This was the first PBC show in Corpus Christi, Texas. The show was being broadcasted on CBS with Anthony Dirrell headlining the card against Marco Antonio Rubio, who was moving up from middleweight to super middleweight.
Dirrell was last seen in his title losing performance against Badou Jack. This fight was an important first step back for Dirrell on his road to potentially reclaiming his belt.
Rubio looked a little softer in the midsection. Dirrell was making it a point to touch the body early in the 1st round, although not nearly enough as he should’ve. Dirrell was aggressive in spots and even managed to land hard right hands in succession. They seemed to hurt the sluggish Rubio, but he ate them well enough.
Dirrell continued to land monstrous rights and hard lefts, with the occasional shot to the body. Rubio was not very offensive. In fact, I can’t remember Rubio throwing a punch in the first couple rounds. I’m sure Rubio let his hands go to some extent, but it just wasn’t memorable.
Most of the early action was all Dirrell, but Rubio had an effective enough 4th. His work rate was flawed, but Dirrell was only ever fighting in spurts so it wasn’t a big deal that he never capitalized on his single-shot victories.
Dirrell didn’t allow Rubio much time on offense before almost completely stripping away his momentum. That said, Rubio’s punches were counting for something.
It was clear that Dirrell was landing the cleaner and harder punches, but Rubio was getting everything out of his shots and it was obvious that Dirrell did not like getting hit by the hard-fisted Rubio.
Dirrell was the better fighter in the ring and it was apparent. He threw better combinations and utilized his footwork better. His jab was decent and he didn’t completely forget to go to the body. Yet, none of that explains why Rubio was able to pressure Dirrell back into the ropes. Rubio would get off some decent shots, but never commenced a full assault.
Rubio’s offense was good enough to steal a round in the middle of the fight, maybe even another. But Dirrell proved his world-class ability by not allowing Rubio to gain sustainable momentum.
Dirrell eventually brought it home and showcased his offensive, and a little defense in the 10th and final round, again in spurts.
The fight went to the scorecards and the judges scored the fight 100-90, which wasn’t a huge surprise, although I think Rubio deserved to win one round.
Things went according to plan for Dirrell and now he will move on to bigger things.
“Definitely, I had an off night when I fought Badou, but everyone seen what I did here tonight [against Rubio]. I deserve another shot,” Dirrell said in the post-fight interview.
Although, later in his Dirrell’s dressing room and amongst his team, he admitted to Thaboxingvoice.com that he didn’t care who he fought as long as it was a super middleweight with the title.