By Francisco Salazar
Bryan Vera did not have a chance. Not a few months ago when his fight with Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. was postponed.
Nor when he and his team signed off on allowing Chavez to come in over a contracted weight on three separation occasions.
And especially when most in the boxing world thought he did enough to defeat Chavez in their scheduled 10 round bout at the Stubhub Center in Carson, CA.
Instead, Vera wound up on the short end of the stick, when the boxing world still had the name “CJ Ross” fresh in their memories.
Apparently, the 5,206 in attendance, even the diehard of Chavez fans, did not know whether to cheer or act surprised when the scores were announced.
What more could Vera have done in this fight? Known more for his awkward and aggressive style, Vera boxed well during the early stages of the fight. Chavez looked to counter, but may have been thrown off at times as to what to do because of the different looks Vera gave him.
By the third round, Chavez began to press the action aggressively. He was rewarded by landing more left hooks to the head of Vera. The problem was Chavez looked somewhat winded by the end of the fourth round, due to expending more energy at this point of the fight.
Vera returned to what had worked well for him earlier in the fight. He boxed from the outside, throwing combinations that ended with a right cross that would at times hit its mark.
Chavez came on in the sixth round, landing a hard right hand to the head of Vera, who looked stunned momentarily. Sensing he could possibly stun Vera again, Chavez landed a hard left hook to the head of Vera at the end of the seventh round.
While Vera did well in the eighth and ninth rounds, he avoided going to the body, continuing to match Chavez with power punches to the head. Vera had a big round in the ninth, at times snapping Chavez’s head back.
Sensing he was down, Chavez came on, digging hooks to the body of Vera. Chavez looked as though a miracle fell in his lap in the last 30 seconds when he had Vera against the ropes. But Vera survived the onslaught, raising his hands in celebration, thinking he did more than enough to defeat Chavez.
Instead, he was dealt heartbreak and agony.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Chavez, 98-92, 97-93, and 96-94. Boxingscene.com scored the bout 96-94 for Vera.
Chavez may have won the fight. But will fight fans, especially his own, take Chavez seriously after he felt he won the fight and will make a serious challenge to fight a world title holder at 168 pounds?
Bryan Vera not only believes he won the fight, but he would like to fight Chavez again to prove lightning does strike twice.
“He could come back down to 168 pounds and we’ll do it again,” said Vera, who seemed to win Chavez supporters during and after the fight. “This was the best performance of my career. The weight was really not an issue. The game plan came out exactly how we wanted it. He never hurt me during the fight.”
Chavez had a different outlook on the fight. While HBO interviewed Chavez after the fight, the interview was played out over the loudspeakers for fans in attendance to hear.
“I know that I won the fight. He kept headbutting me and landing punches below the belt and the referee did not say anything. I hope to fight again in December.”
While it is ambitious of Chavez to want to fight again three months later and drop in weight to 168 pounds, he may have a difficult time convincing fans Vera did enough to win.
Final punch stat numbers show Vera connected with 176 punches to Chavez’s 125.
Either way, Vera’s stock went up as most fight fans would want to see fight again. Chavez will have to convince fight fans that the weight issues he went through will not longer occur. That could take some time.
Chavez, from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, goes to 47-1-1, 32 KOs. Vera, from Austin, TX, drops to 23-7, 14 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since last September and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper and Knockout Nation. He could be reached by email at [email protected] or on twitter at FSalazarBoxing