Chavez Jr: Failing to Prepare…

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By Rudy Mondragon 
On the night of September 28, 2013 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (47-1-1, 32 KOs) and Brian Vera (23-7-0, 14 KOs) stepped into the ring at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California. For Team Chavez Jr, this was supposed to be a tune up, come back fight. A hand picked opponent who could be beat and help Chavez Jr come back after losing to Sergio Martinez in September 2012 and serving a suspension for testing positive for marijuana. Everyone on Team Chavez Jr got the memo that this fight would be an easy one. Brian Vera got that memo too. Except he tore it up and dumped it into the recycling bin.

Pre-Fight Context

The Golden Rule is an unfortunate rule in boxing. The Golden Rule states that the fighters who makes the most CREAM can call the shots and holds a lot of power in decision making. This rule applied to the fullest for Chavez Jr and subjected Vera to adapt to the plans for the fight as they changed over time. Fight was originally set for a weight limit of 163lbs. It was then changed to 168lbs as Chavez was having difficulty making weight. The fight also had scheduling problems. Originally scheduled to take place earlier in September, it was then pushed to later in the month as Chavez Jr. suffered a cut over his right eye. Fair enough. However, the week of the fight, Chavez was walking around above 170lbs and was able to get the fight changed from the 168lbs limit to 173lbs. Vera was nothing less than a professional and he adapted to the changes. His trainer in a strategic move to make the fight more equitable asked for a 10 round fight versus a 12 round fight. With all this drama, the fight still took place last night.

The Fight

The scheduled 10 round fight started off as expected. Chavez Jr. was slow in his start and the smaller Vera went to work in an attempt to overwhelm Chavez Jr with busy work. Although Vera’s punches did not pack a lot of weight, he was the busier of the two and was pushing back Chavez Jr. Chavez Jr appeared flabby and absent of proper conditioning needed in a sport that has no problem in keeping a fighter honest.

Chavez Jr was looking to land quality power shots. He did not have the conditioning to throw combinations and limited himself to picking Vera off with single strong hooks to the head and powerful body shots. Chavez Jr stunned Vera a couple of times in the fight. Rather than back off when necessary, Vera stayed in front of Chavez Jr, making him an easy target for the slow, but ever powerful Chavez Jr. As a result, Chavez Jr was able to influence the judges because of the quality and clarity of power punches landed on Vera. Shields, Vera’s trainer, said it best when he told Vera to not be Mr. Macho with a guy like Chavez.

Going into the final two rounds, I had the fight even at 4 rounds apiece. It could have gone to either fighter at this point. The rounds I gave to  Chavez Jr. were due to Vera subjecting himself to trouble by exchanging with Chavez Jr and staying flat footed. Vera was no doubt the busier fighter from start to finish. I scored the final two rounds for Vera as he was busier and landed more big shots than Chavez Jr. Chavez Jr continued to complain about low blows and head butts. As he would complain however, Vera would take advantage and throw flurry combos.

 Blood Money Boxing Prediction by Rudy Mondragon:
96 – 94 Brian Vera

The Results

Last night’s scoring provided fuel for those who say boxing is dead. The scores that the three judges come up with were a disservice to a fighter who put it all on the line, trained his ass off, did everything that was asked of him and then some more, got in the ring against a bigger man, fought outside of his weight class, and was still left unrewarded. The final scores, all for Chavez Jr:

judge: Gwen Adair 98-92 | judge: Carla Caiz 96-94 | judge: Marty Denkin 97-93

The only score that in my opinion was believable was Carla Caiz. The fight was close and with the subjective nature of scoring in boxing, Caiz could have easily seen the quality of Chavez Jr.’s punches to be more impactful than the quantity of punches that Vera threw. But when you have judges scoring this fight 8-2 and 7-3, one has to wonder if their minds were already made before the fight even started?! The Golden Rule in boxing also plays a role in judging unfortunately.

Moving Forward

In boxing and life, we must move on. Those who watched last nights fight feel horrible for Vera. Many Chavez Jr fans who were there at the Stub Hub Center booed Julio because they believed that their man lost the fight. Although Chavez Jr was awarded the official W, many know that he lost the fight. Many know that Chavez Jr. has a long road ahead of him if he indeed wants to be regarded as an elite fighter.

For Vera, the official loser of last night’s fight is in all actuality the winner. Many have a new sense of respect and love for this guy. The boxing community knows he was cheated last night. Word is that HBO is interested in featuring him in a future HBO televised fight night. Although the W would have been great for Vera, this situation might still be salvageable and may provide him with more opportunities.

Chavez Jr’s performance and behavior reminds me of a John Wooden quote: By Failing to Prepare, You are Preparing to Fail. In the long run, Chavez Jr. will pay a huge price for his lack of discipline. He is naturally a big man, but with the proper discipline and diet, he could have remained in the middleweight limit (160lbs). However, because he has let his body get out of control, he is now looking to fight at the super middleweight limit (168lbs).  Chavez declared last night that he is looking to capture a crown in that division. Many are saying that a fight with Andre Ward is in his future. With limited focus, dedication, diet, and discipline, Chavez Jr will be destroyed because Ward not only has a high boxing IQ, he also has power and speed.

In conclusion, what can be done to address poor judging? Teddy Atlas has always said that boxing needs a national commission; similar to how the NBA, MLB, NHL, etc operate. Many also say that old school judges need to be let go and that the whole judging system needs to be revamped both structurally and personnel wise. At the very least, judging like last nights needs to be investigated and if someone is at fault, there needs to be a system in place that is used to hold judges accountable for poor judgments like last night (not Carla Caiz). Whether judges are incompetent, inexperienced, corrupted, bought out, etc, action needs to be taken in a proactive way so that messy situations like last night do not repeat in excess. I say that because I know there is no perfect system, but actions can be taken to reduce the number of bad calls that are made in boxing.

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2 comments

  1. Great article bro! I also agree that without a better form of accountability for judges, we’re going to continue seeing ridiculousness like we saw last night.

  2. +1 great commentary. Some writers in the boxing world are kind of just accepting the fate of this scoring, but I really think that commentary like this should be more visible to tell the boxing “man” that we can’t just accept lazy fucks like Jr. to be put in front of us. I think it’s obvious that Jr. shouldn’t be a fighter, and maybe he should start by just being honest with himself.

    Full fight here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k6v9fQeOvrvTP64HdGJ

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