Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs Brian Vera - Redemption or Recognition?Written by Marc Livitz
Those who are often feel the pressure to follow, equal or surpass the accomplishments of their distinguished parent.
At times, those who step aside and choose a completely different path are subjected to unwarranted scrutiny.
And others just fall somewhere into the "in between" category.
The jury was out for quite a while on the famous fellow from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico who for several years was seen by some as a proverbial coat rider and a benefactor from a life of privilege.
In previous years, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (46(32)-1-1) was consistently criticized, if not written off entirely by many sports writers and fans alike.
For starters, no amateur background.
They saw him as a sad attempt of a potential cash cow with an all too familiar affinity for tomatoes.....or perhaps more to the point, tomato cans.
Julio steamrolled through most of the competition en route to a few different rehashing versions of cockamamie WBC titles such as that of the "Silver" and "Continental Americas".His competition slowly became a bit more recognizable, if not more competitive around 2010 or 2011.
Some say he was unsurprisingly gifted the WBC Middleweight crown with his June 2011 majority decision win over Sebastian Zbik. But the shouts of "fight somebody" were echoed just as audibly as "that guy would destroy you".
He successfully defended his title over a seven month, three fight span in bouts with Peter Manfredo, Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio and Andy Lee. All of the aforementioned contests took place in Texas and he somehow slipped out the back door after his February 2012 bout with Rubio without taking a post fight drug screen.
In any case, Chavez, Jr. finally got his biggest test last September in Las Vegas when he stepped into the ring with middleweight king Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez. This writer was fortunate enough to have been in attendance that evening at the Thomas and Mack Center.
There were a number of fans who left the arena early after eleven consecutive seemingly one sided rounds were easily won by Martinez.
Then came round twelve and the kid almost did it.
He knocked Sergio to the canvas with about a minute to go, but he wasn't able to close the deal in time.Martinez made it to his feet and rode out the final seconds. Julio suffered his first defeat as a professional by way of a sweeping unanimous decision.
In what may be the most controversial decision in the history of boxing, Referee Ricahard Steele, on St. Patrick's Day 1990, stops Chavez vs Taylor I with fewer than 5 seconds the bout.
Either that or referee Tony Weeks hadn't recently exchanged phone numbers with Richard Steele. There'd be no St. Patrick's Day 1990 revisit that night.
He gained admiration for his efforts in the ring that night and his refusal to back down. Chavez, Jr. was bruised and battered, as was Martinez.
Then along came the suspension and hefty fines for a few too many hits from the bong. Now he's back after a year away and his opponent is far from a tune up.
Enter Brian Vera (23(14)-6(2)) of Austin, TX., who has experienced a competitive nine year career which has included various titles and an appearance on the popular boxing reality series, "The Contender".
The central Texas fighter's resume includes two recent victories over Sergio Mora and separate victories over the hard hitting Serhiy Dzinairuk and Andy Lee.
Their bout is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 28 at the newly named StubHub Center in Carson, California and will air live in the United States on HBO. The two fighters and their respective camps met in Los Angeles today for an introductory press conference.
Neither Chavez, Jr. nor Vera had much to say except for their shared eagerness to let the leather fly as part of an action packed night which includes a very noteworthy undercard. Selected quotes are listed below.
Bob Arum, Founder & CEO of Top Rank Promotions: "This event in Los Angeles is great for the fight fans and it's going to be a spectacular event. Some of the top up and coming fighters around such as Diego Magaleno (23(9)-1), Karim Mayfield (17(10)-0-1) and Matt Korobov (20(12)-0) will be fighting on the (September) 28th. If he (Korobov) looks good in this fight, then he will have a chance to fight Gennady Golovkin before the end of the year. Jose Ramirez of the 2012 Olympic team will be on the card, too. I believe Julio is finally turning over a new leaf and he'll become what we think he can be."
Dave Watson, Manager of Brian Vera: "He's (Vera) worked really hard for this. He's been going into his opponents' backyards and he's been beating them. Brian realizes this is his opportunity and you're going to see a great show."
Mexican Legend Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr.: "I think this is a tough fight for Julio and a very difficult opponent. Vera is a tough fighter and warrior in the ring. Julio is preparing very well for this fight and their styles are similar. They'll come right at each other and the fans will be the winners. May the best man win and I hope that it will be my son."
Brian Vera: "We could have fought other opponents, but we wanted the big name. I feel like my training camp has been for three fights instead of one, but it's given me good habits. It's going to be a war and I know he'll come right at me. I plan on being victorious on September 28."
Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.: "I'm happy to be returning to the ring after a very long year. I believe that this will be a tough fight. I've watched Brian for a few years and I see him as a very aggressive warrior. This will be an exciting fight for however long it lasts. Like my dad said, I also think the fans are the winners. This is like a dream and my comeback is finally here. I see this as the beginning of the second part of my career and I'll be coming with everything. I'll show everyone that I want to be the best pound for pound fighter in the world. "