In the March 2nd edition of HBO’s World Championship Boxing broadcast, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (48-1-1, 32 knockouts) took on Bryan Vera (23-8, 4 knockouts) in a rematch of their September 28th bout which saw Chavez, Jr. walk away with a decision many thought Vera had rightly earned. After months of criticism, Chavez had no shortage of motivation going into this fight, and for once we were able to see what a focused and in-shape Chavez is capable of doing.
From the opening bell, the audience was immediately reminded of two things: 1.) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. is absolutely massive for his weight class 2.) Bryan Vera is as game as an opponent can possibly come. The two wasted no time in feeling the other out and continued straight from where their last fight had left off. Early on, Chavez seemed to have been overwhelming Vera with his size and power, but Vera still managed to come forward and throw shots of his own although they were rather sporadic in the early moments of the fight.
Once round three approached, Vera really began to come alive as he plodded in front of his opponent and ripped shots to the head and body of Chavez. Vera was doing the better job of actually stringing together combos, but Chavez was doing his damage by throwing single, booming hooks and straights that, more often than not, managed to find their mark. Even so, Vera ate the shots and kept in front of Chavez at all points, leading to the two trading the types of hellacious shots that would separate even some of the better fighters from their senses.
The two fighters went toe-to-tow, blow-for-blow for the entire fight, but it was clear that Chavez was leading the score cards. Although Vera was active throughout the bout, there was no ignoring the type of power that Chavez was accumulating behind his punches. Sure, Vera had volume, but the power was the deciding factor in the bout.
In the later rounds there were moments where Vera was beginning to get the better of Chavez, but just as that would happen Chavez would respond with his own bombs and steal the round in the final moments. The brutal pace set by both fighters lasted until the twelfth round when Chavez, sensing the comfortable lead he held over his opponent on the scorecards, decided to spend the entirety of the round taunting his opponent rather than attempting to score the stoppage. It was a move that undoubtedly alienated some of the fans present, but it didn’t do much to take away from the impressive victory.
Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. was awarded the unanimous decision win on scores of (114-113), (117-110), and (117-110). There will still always be questions as to just how high Chavez’ cieling as a fighter really is, but if there is one thing he proved it’s when he’s in shape and focused, he’s a tough test for even the best in the division.