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Rubio: My time has come!

Story by Felipe Leon
Photos courtesy of

The day has finally dawned for the man known as "El Veneno" (The Poison).

Since climbing up to the middleweight division nearly three years ago, Marco Antonio Rubio (43-4-1, 37 KOs) has been chasing the dream of fighting for the middleweight title. On Saturday night, he will do just that as he challenges Youngstown, Ohio's Kelly Pavlik in the champion's hometown for not only the WBC 160-pound title but also the WBO strap, on PPV distributed by Top Rank.

Rubio gained the right to battle the recently defeated Pavlik after beating fellow top notch contender Enrique Ornelas, with a hard earned split decision in a WBC title eliminator last October.

"I knew it was going to be a tough fight,” says Rubio. “Enrique Ornelas is a fighter with a lot of experience—he has sparred with some of the best like Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins, among others, so I knew he was going to give me some trouble.

“It was a pretty even and tough fight. We both gave it our all but, thank God, I was victorious.”

Training in the mountains of central Mexico, Rubio is pleased with the work that he and well known trainer Tiburcio Garcia have accomplished in the thin air of Temeoya.

"This is my third time in the mountains with Tiburcio Garcia,” adds the Torreon fighter. “I feel stronger and in better condition with a lot of energy for the fight.”

Having captured the WBC Intercontinental light middleweight title back in '03, defending it three times, Rubio also wore the WBO Intercontinental belt around his waist in mid-2004. But his next bout in the Pavlik's backyard will be for what every fighter who laces up a pair of gloves strives for: a recognized full-fledged title.

"I do feel a bit nervous but mostly because I am going for the world title more than fighting in his hometown,” says Rubio. “That is secondary.

“We are going for the win and the fight could have been in Las Vegas or in any other venue. I have to go for the knock out. I am in his town, with his judges, and I think both of us are going to go for the knock out. I think to try to win by decision would be a mistake."

But stopping Pavlik before the scheduled 12 rounds is easier said than done. Pavlik, who is coming off his first professional defeat at the hands of Bernard Hopkins, is still undefeated at the 160-pound mark since his one-sided loss to Hopkins was at a catchweight of 170.

"I think like any other fighter, the loss affected him. But I think it can also help him in showing him what he needs to improve. I am thinking of myself, in my mental state and what I have to do to win. I am not really thinking on his loss but on the fact that I have to win."

The 28 year old Rubio is sure that he has the strategy to beat the undisputed middleweight king.

"I need to attack him,” states Rubio. “Obviously not let him hit me with his right hand which is his strongest weapon. Basically, hit without getting hit.

“I think standing in front of him and exchanging punches is the biggest mistake you can do. I think that is what Zertuche and Miranda did, and that is why I have to try to get inside and attack and not let him connect. I am not the quickest middleweight, but I think I am faster than Kelly Pavlik and that is going to be in my favor."

"The time has come for Marco and he is motivated, both, physically and mentally," says Rubio's co-manager, Julio Gudino.

"We hope that all of Mexico supports us since, once Marco wins, he will be the first Mexican middleweight champion of the world. Rubio has dedicated this fight to the Governor of his home state of Coahuila for all his support."

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