By Rick Reeno
Ronnie Shields, the trainer of Brian Vera (23-6, 14KOs), has advised BoxingScene.com that a deal was reached to face former middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1-1, 32KOs) at a catch-weight of 173-pounds on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California - and the bout has also been changed to from a twelve to a ten round fight. HBO will televise.
The fight was first set to take place at 163 when the initial negotiations began, but then quickly changed to 165 and then bumped to the super middleweight limit of 168. The actual date was also pushed back several times and was finally set for earlier this month at the Staples Center, but the promoters were forced to push it back even further after Chavez sustained a cut in training.
Vera, who Shields indicates was 167-pounds as of Wednesday, was financially compensated for allowing Chavez the additional pounds.
"We settled on the weight of 173. The fight will be a ten round fight now instead of a twelve. It was our decision [to make it a ten rounder]. They kept saying it was 'not a championship fight, we can go up in the weight.' So we said 'alright, if you can do all that then we want to make it ten rounds' and they agreed. My thinking is this - [Chavez] is going to be over 190-pounds when he gets back into that ring. For him to put his weight on Brian and all that, I think ten rounds is so much better for us," Shields told BoxingScene.com.
"We explained everything to Brian of what can happen in the fight with the weight and ultimately it was Brian's decision to go forward with the fight. He said 'I trained too long not to fight. This is the best shape that I've ever been in." He trained 17 weeks for the fight if you total everything up from the beginning of when we first started this [training camp] until now. He said what he wanted, he got what he wanted and he feels good about it. The most important thing is that Brian feels good about it and got what he wanted."
Shields, with decades of experience and being involved in numerous high profile fights, has never been involved in anything like the Chavez weight fiasco.
"I've been involved in a lot of fiascos but nothing like this. The fight has been put off three or four times already. The weight has changed three times already. It's just ridiculous. And the thing is - none of it is my guy's fault....none of it. Brian had nothing to do with any of this. It all came from that end," Shields said.
If Vera would have come to Shields and asked the veteran trainer to make a ruling on the fight, Shields tells BoxingScene that he likely would have pulled his fighter from the match.
"Absolutely not, I would not have went forward with it. Here is the thing for me, I know how big Chavez is going to be in the ring that night and there are no titles on the line, and that's why they kept switching the weight. I have to get a feel of the fighter first. If he would have had any hesitation, if I would have seen any hesitation from the fighter - we would have walked away from the fight," Shields said.
According to Shields, not everything is secure as of yet - as he believes the fight could still be in jeopardy.
"I still feel the fight is in jeopardy because he still has to make 173-pounds. We're not giving up anymore weight. That's it. You have to draw the line somewhere," Shields said.