If you cast your mind back to September last year, I’m sure everyone remembers the disgraceful turn of events that transpired, leading into the first bout between Julio César Chavez Jr and Brian Vera.
It was Chavez’ complete lack of respect toward his opponent, and toward the sport of boxing, that inspired me to write for the first time. Given my passion for boxing, and the anger I felt after Chavez set out to rob the sport of any remaining integrity, I felt compelled to write about it. Below is an excerpt from that piece.
"When Chavez faces Brian Vera on Saturday night, he will be coming off a 12-month suspension, after testing positive to marijuana. Questions were again raised over Chavez’s professionalism and commitment to the sport, as it was announced on Wednesday that the bout would be held at 173 lb., because he was unable make 168 lb. This came after the weight had already been raised from the original contracted 163 lb. catch weight
After a lackluster performance against Sergio Martinez last year, and ongoing issues outside of the ring; It would seem that the chances of him being great, are dissipating as fast as the smoke he exhaled from his last joint, and his best performance might actually be seen at an all you can eat buffet, rather than in the boxing ring.
This fight going ahead at 173 lb. is an absolute disgrace, and Arum joking about this being the only fight where the weight would be decided after the weigh in, further highlights what is wrong with boxing. With no maximum weight set for fight night, we are likely to see Chavez rehydrate to over 190 lb., in a fight that was originally contracted at 163 lb. I really won't be shocked if Chavez doesn't make 173 lb., and this fight still goes ahead. It will be a case of the Chavez team reaching into their deep pockets so the show can still go on, while Vera takes a beating he didn’t signed up for.
Vera is really between a rock and a hard place here, if he refuses to fight, he doesn’t get paid, and will most likely upset the wrong people, jeopardising future match ups. On the other hand, he takes the fight, and most likely winds up on the wrong side of a mismatched beat down. This is far worse then the Broner vs Escobedo debacle; Chavez is taking unprofessionalism to a new height and boxing to a new low.
What is the point of having contracts and weight divisions, when they can simply be dissolved by dropping a bit of cash? There needs to be bigger penalties for fighters who don’t make weight than just taking a slice of their fat paycheck. Chavez should be losing more then his purse, I really think that this fight should not be sanctioned. Please, lets bring class and professionalism back to boxing."
My prediction on the outcome of that fight turned out to be way off the mark. Brian Vera came out to prove a point; he threw everything he had at the fat boy, and a lot of observers thought that he did enough to get the nod. Despite my personal feelings toward Chavez, I actually thought he just edged the win. As to be expected, the scores were far too wide, but even though it was Vera who was pressing the action, I felt that it was Chavez who was landing the more significant shots.
Given Chavez’ constant battle with discipline and maturity, I would not have been surprised in the slightest, had he not made weight for his rematch with Vera. Either way, I had no interest in handing over my hard earned cash to someone who has contributed so little to the sport that has supported him. Unfortunately my anticipation for the Salido-Lomachenko bout, trumped my lack of interest in Chavez, so I bought the PPV.
At the weigh-in, Chavez came in half a pound lighter than the contracted 168 Lb. But the surprises didn’t end there. The bout between Orlando Salido and Vasyl Lomachenko, which many tipped to steal the show, turned out to be somewhat of a non-event. Then, in what was probably the biggest surprise, Chavez actually turned in shape and fought hard for 12 action packed rounds, against a game but outgunned Brian Vera.
After the outcome of the first bout, both man were out to prove a point. Chavez was looking for redemption, while Vera was looking for retribution. This was a real toe-to-toe battle, and both men teed off on each other with little regard for defense. While Chavez still took a lot of punches and looked inelegant on his feet at times, it was his superior power and relentless attack to Vera’s body that put him in front.
I always give credit when credit is due, and while Chavez and Vera certainly did deliver an exciting 12 round war, I just don’t see Chavez being competitive at the top level. He turned up in tremendous shape and fought hard, but lets not kid ourselves here, Vera is hardly a top tier opponent. Chavez may have clearly won the fight, but I don’t think he looked like he was on a completely different level either.
By now it is probably quite obvious that I’m not too fond of Chavez. However, he actually did manage to earn some of my respect with his preparation, and with his efforts throughout the majority of the fight. However, whatever respect he gained, was soon lost, with the charade he put on in the final round, and performance failed to really impress me, considering that he actually turned up in shape. Yes, it was an exciting fight, but he still did take a lot of punches and he still failed to stop a B level fighter.
The question is, where does Chavez go from here? Back at 160 lb. his size advantage and his iron chin could enable him to have success against some reasonably solid opponents, but I don’t think 160 lb. is really an option for him anymore. With no elite boxing ability, or extraordinary punching power at 168, I just don’t see him being a threat to anyone any top tier fighters, so his options are looking pretty thin.
Chavez actually looked quite lean at 168 lb. and I truly think it will only be a matter of time before he will need to move up to 175 lb. With the talent that currently resides within those two divisions, I really can’t see him being much more than a Gatekeeper. I just wonder whether that is something that Chavez, Arum, or HBO, is willing to settle for?