to eight rounds, he should be able to close his right eye with his punches and get a doctor’s stoppage like Cotto did.

It doesn’t look like Arum will be having Chavez Jr. fight Martinez in 2012. If you look at the fights that Arum has set up for Chavez Jr., they’re going to take up an good portion of the year and you know if there’s any time left in the year, he’ll looking to make the Chavez-Cotto fight if he can persuade them to fight at a catchweight. Martinez is simply too dangerous and will be ignored until he’s a shot fighter. The WBC can’t and probably won’t force Chavez Jr. to fight Martinez, and even if they did, Arum would likely have Chavez Jr. give Martinez a step aside fee or have him vacate the title.

Chavez Jr. will likely face a weak opponent in his next fight in May. That’s the one that Arum is talking about for Chavez’s next fight. The fight will clearly be picked up by HBO, who won’t mind who Chavez Jr. faces because he brings in good ratings for them even against guys like Billy Lyell and Peter Manfredo Jr. It doesn’t matter who Chavez Jr. faces; he still brings in good ratings for HBO. It’ll likely be Darren Barker, who says that he’s been approached by Chavez’s people about a fight in 2012. Barker doesn’t have much power and is a slender middleweight that is more of a technical fighter. Barker was stopped by Sergio Martinez in the 11th round in his last fight last October. It will give boxing fans a way to see how far off Chavez Jr. is from Martinez to compare the two fighters in how they did against the same fighter.

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