HBO is kicking off their 2012 boxing slate in a great way Saturday night with WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. squaring off with Marco Antonio Rubio, in a showdown fit for the Alamo—or the Alamodome at least.
Living under the shadow of his legendary father, Julio Cesar Sr., for much of his career, Cesar Jr. (43-0-1-1, 31 KOs) will face his toughest opponent yet in Rubio (53-5-1, 46 KOs.)
With Rubio looking to score the biggest win of his career with a win over Chavez Jr.—his previous biggest win being that over then-undefeated David Lemieux, in Lemieux's hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada—look for Rubio to put up the fight of his career Saturday night.
Chavez Jr. will look to prove his naysayers wrong, as most of the boxing media feel that he has fought cupcake opponents, and is merely living off his famous dad's name.
Never shy about mixing it up with his opponent, Chavez Jr. has become more skilled with each fight, and under the guidance of legendary trainer Freddie Roach, Chavez Jr. has become more of a strategic fighter not always looking for that big shot.
As his record shows, Rubio has very dangerous KO power, having won by knockout in 46 of his 53 wins—which comes out to about a 87 percent KO ratio—and has won by KO in 13 of his last 16 fights.
In order to further his quest to be as good as, if not better than, his dad, Chavez Jr. must be wary of Rubio's power. If he catches Chavez Jr. with one big punch, Rubio has the ability to rifle off several more in succession and could easily win this fight by KO.
Expect the fight to be exciting from the start, even as each of the fighters feel each other out, but I feel once Chavez Jr. gets comfortable he will dominate the fight en route to a 12-round decision.
It is expected that if Chavez Jr. is able to walk away with a win Saturday night that he will face the winner of the Sergio Martinez-Matthew Macklin fight in March, putting all the more pressure on the 25-year-old boxer, as the weight of living up to his father's expectations weren't enough.
Mick Akers is a boxing featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on twitter: Follow @mickakers