By Keith Idec
Brian Vera has won several fights he entered as an underdog during his eight-year pro career.
The rugged fighter from Austin, Texas, expects to do it again against Sergiy Dzinziruk on Friday night in Verona, N.Y. (ESPN2; 9 p.m. ET). Vera views himself as the more natural middleweight entering their “Friday Night Fights” main event at Turning Stone Resort Casino, a 12-rounder for Vera’s NABO 160-pound title.
“I think Dzinziruk is good,” Vera said. “He’s technical. I think my style is perfect for him. I’ll put a lot of pressure on him and I don’t think he likes that. I think he likes to dictate the fight and kind of control things. But somebody that’s going to stay on top of him and put a lot of pressure on him is going to throw him off his game a little bit. I’m going to be the bigger, stronger guy, and am going to impose my will on him and take it from him.”
The 31-year-old Vera (21-6, 12 KOs) defeated Sergio Mora (23-3-2, 7 KOs) by majority decision in his last fight, a 12-round middleweight rematch Aug. 11 in San Antonio. Vera previously upset Mora by split decision in a 10-rounder in February 2011, a win that helped him secure another rematch against Andy Lee (28-2, 20 KOs), whom Vera upset by seventh-round knockout in their first fight in March 2008.
Lee out-boxed Vera in their October 2011 rematch, but Vera has won his two bouts since losing to Lee. Meanwhile, the 36-year-old Dzinziruk (37-1-1, 24 KOs) is in dire need of a win.
The Ukrainian southpaw entered his middleweight title fight against Sergio Martinez undefeated in March 2011, but Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) dominated him en route to an eight-round TKO win in which he dropped Dzinziruk five times. Following nearly an 18-month layoff, Dzinziruk didn’t look good in his next fight, either, a 12-round draw with prospect Jonathan Gonzalez (16-0-1, 13 KOs) on Sept. 1 in Verona, N.Y.
“Sergiy’s got to win this fight,” said Harry Kazandjian, Dzinziruk’s manager. “Brian Vera is a tough guy, but Sergiy needs to beat him and look good. He’s got to win convincingly.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.