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Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. wins by acrimonious decision

The judges score it as a unanimous victory for the Mexican fighter over Bryan Vera, but the crowd boos the verdict.

September 28, 2013|Bill Dwyre
  • Brian Vera, right, may have lost by unanimous decision to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but he called the fight "the best performance of my career."
Brian Vera, right, may have lost by unanimous decision to Julio Cesar Chavez… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)

Another night of boxing, more controversy. The sport currently comes with an odor. Even more than usual.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., more famous by birth than achievement, won a 10-round unanimous decision Saturday night at StubHub Center. He beat Bryan Vera of Austin, Texas, who had been put in the ring as a steppingstone opponent for bigger, more lucrative paydays in boxing's suddenly attractive middleweight divison.

The decision was booed heartily by the crowd.

It came in the immediate aftermath of the controversial draw scoring by Nevada judge C.J. Ross in the obvious, one-sided Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Saul "Canelo" Alvarez match. Also, a year ago, Tim Bradley got a decision, also in Las Vegas, over Manny Pacquiao and the fans howled. Ross was also a judge in that one.

This one wasn't quite that outrageous, but there was no mistaking the feeling that something is rotten in Denmark. Or, in this case, Carson.

The judges had it unanimous for Chavez as follows: Carla Caiz, 96-94; Marty Denkin, 97-93; Gwen Adair, 98-92. Adair's card translated to eight rounds to two for Chavez. Few on press row had it anywhere near that one-sided.

Vera's reaction to the decision: "It made me sick to my stomach."

He also said: "This was the best performance of my career. The weight was not an issue. The game plan was exactly what I did, except I should have taken the macho out of it."

Chavez, whose father remains the most popular and admired boxer ever in Mexico, said, "Of course I won the fight. The ref [Lou Moret] did nothing. It was low blows and head butts. I had to fight him and deal with all that.

"The guy is good, but there were too many head butts. I almst KO'ed him three times."

Later, at his news conference, Chavez said he didn't knock Vera out because he had broken his right hand early in the fight.

The argument for Chavez's decision being legitimate was that when he landed, he landed well. Vera was the fireplug, waging war inside and throwing hundreds more punches — 776 to Chavez's 308. Chavez landed 125 of his and Vera 176. Vera also won the power-punch-landed statistic, 109-98.

Chavez had several things going for him: a huge reach advantage and more spectacular power when he could find Vera. Also, perhaps most important, he had a reputation. When in doubt, judges tend to lean toward the star.

A Vera victory would have scrambled the division, somewhat to the disadvantage of promoters. Possible huge-payday opponents awaiting shots at Chavez, himself a big draw because if his heritage, are Andre Ward and Sergio Martinez, as well as upstart Gennady Golovkin, who has jumped onto the scene

with three wins already

this year and with a 27-0 record that includes 24 knockouts.

Martinez would be a rematch; he defeated Chavez last year in Las Vegas in a match he dominated until Chavez knocked him down and almost out in the last round.

A Chavez loss Saturday night would have sent many people in high places in boxing back to the drawing board.

If, as Vera said, weight was not an issue, it had been throughout the buildup to the fight. The fight was originally going to be contested at 163 pounds, but that got lost in translation when Chavez was injured and the fight was postponed.

When it was finally set for Sept. 28, the weight was 168 and the fight duration was 12 rounds. By last week, things changed again.

At the usual fight-week press conference, promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, a master at finding sunlight in a thunderstorm, told the gathered media that he had a "first" for them. He said that the fight weight would be determined after the weigh-in.

He said it was unprecedented, and he certainly was right about that.

The charade was an obvious admission that Chavez, who often trains like Butterbean looking at a hot fudge sundae, couldn't make 168. At the weigh-in Friday, he came in just a tad under 173, exactly 1721/2. Vera, knowing he could eat without limit, came in at 1711/4. So, 173 became the offical weight.

Usually, HBO officials get to weigh fighters just before they march into the ring, always an interesting time to see how much a fighter gains from the Friday afternoon weigh-in to the Saturday night fight. This time, Chavez declined to be weighed. There was speculation he might come in at as much as 190 pounds, but he looked lighter than that.

Because of the weight charade, the fight, with no title being contested, was shortened to 10 rounds.

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