By Jake Donovan
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Brian Vera both appeared fight-ready during Thursday’s press conference to promote their March 1 rematch at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The ring rivals were cordial on stage and in each other’s presence, eager to put the past behind them and focus squarely on the future.
“There was a lot of controversy following the first fight. A lot of people thought Vera won, and that's why we are doing it again,” insisted Chavez Jr., who escaped with a disputed 10-round decision in their HBO-televised headliner last September.
The fight was already laced in controversy, as the former middleweight titlist—in his first fight following a lengthy suspension—postponed the fight and still needed the contracts to be revised to modify his intended fighting weight rather than the originally agreed-upon limit. After all that, Chavez Jr. struggled mightily, with Vera going tooth and nail with the Mexican star over 10 rounds.
All three judges were in agreement in hailing Chavez Jr. as the winner, much to the chagrin of the viewing media. An unofficial poll conducted after the bout saw 53 of 59 media members scoring the bout in favor of Vera, with the remaining six seeing the bout as a draw.
“The first fight was a great one. Thankfully none of the reporters were judging it,” quipped Billy Keane, Chavez Jr.’s manager, who also took note of Vera’s gentlemanlike demeanor in the aftermath. “The fight adds credit to who Brian is. He's a warrior, he's not crying, he just took the fight for what it is.”
The rematch–which will also air on HBO–is considered a make-or-break affair for Chavez Jr., who is on the verge of squandering his figurative ninth life as a respected prizefighter.
“On March 1, I'm going to erase a lot of doubts from the first fight,” Chavez Jr. promised, appearing trim and fighting ready, in stark contrast to his physical condition heading into the first fight.
His handlers took that guarantee one step further.
“Just get a referee that can count to ten,” requested Top Rank VP Carl Moretti, his not-so-subtle way of guaranteeing a knockout. “That’s all we will need for what’s going to happen.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox