Julio Cesar Chavez's unanimous-decision victory over Brian Vera in September in Carson was so clouded by a travesty of weigh-in adjustments and dubious judging, a rematch is coming Saturday night in San Antonio on HBO.
Chavez (47-1-1, 32 knockouts) made weight Friday, coming in a half pound under the
super-middleweight limit of 168 pounds to avoid a possible fine that would've gone into Vera's pocket.
Chavez gloated, bringing a giant check written for the agreed-upon penalty of $250,000, and
wrote "VOIDED" across the front of it, handing it to Vera (23-7, 14 KOs).
Perhaps – and this has been said multiple times before – the son of the great Mexican
champion finally gets it.
Chavez not only needed every unwritten rule of weigh-in limits to be changed in his favor in the first Vera meeting, he was the beneficiary of questionable scoring from California's Marty Denkin, Gwen Adair and Carla Caiz to gain the victory.
And that was his first fight back from a loss to Sergio Martinez, in which he was suspended
in Nevada for testing positive for marijuana usage afterward, and was criticized by ex-trainer Freddie Roach for ignoring a typical training routine to instead sleep and engage in other activities.
How's it gone this time? The weight is a hint, but veteran promoter Bob Arum will have no real
answer until the fight is over.
"Anything you hear from that [Chavez Jr.] camp, you have to sift through with a fine-tooth comb, and you still don't know if it's true," Arum said. "They tell me he's in great shape, working hard. But do I necessarily believe them? No.
"From how he looks physically, he looks like he's in shape.
"But Chavez is the North Korea of boxing. You don't know what's true and what's not true."
Arum laughed when asked who trained Chavez Jr. this camp.
"We don't who the [heck] they are … the answer is he trains himself," Arum said.
The promoter has worked to capitalize upon the name value of Chavez, who has flashed skill in winning a middleweight world title, by knocking out Andy Lee in 2012, and knocking down Martinez in the 12th round of their fight.
If only the fighter could get his act together.
"You're preaching to me?" Arum said. "He's a remarkable talent. The kid can fight. He's not just a name, not someone just built up. He's a hell of a fighter. Has a good chin, throws good punches, throws them well.... If I could match his ability and give him some focus and discipline, nobody would beat this guy."
Also on the card, two-time Olympic gold-medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, 26, of the Ukraine will challenge
to take Orlando Salido's World Boxing Organization featherweight title in just his second pro fight on U.S. soil.
Arum said Lomachenko has star power given his professionalism, skill and fighting style.
"I am so high on Lomachenko – I know he's fighting a real skilled, tough veteran and that's not easy – he could end up being the top fighter in the world," Arum said. "He's the kind of personality that would be better accepted on the world stage than anyone."
Arum said Lomachenko is learning English and should speak proficiently by next month. There are plans to have Lomachenko fight at least three more times this year, perhaps as part of a Russia card Arum is hoping to negotiate when he departs there Monday.
"There's a great demand for him on HBO," Arum said. "Consummate pro, combines offense,
defense, punches like a son of a gun, verry entertaining."