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Vera Tosses Saturday Night Script

(L-R) Chavez / Vera (Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
(L-R) Chavez / Vera (Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)

By Bill Tibbs


When Austin, Texas middleweight Brian Vera steps into the ring against Mexican star Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, he realizes he is the underdog and knows the role he is supposed to perform. Some may see Vera playing the good soldier, putting up a fight, but ultimately, the evening’s super middleweight (or light heavyweight now as Chavez’s weigh-in issues are still being addressed at press time) affair is supposed to serve as a nice comeback win for Chavez. However, the Fort Worth-born slugger has no plans to follow that script.

 

Having capped off training under former junior welterweight world title challenger and respected trainer Ronnie Shields, Vera knows what a win does for his career. Brian turned pro in 2004 and has amassed a very respectable 23-6 (14) ledger in 29 fights. Vera went 14-0 upon turning professional and didn’t taste defeat until his 15th fight, losing to then-hot prospect Jaidon Codrington as part of ESPN’s reality TV series, “The Contender.” He really caught the attention of the boxing world two fights later when he stopped undefeated, Irish middleweight sensation Andy Lee (handled by legendary trainer Emanuel Steward out of Detroit’s famous Kronk Gym) in seven rounds. The tough, Lone Star banger has also been in the ring with the likes of James Kirkland and Sergio Mora, bringing legitimate punching power and fierce determination to the table.


A recent chat with Shields from his Houston, Texas base revealed a team excited to get in the ring and show what they can - and plan to - do. “This will be my fifth fight with Brian so I am getting to know him and his strengths really well. This is a guy with solid punching power and he is great shape,” Shields stated. While the World Boxing Hall of Fame “Trainer of the Year” for 2003 described Chavez as “a very good fighter with a lot of strengths,” he also said that both Vera and Chavez match up in terms of styles, making for a serious tussle when these two collide. “In terms of styles, I think Chavez, who is a real aggressive, offensive-type fighter, could help us. Brian likes to bang, so we won’t have to look for this guy,” he said. While the fight has been delayed a couple of times with lots of changes in weights and dates, both Vera and Shields are taking it all in stride. “Hey, this is boxing; things happen. It’s actually given us more time to prepare and get ready for Chavez, so it hasn’t been a problem. The fight was initially at 160, then they came back with 164 - now 168 - but that’s OK. We’ll be ready,” said Shields.

 

While Shields knows California is somewhat neutral turf for the Texas-based Vera and the Mexico-based Chavez, he also realizes it’s probably best not to leave anything to chance. “In reality, we probably need a knockout to win,” he said. “We are going to stick to the game plan that we have put together, show some things to Chavez that are new and he hasn’t seen from Brian. Brian is really excited for this fight; he can’t wait.

 

When we win, it might surprise some people but it won’t be a surprise on this end. It won’t be a surprise to us. He’s in the best shape of his life and can’t wait to get in the ring.”

 

Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca.



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