“We worked out an agreement,” Arum told Maxboxing. When he was asked what the weight threshold was, he declined to answer but said with a chuckle, “It’s part of the mystique.”
Yeah, it’s all part of the Chavez experience but this much is known: this is no longer a super middleweight contest broadcast by HBO.
Vera’s promoter, Artie Pelullo stated, “What I can tell you is Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. cannot make 168 pounds and Bob Arum and I have been working together and it’s not done. It should be by the end of the day that we can come up with a catchweight that we can all live with, whether it’s 171, 172 or ‘73 or something like that. That’s where we’re at.”
There are the usual chuckles and one-liners thrown around regarding the latest Chavez Jr. snafu but on a serious note, there is a reason boxing has weight classes: to ensure fair fights and create as level a playing field as possible. You wonder where the California commission stands on this issue or if it even tries to intervene. But first and foremost, boxing is a business and the show will (and must) go on.
Vera’s trainer, Ronnie Shields is a veteran of the sport and been around the block a few times. But he’s never seen anything quite like this. “Never,” he said with disgust as the press conference was winding down. “This is a first time for me. I’ve been through everything and I’ve never seen a guy…I mean, this is the fourth time it’s changed. First time I’ve ever seen this. So we’re going to sit down and see what we can work out. As far as I’m concerned, this fight still may not happen Saturday - that’s just as far as I’m concerned. They can say what they want to say but as far as I’m concerned - because there’s a few other things that gotta happen. So we’re going to meet after this and then we’re going to see what happens.”
One stipulation Shields wants is a cap on the amount of weight Chavez can put on by the morning or afternoon of the fight.
“Of course and that’s the thing we’re going to fight with. That’s what we’re meeting about right after this and look, I care about Brian Vera the fighter, the person - they don’t give a f*ck about Brian Vera but I do. And this is about Brian’s health. Now, they don’t care because it’s all about money for them but Brian is going to have to live to fight another day.”
When asked about a possible day-of weigh-in, Arum shrugged it off, stating, “Oh, no, that’s for the IBF,” while Pelullo explained, “That’s part of the conversation and if we agree to a new weight, I don’t think you can do a cap the morning of the fight and we put it in the contract. So that’s where we’re at right now.”
Once again, like the situation involving Adrien Broner and Vicente Escobedo last summer, the fighter who actually plays by the rules and makes weight is unfortunately the one under the gun to fight at a possible disadvantage. Vera, who is earning a career-high payday, will get more than a few more dollars thrown his way to accommodate Chavez.
“The guy who makes the weight is not the actual star or the A-player; he’s the B-player,” said Pelullo, outlining the situation. “[Vera]’s making weight; he’s in the best shape of his life; he looks very good. Yes, his career’s been on hold for four or five months and when they originally made this fight, they didn’t think we had a shot to win and believe it or not, all of this confusion in his camp - the father [Julio Sr.], Freddie Roach is in; Freddie Roach is out, not making weight; that’s all an advantage for my guy. I believe that all of the confusion is an advantage for Brian Vera and the weight that [Chavez] puts on after, I don’t think that’s a detriment to Brian Vera because [Chavez] is just not in shape.
“So I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. So at the end of the day, it’s not an ideal situation but it’s an opportunity of a lifetime and when [Vera] wins the fight, he’s now in even bigger mega-fights.”
Vera is a prizefighter. He wants to go out there and give it a go. You don’t get paid to train in this racket.
Shields says adamantly, “Well, look, the pressure’s on the fighter but when you got a guy who’s a middleweight now, you want him to fight light heavyweight and then the guy can come in at cruiserweight? No way.”
Here’s the latest edition of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly, where we preview Chavez’s situation and this weekend’s fights on HBO:
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