StubHub Center, Carson, California– From the moment this bout was signed, the objective was to get Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (47-1-1, 32 KOs) back on the winning track and nothing was going to get in the way— not Chavez’s inability to make any of the contracted weights, not his refusal to take opponent Brian Vera (23-7, 14 KOs) seriously, and not even the actual fight, itself.
Giving credence to the theory that the three judges for the bout could’ve filled in their scorecards before the opening bell, Carla Caiz, Marty Denkin, and Gwen Adair ruled unanimously in favor of Chavez by scores of 96-94, 97-93, and 98-92. The Boxing Tribune’s scorecard, however, scored the bout a 95-95 draw.
As for the fight, itself, a Chavez, who struggled to even make the artificial 173 lb. limit, conserved his energy throughout and opted to pot-shot a defensively clueless Vera with heavy blows, fighting in spurts and only occasionally doing enough to win rounds.
Vera pushed forward for most of the ten round bout, but proved himself to be just as limited as ever. Fueled by toughness and arm punches, the Austin, Texas native did enough to take rounds where Chavez simply didn’t do enough to win.
The disparity in talent (and size) was evident throughout, but it was clear that Chavez was willing to hold back, conserve energy, and rest in the comfort that he would get every benefit of every doubt when it came to scoring. He was correct in his assumption.
True to form, Chavez complained of low blows, headbutts, and pointed to a hand he allegedly hurt in the fifth round as the reasons behind his closer than close battle against a fighter he should’ve steamrolled.
In defeat, Vera accounted well for himself and performed about as well as could be expected from a guy battling a gigantic Chavez, Top Rank, and the entire California commission.
Regardless of the outcome, though, Vera was going to be headed back to ESPN2 while Chavez keeps his gig as a main stage HBO player.
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada— There was a massive disparity in talent, desire, and toughness on display at the Bell Centre as WBC light heavyweight champ, Adonis Stevenson (22-1, 19 KOs) utterly outclassed former IBF titlist Tavoris Cloud (24-2, 19 KOs) en route to a one-sided RTD victory between rounds seven and eight.
Throughout the fight, the southpaw Stevenson pot-shotted a clueless and ineffective Cloud who merely followed the defending champ around the ring, ingesting shots and taking the occasional wild swing at air.
Stevenson, despite the HBO fawning over his boxing skill, looked technically sloppy and infinitely flawed. Throwing uppercuts from way outside and issuing one punch at a time while leaving his chin hanging out to be hit, the Haitian-born Canadian resident was a casualty waiting to happen. However, Cloud’s poor footwork and lack of drive kept him perpetually out of position to offer any sort of solid counter punching.
Down seven rounds to nothing and with cuts over both eyes, Cloud’s corner saw no reason to let their fighter continue and they waved off the bout.
Stevenson, with this first defense of his world title, confirmed his placement atop the light heavyweight division. Yes, he is a flawed fighter in a lot of areas, but with two heavy, heavy hands and the confidence of a superstar, only Stevenson beats Stevenson at this point, although WBO champ, Sergey Kovalev may have something to say about that.