HBO Preview: Stevenson vs. Cloud, Chavez Jr. vs. Vera
By: William Holmes
Saturday was originally going to be a split-site triple header for HBO, but a gash over the left eye of David Hayes’s eye resulted in a disappointing postponement of his scheduled heavyweight bout with Tyson Fury. That bout has been rescheduled to February 8th, but it is was not the only bout with pre-fight drama.
Ex-Middleweight Champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. renegotiated the contracted weight at the last minute to the light heavyweight limit of 173 pounds. Brian Vera is already a small middleweight and he had previously agreed to face Chavez at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds.
One has to wonder if Chavez has been taking his training seriously since his eleven round thrashing at the hands of Sergio Martinez.
Adonis “Superman” Stevenson of Quebec is a knockout artist whom HBO has been putting their promotional muscle behind ever since he viciously knocked out Chad Dawson. Tavoris Cloud is an ex-champion in desperate need of a win since he was taken to the woodshed by the aging Bernard Hopkins.
Stevenson and Cloud looks to be the most explosive fight of the night.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1) vs. Brian Vera (23-6); Light Heavyweights
Even though Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s record is significantly better than Brian Vera’s, Vera is a tough enough fighter to require Chavez’s full attention and dedication in training. Chavez’s inability to get anywhere near the super middleweight limit brings to question Chavez’s physical shape and conditioning.
This bout has also been rescheduled to a ten round bout, which should help Vera against the notoriously slow starting Chavez.
Despite the fact Chavez will be a significantly bigger fighter inside the ring, Vera will match him in reach. Vera has stopped fourteen of his opponents and has won six of his last seven bouts. He has been active and this will be his third fight in 2013.
He’s defeated former “The Contender” winner Sergio Mora twice and bested Serhiy Dzinziruk by TKO in January of this year. But Vera’s history before his current win streak is that of a gate keeper who other fighters have used as a stepping stone to a championship fight.
Vera has been defeated by Andy Lee, Max Bursak, Craig McEwan, and James Kirkland.
Vera likes to stay in the pocket and exchange, but it would be foolish of him to brawl with Chavez Jr., even if he may be out of shape.
Chavez has stopped thirty two of his opponents and had Martinez badly hurt in the last round of their championship bout. Chavez has been accused of taking on easy fights but his resume of defeated opponents significantly overshadows that of Vera.
Chavez stopped Andy Lee, gutted out a victory over Maro Antonio Rubio, stopped Peter Manfredo Jr., and defeated the likes of Sebastian Zbik and John Duddy.
Chavez will likely have a large amount of Mexican fans supporting him in Carson, California. and he won’t let them down. He should be able to stop Brian Vera, especially if he gets reckless, but his unprofessionalism could cost him down the road.
Adonis Stevenson (21-1) vs. Tavoris Cloud (24-1); WBC Light Heavyweight Title
Stevenson is not a young and upcoming champion. He’s thirty-six years old and has been boxing professionally since 2006. He had some success as an amateur boxer in Canada but does not have any Olympic experience.
Stevenson has spent a large amount of his career fighting in front of the rabid boxing fan base of Montreal, Canada. His nickname of “Superman” is indicative of his power as he’s stopped eighteen of his opponents including his last eight victories.
Stevenson exploded onto the scene with his first round knockout of Chad Dawson three months ago. He avenged his only defeat by stopping Darnell Boone in the sixth round. He’s also defeated Don George, Noe Gonazalez Alcoba, Aaron Pryor Jr., and Derek Edwards.
He’s powerful and exciting but one has to wonder if his power will stay with him as he gets older.
Tavoris Cloud is five years Stevenson’s junior and also has some significant power in his hands. He’s stopped nineteen of his opponents but has only stoppage victory in his past five fights.
Cloud was thoroughly outclassed by Bernard Hopkins at the Barclays Center in March of this year. He struggled badly against Gabriel Campillo and may have been given a gift decision. He defeated Yusaf Mack in June of 2011 despite not looking good in the early rounds.
Cloud’s other significant victories include an old Glen Johnson, an old Clinton Woods, and . . . nobody else.
Cloud’s semi-impressive record appears to be the result of an easy schedule and favorable matchupes created by his promoter Don King. But Cloud is in desperate need of a win and he’ll have to be able to face the hard punches of Stevenson.
That might be impossible in Montreal.
Stevenson is riding high and should be able to stop Cloud. A lucrative and action packed fight with Sergey Kovalev lies ahead.