By Keith Idec
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. speaks from experience when he says he expects a very difficult fight against Bryan Vera.
Chavez (46-1-1, 32 KOs, 1 NC) and Vera (23-6, 14 KOs) sparred against each other nearly three years ago, before Chavez went on to win the WBC middleweight title from Germany’s Sebastian Zbik in June 2011. Those rough rounds remind Chavez that he’ll encounter a determined opponent who knows full well he can change his life by upsetting the son of Mexico’s most beloved boxer when they square off Sept. 28 at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
“Vera is the real deal, a warrior,” Chavez said following their press conference in Los Angeles to officially announce the fight, the main event of an HBO tripleheader. “Years ago I sparred a few rounds against Vera when I was in Dallas [for] the Pacquiao verus Margarito event [in November 2010]. Vera was pretty intense and I knew he could fight. We were in a ring set up inside the Gaylord Hotel. So this fight on Sept. 28 will be challenging for me.”
The 31-year-old Vera, of Austin, Texas, has won four straight fights since losing a 10-round unanimous decision to Andy Lee (30-2, 21 KOs) in their October 2011 middleweight rematch in Atlantic City. Two of Vera’s victories after Lee defeated him came against former WBO junior middleweight champ Sergiy Dzinziruk (37-2-1, 24 KOs), by 10th-round technical knockout, and former WBC 154-pound champion Sergio Mora (24-3-2, 7 KOs), by majority decision in their 12-round middleweight rematch.
The 12-round Chavez-Vera super middleweight match has been postponed multiple times due to various Chavez-related issues, most recently a cut over Chavez’s right eye sustained in sparring, thus Chavez won’t have fought for a year and two weeks when they finally fight. The former middleweight champion hasn’t boxed since he nearly overcame a huge scorecard deficit by badly hurting Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs), who withstood a 12th-round knockdown and held on to win their middleweight title fight by unanimous decision Sept. 15 in Las Vegas.
The 27-year-old Chavez acknowledged that his lone professional loss has eaten away at him.
“I’m just so happy getting back into the ring after such a long layoff,” Chavez said. “I think about the Sergio Martinez fight every day. A little of me died inside when I lost that fight. Could I have done better? Of course I should have, but it did not happen. Now we have Vera, who is aggressive and punches hard. I wanted to come back against a great fighter and Vera is all of that. I plan to win this fight and then we will discuss my plans for 2014.”
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.