by David P. Greisman
Bryan Vera and his team already felt that Vera deserved to win his fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. this past September. But they also feel that a significant difference for their upcoming rematch will produce a significantly different official result.
Chavez-Vera 2, which is being held on March 1 in San Antonio, is supposed to have a weight limit of 168 pounds, or else Chavez will be fined $250,000. Last September, the weight limit kept changing, getting heavier and heavier — Chavez later admitted that he was coming down from more than 200 pounds — until Chavez was essentially a light heavyweight on the scale and a cruiserweight in the ring. He won a controversial unanimous decision.
Ronnie Shields, who trains Vera, believes that taking away Chavez’s size advantage will also change the way that Chavez was able to take so many of Vera’s shots.
Shields spoke with BoxingScene.com on Feb. 19.
BoxingScene.com: Why do you think that the result will be different for the rematch with Chavez Jr. — that Vera will pick up the win this time or, as you probably feel, for the second time?
Shields: “I just think Bryan has to fight smart. Of course, I don’t think we can fight the exact replica fight that we fought the last time. We’re throwing in a bit of changes just to try to throw Chavez off. I think Chavez probably really underestimated Bryan in the first fight. … You have to understand: Chavez was so much bigger in the last fight. They both weighed in almost the same, but Chavez is the naturally bigger guy. He was close to 200 pounds, and Bryan probably stepped in the ring at around 172.
“Them 30 pounds were really huge. And that’s why it looked like when Chavez hit him, of course he rocked him, because he was such a big guy. But this time, if he does come in at 168 pounds, that won’t be the difference. Bryan will be just as strong as he is. Bryan’s punches probably will take more effect than they did the last time. The last time, Bryan just hit him with so many. This time, I think it’ll be easier for Bryan to hurt him, because the last time he [Chavez] was just too big.”
BoxingScene.com: I thought it was Bryan’s pressure and volume that got to Chavez. When you say “fight smart,” you’re not talking about taking that away for the rematch, are you?
Shields: “No, no, no. Not at all. I’m just saying that we’re going to throw in some other stuff that Chavez hasn’t seen before.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you think that 168 might still be too much for Bryan?
Shields: “No, I don’t think so. Bryan, really, is a 160-pounder, but he walks around at 172. So that’s not so bad. But it all depends on the other guy, what the guy comes in at. We have a contract at 168, so we’re going to see if 168 is going to be the thing. If it’s not, then Chavez is going to have to — I don’t know, it’s hard to tell with this guy. The only thing we’re doing is we’re training really hard for the best guy that’s going to be in front of us.”
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