The potential boxing futures of Chavez Jr, Vera and Stevenson
By Jeremy O’Connell
At the weekend, in a highly controversial decision, the bloated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., coming off a marijuana ban and one year layoff, was ruled the winner over the much smaller Brian Vera. Having been widely derided for his unprofessional approach to training and weight making (thee fight originally scheduled for 162 lbs., ended up taking place at 173) in the run-up to the fight, Chavez performed sloppily in the ring, appearing to the vast majority of observers to lose (although some, like myself, had it a draw).
However, just two weeks after the C.J. Ross scoring debacle, all 3 judges scored Chavez the victor, 2 of them by absurdly wide margins. So Chavez moves on, and the brave Vera is forced to swallow a bitter pill. What does the future hold for these two men?
Despite failing to make the originally stipulated weight for this fight, Chavez is expected to fight at 168 going forward, and a major PPV clash with pound for pound star Andre Ward seems to be the likely final destination, no matter how bad he looked against Vera. Who could possibly be interested in watching that whitewash?! Ward has made brilliant fighters look inept, so maybe the most venomous of Chavez detractors, and there will be a lot after this past weekend, can take some pleasure from watching him utterly schooled. The rest of us will yawn through a fight that does nothing but line the pockets of both men, and mark the first step for Ward towards PPV and the resultant wider recognition with the general public.
Brian Vera may have been shafted by both the judging and the weight-limit increases, but his stock rises highly in the aftermath of his career-best performance. Middleweight title shots early next year against either the Peter Quillin-Gabriel Rosado winner (Golden Boy/Showtime are lacking suitable foils for Quillin), or the returning lineal champion Sergio Martinez, would seem to be realistic possibilities. Can anyone say ‘Brian Vera – Lineal Middleweight Champion of the World’? Hey, it happened to Sonny Boy Jaro not long ago!
On a happier note than Chavez-Vera, Adonis Stevenson looked very impressive on Saturday, showing boxing skills to go along with his much-vaunted power, with a 7-round beatdown of ex-titlist Tavoris Cloud. He will likely return on November 30th against his mandatory, Tony Bellew, a fight he should win handily. Another feared puncher, titlist Sergey Kovalev is slated for that undercard, as HBO seeks to manoeuvre them towards an eventual showdown for 175 supremacy sometime next year.
What a mouth-watering shootout that would be, and, as I’ve written before, it is the best matchup between two pure punchers that can be made in the sport.
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