Lem Satterfield

Lem’s latest: Arum says Chavez Jr.’s in tough versus Rubio

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Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum told RingTV.com on Monday that he believes RING No. 5-rated middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will face his most difficult career challenge yet in defending his WBC belt opposite hammer-fisted Marco Antonio Rubio next month at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Tex.

The 31-year-old Rubio (53-5-1, 46 knockouts) has now stopped six consecutive opponents, has nine knockouts overall among 10 consecutive wins, and is coming off December’s fifth-round stoppage of Matt Vanda.

Rubio earned five of those stoppages last year alone, the second of which was April’s seventh-round knockout of then-21-year-old David Lemieux, who entered the fight with a mark of 25-0, with 24 knockouts.

The setback may have led to a career tailspin for Lemieux, who lost a clash of Canadians in his next bout by majority decision to 35-year-old journeyman and former WBA junior middleweight titleholder Joachim Alcine in December after having split with longtime trainer, Russ Anber.

“I have no idea what people in general know or don’t know about Rubio,” said Arum, who is in San Antonio for a Tuesday press conference at the Alamodome, where the 25-year-old Chavez Jr.(44-0-1, 31 KOs) will face Rubio on Feb. 4 on HBO.

“I just know that Chavez gets extremely good ratings when he fights on HBO, and that the people who really follow boxing know what a dangerous opponent Rubio is.”

Trained by five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach, Chavez Jr. is coming off November’s fifth-round stoppage of Peter Manfredo Jr., this, after having dethroned Germany’s Sebastian Zbik as WBC beltholder in June.

Prior to Zbik, Chavez had scored consecutive unanimous decisions over Billy Lyell in January of last year, and John Duddy in June of 2010, the latter, taking place at The Alamodome.

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ARUM SAYS NONITO DONAIRE-WILFREDO VAZQUEZ COULD STEAL THE SHOW

The Chavez Jr.-Rubio card will also feature RING No. 4-rated pound-for-pound fighter Nonito Donaire (27-1, 18 KOs) making his 122-pound debut against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (21-1-1, 17 KOs).

Donaire-Vazquez is for the WBO’s junior featherweight title that was vacated by Jorge Arce, who dethroned Vazquez Jr. by 12th-round knockout on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s unanimous decision over Shane Mosley in May.

Donaire is coming off October’s unanimous decision over WBO junior bantamweight beltholder Omar Narvaez, who used a purely defensive style and lost every round on the cards of the three judges at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Donaire fought twice at 118 pounds for each of his previous bantamweight bouts before facing Narvaez.

As a bantamweight, Donaire scored a fourth-round knockout of Wladimir Sidorenko in his division debut in December of 2010. Donaire followed that up with a second-round stoppage of three-division titlewinner Fernando Montiel in February of last year that was Donaire’s fourth straight stoppage victory and earned him the WBC and WBO belts.

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