By Jackie Kallen
Last September boxing fans were left with a bad taste in their mouth when Julio Chavez, jr. was awarded a controversial win over Bryan Vera.The fight was close and many fans felt that Vera got robbed. To add to their displeasure, Chavez failed to make the 168 pound limit and had to pay Vera a shitload of money. The fight weight was changed from 168 pounds to 173 pounds.
One would think that an elite fighter with a lot on the line would not screw around with his weight. I experienced that as James Toney’s manager and I know how it can weaken a boxer and mess with his head. It is not really an advantage to come in heavy.
I don’t blame Vera for accepting the money and fighting at a higher weight. He wasn’t about to walk away from a cushy opportunity like that. Now that a rematch is just days away in San Ontonio, Team Vera should be strategizing like mad. This is their chance to even the record.
They have to convince the smaller Vera to stay away from Chavez jr as much as possible early on. It’s a given that Chavez jr. will go for the kill from the opening bell. He will try to use his size advantage to make it a short fight. I am sure that an early knockout is part of his plan.
Hopefully Vera will be active and make Chavez jr fight and move. If Chavez jr. has had any trouble making weight, he won’t want to expend 12 rounds of energy trying to catch his prey. He will want to get in, take care of business, and get out.
I also hope that Vera is focused and determined that Chavez jr is just another fighter. Although he is the son of a legend–HE is not a legend. Vera has to fight this guy the way he’d fight anyone else. Being that he is from Texas, one would expect Vera to be the home-town favorite. But San Antonia loves Chavez, jr. Despite the fact that the crowd will be pro-Chavez jr., Vera has to zone it all out and just fight.
Not that I am necessarily cheering against Chavez, jr. but I would enjoy seeing Vera get the win. It’s the same way I feel about Bradley/Pacquiao II. When a man has been cheated, it’s satisfying to see him vindicated.
Fight fans are anxious to see whether a man with only one pro fight can beat a world champion. Ukraine sensation Vasyl Lomachenko who is 1-0 will face veteran Orlando Salido for the WBO Featherweight belt. This is a highly unusual, historic matchup. At 26 years old, with two Gold medals and a spectacular amateur background, Lomachenko has no qualms about taking on the 33 year old who has fought 55 pro fights.
Typically a fighter has to work his way through 4, 6, 8, and 10 round fights before getting in line for a title. That can take several years. Getting the opportunity so early in your career can be a blessing or a curse. Should Lomachenko win, he will immediately have to take on challengers like Jhonny Gonzalez and Abner Mares and other men who have had dozens of fights under their belts. He will not have the chance to learn as he goes.
Could this fight change the way boxers move their careers? Will it encourage other young eager fighters to shoot for the stars too early? It will be interesting to see how this one pans out.