Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.: Chavez’s fight against Bryan Vera was a disaster, victory or no victory. First, he failed miserably to make the agreed-upon weight limit of 168 pounds, coming in at 172.4. Chavez does as he pleases, the rules be damned. Second, he struggles mightily against a decent, but limited and much smaller opponent for 10 rounds. The Mexican clearly landed the bigger shots but he was outworked by Vera, who threw and landed many more punches. The scorecards – 96-94, 97-93 and a laughable 98-92 by Gwen Adair – didn’t reflect what happened in the ring. And, third, Chavez (47-1-1, 32 KOs) had the nerve to complain afterward of low blows and head butts from Vera – as well as claiming he had broken his right hand – even though there were no obvious fouls. See, this is Chavez: He behaves unprofessionally before the fight. And then, when things go badly, he makes excuses. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. takes responsibility for nothing. This whole thing was disgraceful.
Bryan Vera: I scored the fight 96-94 for Vera, meaning I gave him six of the 10 rounds. And I believe one could’ve legitimately given Chavez one or maybe two more of the close rounds if you prefer big punches over volume punching, meaning a close victory by Chavez wasn’t as outrageous as some seem to believe even if the wrong fighter’s hand was raised. Still, to reiterate my opinion, Vera did enough to win the fight. The fact he didn’t left fans impressed with his fighting spirit – and disgusted by Chavez’s behavior – with a bad taste in their mouths once again. The positive thing is that Vera will take those fans with him going forward. Vera (23-7, 14 KOs) will never be an elite fighter – he doesn’t have the genes – but he will give most opponents problems because of solid ability, good fitness and uncommon grittiness. Fans love that type of fighter. Yes, Vera lost to Chavez on the scorecards. But he won in the arena of public opinion.
Adonis Stevenson: The fact Stevenson defeated Tavoris Cloud on Saturday in Montreal was no surprise. Most experts picked him to win. The way he won was unexpected. Taking a page out of the books of Gabriel Campillo and Bernard Hopkins, both of whom gave Cloud problems, a fighter known for his power demonstrated boxing skills that hadn’t been abundantly evident. At the same time, he picked Cloud apart with hard punches that cut him above both eyes and took his heart. The overall result was a beat down that ended mercifully after the seventh round, when Cloud’s cornermen had seen enough. It was a big night for Stevenson, who was fighting in front of his hometown fans. He demolished a highly rated opponent in an entertaining way, the kind of performance that turns good fighters into stars. And it followed a performance that was just as impressive but for a different reason: his stunning first-round knockout of Chad Dawson to win THE RING championship in June. Stevenson (22-1, 19 knockouts) has definitely arrived.
Tavoris Cloud: The majority of observers seemed to believe Cloud (24-2, 19 KOs) was given a gift decision over Campillo in February of last year. Cloud, not particularly quick or athletic, had trouble hitting the Spaniard because of his lateral movement. Hopkins, a boxing whiz even in his late 40s, exploited that weakness to take Cloud’s IBF 175-pound title in March. And then Stevenson left the former titleholder a bloody and demoralized mess. That’s about as bad as it gets for a fighter who is only 31 and theoretically in his prime. The Floridian had some solid victories. The best might’ve been a 2010 decision over Glen Johnson, who was still decent at 41. That apparently is where he peaked, though. Campillo exposed his limitations. Now anyone who knows how to move his feet and box a little will be difficult for Cloud to beat. As a result, it will be difficult for Cloud to put the brakes on his rapid decline.
Chavez-Vera: We all know that bad scorecards are and probably always will be a part of boxing yet we get angry every time a C.J. Ross or Gwen Adair get a fight horribly wrong. And rightfully so. The fans demand fairness. And the Chavez-Vera scorecards weren’t fair. Let’s start with Carla Caiz. I don’t think her score of 96-94 for Chavez is a crime. However, the fact she scored the final six rounds for Chavez is at least a misdemeanor. Chavez did not win all of those rounds. Now to Marty Denkin, who scored the fight 97-93. I have respect for Denkin, a veteran California official, but Chavez did not win seven rounds. And finally Adair, who gave Vera only two rounds even though he was the aggressor and obviously landed many more punches than Chavez. And this is far from her first controversial card. Some are calling for her to join Ross, who stepped down in Nevada after scoring the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez fight a draw. I guess Denkin and Adair would argue they were consistent; they favored big shots over more shots throughout. I don’t buy it because Chavez just didn’t land enough shots to warrant one-sided cards. What are the state commissions to do? Keep working at it. God knows there an enormous amount of room for improvement.
Kudos to Chavez-Vera referee Lou Moret for not buying into Chavez’s complaints. There were no obvious fouls on Vera’s part.