by David P. Greisman, live at the scales
MORE PHOTOS TO COME.................
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — There were no weight shenanigans this time with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who came in under the contractual limit for his rematch with Bryan Vera, stepping on the scales at 167.5 pounds. Photos by Chris Farina.
Chavez’s camp knew that he was on weight, posting a photo online earlier in the day showing him being so. And they came prepared with a prop — a giant voided check in the amount of $250,000, which is what Chavez would have owed Vera had he failed to make weight for this bout.
Vera also checked in at 167.5 pounds.
Their first fight was controversial before it even got underway. The weight limit kept getting pushed higher and higher, and Vera’s lack of negotiating leverage against his famous opponent meant he had to keep accepting the changes. And then it came out that Chavez wouldn’t even be able to make the super middleweight limit; his camp paid Vera a sum, and Chavez came in at about 172 pounds on the scales, and even heavier in the ring.
Vera, a natural middleweight, still sought to win the fight with volume. Chavez threw fewer punches, but punches that appeared to have more force behind them. Those unofficial observers watching on television or from ringside saw a close bout, one that Vera may very well have won. But the three judges gave the fight to Chavez: 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94.
Chavez, 28, of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, comes into this rematch with a record of 47-1-1 with 32 KOs and 1 no contest (a win over Troy Rowland in 2009 that was overturned when Chavez tested positive for a banned diuretic). Vera, a 32-year-old Texan, is 23-7 with 14 KOs.
- As for the televised co-feature, featherweight titleholder Orlando Salido dropped his belt on the scales, coming in at 128.25 pounds for his bout with Vasyl Lomachenko, who came in at 125.25 pounds. Salido declined any further attempts at hitting 126.
Salido has had quite a lengthy career for someone who is just 33 years old. The man from Sonora, Mexico, turned pro at 15 years old in 1996, lost his first fight, and suffered many defeats early in his career before working his way up to an unsuccessful challenge for Juan Manuel Marquez’s featherweight titles in 2004.
He has been in and out of the title picture ever since, picking up a world title from Juan Manuel Lopez in 2011, dropping it to Mikey Garcia in early 2013, and then regaining the vacant belt late last year with a win over Orlando Cruz. Salido is 40-12-2 with 28 knockouts and 1 no contest (a win over Robert Guerrero in 2006 that was overturned when Salido tested positive for steroids).
He’ll clearly need to move up in weight after more than a decade at 126.
Lomachenko, a 26-year-old from Ukraine, won Olympic gold in 2008 as a featherweight and once again in 2012 as a lightweight, to go along with a silver in the 2007 world championships and gold medals in the 2009 and 2011 world championships.
He had six semi-pro World Series of Boxing fights before appearing on the undercard to last year’s Juan Manuel Marquez-Timothy Bradley pay-per-view, on which he scored a fourth-round knockout of Jose Ramirez. Depending on how you look at it, Lomachenko is either 1-0 with 1 knockout, or 7-0 with 1 knockout.
Also on the undercard:
- Former lightweight titleholder Juan Diaz came in at 134.5 pounds for the fourth fight in his comeback. His opponent, Gerardo Robles, came in at 134.5.
Diaz, 30, of Houston, Texas, is 38-4 with 19 KOs. He spent two and a half years out of the ring following his rematch loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in July 2010, returning with three bouts last year, wins over Gerardo Cuevas, Adailton De Jesus and Juan Santiago.
Robles, 31, originally from Mexico but now fighting out of Kansas, is 16-12 (7 KOs), with two of those losses coming against familiar names in Rances Barthelemy and Diego Magdaleno.
- Prospect Jose Zepeda came in at 142.5 pounds, while his opponent, Johnnie Edwards, came in at 146.6.
Zepeda, a 24-year-old from the Los Angeles area, is 17-0 with 15 KOs. Edwards, 34, of Jacksonville, N.C., is 15-6-1 with 8 KOs.
- Lightweight prospect Ivan Najera, who came in at 136.5 pounds, while his opponent, Angel Hernandez, came in at 133.25.
Najera, a 21-year-old from San Antonio, is 12-0 with 8 KOs. Hernandez, 22, of McAllen, Texas, is 8-1 (4 KOs).
- Featherweight/junior lightweight prospect Oscar Valdez weighed 127.5 pounds, while his opponent, Samuel Sanchez, weighed 126.75 pounds.
Valdez, 23, of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, is 8-0 (8 KOs). Sanchez, 26, of Dallas, is 6-4-1 (1 KO).
- Welterweight prospect Alex Saucedo came in at 146.5 pounds, while his opponent, Gilbert Venegas, came in at 148.5.
Saucedo, 19, is 12-0 with 9 KOs. Venegas, 36, is 12-12-4 with 8 KOs and 1 no contest.
- Jerren Cochran came in at 126.75 pounds, while his opponent, Adauto Gonzalez came in at 128 pounds.
Cochran, 23, is 10-0 (4 KOs). Gonzalez, 35, is 10-9 (3 KOs).
(All records according to BoxRec.com)
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]