“Premier Boxing Champions” has been on a heater, and that means some of the dreck that comes with it is forgivable right now. Super middleweight Anthony Dirrell took a “get well” decision victory Sunday afternoon in the main event on CBS against Marco Antonio Rubio, whose ring wear and inability to compete at 168 were glaring.
The opener between Jamie McDonnell and Tomoki Kameda was, as expected, better. Anthony Dirrell vs Marco Antonio Rubio was just about getting Dirrell an easy win after his loss to Badou Jack. Rubio was well-chosen for the mission: His lack of speed would’ve made the swift Dirrell look grand even years ago. Throw in how sluggish he looks with advancing age and beatings — Rubio at his best mainly outlasted technically or physically better fighters, when he beat them — and Dirrell was teed up for an image-enhancing victory.
That’s how it went, for the most part. Dirrell stalked forward, unleashing big right hands in the first round that hinted at a stoppage before long. But Rubio does still have resilience, and he withstood the assaults. At one point in the middle rounds, he motioned at Dirrell to keep punching him; Dirrell shrugged and obliged, and Rubio accomplished nothing beyond compelling me to write the sentence I’m writing about it now. Later, Rubio backed Dirrell up and threw a combination, and Dirrell, flummoxed by the crowd’s gasps, and glowered at them for thinking he’d been punched.
Dirrell did, in the end, take a few shots, mostly when he stopped moving, and Rubio took advantage. But he didn’t come close to losing a round from 1 to 10. If anything, despite the complete nature of the victory, Dirrell’s inability to stop Rubio — coming off a KO loss to Gennady Golovkin — counted against him. He said afterwards he would like to rematch Jack, or perhaps go after George Groves. Either would work just fine. Rubio, meanwhile, should give serious consideration to retirement.