By Chris Robinson
It looks like former middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1-1, 32 KO’s) will be finishing up his preparation for his forthcoming bout against Brian Vera (23-6, 14 KO’s) out of the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The news came courtesy of welterweight prospect Chase “Checkmate” Corbin shortly after he finished sparring six rounds with the Mexican star.
Corbin has been a fixture around the Las Vegas scene in recent years after relocating from Philadelphia in late 2009. Working under the guidance of trainer Jeff Mayweather, Corbin (8-0, 7 KO’s) is a lanky boxer-puncher who has been involved in some memorable gym battles at the Mayweather Boxing Club and other locales in the city.
However, when sparring with Chavez, Corbin admitted that the classic bout between his fellow Philadelphian Meldrick Taylor and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. was in the back of his mind. In that match, Chavez rallied late to stop Taylor in the closing seconds of the twelfth and final round.
“Ah man, it was one of the best feelings in the world,” Corbin revealed. “Not because I was sparring him. I used to watch his Dad and I’m a big fan of the Meldrick Taylor fight. It was kind of like this Mexican-Philly thing for me. It was a good experience and I learned a lot from it.”
Corbin noted that Chavez will be finishing up his training camp in Las Vegas and he expects to be one of his chief sparring partners during that time.
Asked how the sparring experience went, Corbin revealed that it was the subtleties in Chavez’s technique more than his size that left an impression on him.
“He’s strong, real strong,” said Corbin. “Not because he’s a bigger fighter. I’ve sparred bigger dudes and he’s an excellent body puncher. He knows how to pace himself to go the amount of rounds and he’s got a lot of sneaky punches that he throws.”
Corbin pointed out that Chavez’s trainer Freddie Roach was nowhere to be found.
“A lot of Mexicans; that’s who was here,” joked Corbin. “Just a lot of Chavez’s team and family.”
Chavez vs. Vera takes place on Saturday, Sept. 28 in an HBO-televised clash from the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.