Coming into this contest, Chavez was, at first, simply too heavy (causing the agreed weight to be increased from 168 pounds to 173 just last week) and then he looked drained at the weigh-in and blown-up like a balloon on fight night. A source said Chavez was hooked up to IVs after the weigh-in and was over 190 pounds as he stepped into the ring on Saturday night - yet on this occasion, bigger was not better. Despite having the advantage in size, he was backing up for much of the night and it was Vera - who is really a middleweight - initiating the action and setting the pace.
There were many rounds where Vera did most of the work. He came forward, got his hands moving and consistently beat Chavez to the punch. Chavez landed the more noticeable and harder punches but only on one occasion, at the end of a spirited seventh round, did he rattle Vera. It was Chavez who was so marked up around both eyes that had the look of a raccoon.
Most fans believed Vera had outworked and outhustled the lethargic Chavez after 10 rounds. But in what is a sad commentary of the sport, the three arbiters who sat ringside predictably ruled Chavez the winner, bringing about a loud and nasty reaction from those who bothered to show up to this fight.
“Look, [Vera] won this fight. Everyone seen it,” said an outraged Ronnie Shields, the trainer of Vera, just minutes after the scorecards were read. “These are all Chavez fans booing in here.” Later on, Shields said of his charge, “He out-pressed him; he outlanded him; he threw more punches. What does it take to win a fight these days?! This is f*cking bullsh*t! Every one of these last judges needs to retire.”
(Well, we’ll have more on that later.)
But who are we fooling? Short of a knockout, Vera was never going to win a decision against Chavez, a rarity in this sport: a child of privilege. A scion of boxing royalty, allowed to skip certain steps in this game and enabling has been the name of the game from everyone benefiting from this franchise (http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/57491426). They simply weren’t going to unplug this two-legged ATM. Chavez is the money in this equation. Vera was just the B-side, a guy brought in to play a role (but not to actually have the temerity to win).
If there was ever a time when boxing was going to deliver a Karma KO to Chavez, it would have been on this occasion but instead of being punished for his lack of professionalism and respect for the sport, he was, in essence, rewarded for it.
Crowd at StubHub Center
(Photo © K9 Photos)
Chavez is like that rich, spoiled kid who wraps his Mercedes around a telephone pole after a night of drinking and even after getting a DUI charge, his parents get him the new S-Class the following week to replace it. Vera, on the other hand, is that guy who works two jobs at the mall and saves up to buy an old, beat-up pickup truck. Chavez is the guy who gets into the prestigious university because he’s a legacy. Vera goes to junior college with the hope that he can eventually get into a four-year college (with student loans, of course).
(Perhaps this is really Julio Cesar Cyrus. I mean, the similarities are there: famous father, fast-track to stardom, affinity for marijuana. The only thing missing from young Julio is some twerking before he gets into the ring. Now that would be a sight to behold - or not.)
The sense of entitlement with Chavez is maddening. He said in the aftermath of the fight, “Of course I won the fight but I had a referee who did nothing. There were headbutts, low-blows, repeated fouls and I had to deal with all that in the ring. I thought I did enough to win; I thought I won enough rounds. I’m pleased with my performance.”
Yeah, the nerve of Dr. Lou Moret for not bending over backwards on Junior’s behalf.
As for Vera, he lamented, “I felt like I won. I think I outboxed him. I worked him inside and out. He caught me with a few shots because I was being so aggressive. I felt like I had to be to win the fight later.” He also stated, “This is the best performance of my career. The weight was never an issue. The game plan was exactly what I did. I just have to take some of the macho-ness out and I was never hurt during the fight.”
Despite losing the fight on the cards, Vera won in many respects. This hardnosed plugger from Austin, Texas earned plaudits for his efforts and he probably did enough to earn another payday on HBO (perhaps a rematch). In winning, Chavez lost. The catcalls after
the scorecards were read in his favor were heard loud and clear. But they weren’t as deafening as the swaths of empty seats throughout the StubHub Center.
There will be no phony or contrived outrage from me over the decision. From ringside I had it 95-95 (although in watching the fight again on HBO, I had Vera winning by two points) but there’s no justification for Chavez getting seven or eight rounds like he did on two of the cards. I think most reasonable people can live with cards they disagree with. The big problem is with scorecards that seem predetermined in nature.
“They had their minds made up before the fight happened,” said Vera’s promoter, Artie Pelullo, who echoed the thoughts of many others. Vera knew he was cooked when he heard “98-92” because he just knew he wasn’t getting that type of credit. “When I heard the score, I felt like I was getting robbed. It made me sick to my stomach before they even said it.”
More interesting than the actual scores are how the ringside judges actually got to these tallies. Regarding her score of 96-94, Carla Caiz gave the first four rounds to Vera and the remainder to Chavez. Marty Denkin, who had it 97-93, gave six of the first seven innings to Chavez while Gwen Adair gave the first seven frames to Chavez on her way to 98-92.
C.J. Ross, eat your heart out. But it’s clear that not just Vegas-based boxing needs a new generation of judges.
Pelullo said right after the fight that Carl Moretti of Top Rank suggested a rematch but in Texas. “How can you not do a rematch?” Pelullo asked rhetorically to the ringside media. Yeah, but Artie, you think Texas (which has had its share of snafus) will give you a fair shake?
“Well, I don’t know...” answered Pelullo, chuckling at the thought.
On the other side of the spectrum, Adonis Stevenson was very impressive in stopping Tavoris Cloud in seven rounds, essentially making him quit. Stevenson not only displayed impressive power and good speed but good tactical mastery in controlling Cloud throughout the night.
And Stevenson is now an attraction, drawing over 9,000 fans to the Bell Centre in Montreal. An agreement is already in place for Stevenson to face his WBC mandatory and it could take place on November the 30th but not at the Bell Centre, where a hockey game is scheduled that night. If Stevenson-Tony Bellew does take place that night, it will be at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City according to promoter Yvon Michel. FINAL FLURRIES
Andre Ward has mastered the art of saying nothing as the HBO color commentator or stating things that support a certain agenda of his. His soft-shoeing of Chavez was all in the name of trying to drum up interest in a fight with him. It makes me pine for the days of Lennox Lewis...Word is Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions are moving their November 2nd card featuring Leo Santa Cruz and Alfredo Angulo to November 30th to San Antonio...How ‘bout a fight between Matthew Macklin and Willie Nelson? I wouldn’t mind it. I know HBO owes Macklin a return bout after his loss to Gennady Golovkin...Was Georgia-LSU the best college football game of the year? Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger were both great “between the hedges”...Stacy Coley is the next Miami Hurricanes superstar...Speaking of which, even Gennady Golovkin knows what Al Golden is building in Coral Gables: https://twitter.com/stevemaxboxing/status/384153901248696320/photo/1...Going by past precedent, I expect Lane Kiffin to be President of the United States in 2016 with the way he has failed upward...Great to have “Nashville” back but will it to turn into too much of a soap opera and less about the music scene/culture in that city?...