Bryan Vera says he has sparred against heavyweights to get ready for Saturday's HBO-televised rematch with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who offered "no excuses" for his controversial unanimous-decision win in September.
Vera's initial bout with Chavez took place in Carson, Calif., at a 173-pound catchweight because Chavez was not able to make the originally contracted 168-pound limit.
But Chavez (47-1-1, 32 knockouts) will be fined $250,000 if he fails to make weight for the return battle with Vera (23-7, 14 KOs), who will be fighting their super middleweight clash in his home state of Texas, at San Antonio's Alamodome.
According to CompuBox, Vera had a 176-125 advantage in overall punches landed, as well as winning 109-98 in power shots compared to Chavez, who was awarded the decision by scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92 by Carla Caiz, Marty Denkin and Gwen Adair, respectively.
In a poll of 59 media members, 53 scored the fight in favor of Vera, with the remaining six calling it a draw. In its round-by-round, RingTV.com scored it for Vera, 97-93.
RingTV.com's 23 insiders gave their thoughts on what they feel will transpire in Chavez-Vera II.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. UD 12 Bryan Vera: A better conditioned Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fares better in Saturday's rematch, but is still forced to go 12 rounds with Bryan Vera.
Expect the judges to have the same scoring margins as the first fight, and expect fans to bitch about the decision, even if more justified this time.
Record: 2-2 [Last pick: Ortiz UD 10 Collazo]
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by close UD: Chavez will never be in 100% condition but he'll be in good enough shape to let his hands go a little more in this rematch. With his size, chin and power, that's all he needs to do to earn a legit decision. Still, Vera won't go quietly. The Texan will have his moments in the fight but Chavez will be the sharper/harder puncher of the two. He'll also outbox and out-move Vera for stretches.
Record: 1-1 [Last pick: Victor Ortiz D 10 Luis Collazo]
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. TKO 8 Bryan Vera: It's hard not to hope that Bryan Vera wins. But it's harder to pick him. If all was fair, Vera would get what was taken from him on errant scorecards. But boxing isn't about righting a wrong. It's business and this rematch is a step in redeeming Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s marketability.
When in condition and motivated, Chavez is a powerful fighter, stronger and better than Vera. Remember Sergio Martinez? He beat Chavez, but has never been quite the same since Chavez Jr. nearly knocked him out in a furious 12th-round.
There were boos and widespread criticism for Chavez' inability to make weight and lack of professionalism in his first meeting with Vera. The guess here is that he's heard it, internalized it and will use it. He'll win the rematch. But redemption will have to wait.
Record: 3-1 [Last pick: Ortiz TKO 8 Collazo]
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. W 12 Brian Vera: The very best of Bryan Vera was able to compete with the very worst of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr last September and he gave him a competitive fight that I scored as a draw. It would appear that Chavez Jr is actually training this time, and taking Vera, and the rematch, seriously.
That is bad news for Vera, because I don't think he can get any better than what we already saw from him against Chavez Jr the first time and that was simply not enough to beat him. Chavez Jr will be much better this time and because he is properly motivated, he will win a clear-cut unanimous decision. Vera has the chops to go the distance but he's going to take a shellacking.
Record: 4-0 [Last pick: Collazo W 10 Ortiz]
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. W 12 Bryan Vera: I'm picking Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to beat Bryan Vera, because you would think he's finally learned that he needs to get his act together. Hopefully he was as embarrassed by his last fight as everyone who witnessed his utter lack of professionalism.
Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Collazo W 10 Ortiz]
Julio Cesar Chavez UD 12 Brian Vera: Unfortunately, the contentious decision in the first fight is likely to rob Bryan Vera of his chance at ever defeating Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. officially.
One would assume September's scare will have Junior motivated to redeem himself, although I doubt he will have an easy time doing it.
Record: 3-1 [Last pick: Collazo SD 12 Ortiz]
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. W 12 Bryan Vera: Bryan Vera produced perhaps the best fight of his career the first time around against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who wasn't anywhere near his peak performance.
Chavez is naturally bigger and stronger, and with his career in a "do or die" state, we'll see the best of what he has. That, I believe, will be enough.
Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Peterson W 12 Jean]
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. TKO 9 Bryan Vera: Although Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. won on the judges' scorecards, his victory over Bryan Vera satisfied no one. It was a fight that many assumed Chavez Jr. would win by walking down Vera and pounding the body.
If this doesn't incense Chavez to get himself together, nothing will. What should have happened in the first fight will likely happen in the rematch as a motivated Chavez will look to dispatch of Vera in impressive fashion.
It still won't be easy, as Vera's huge heart will carry him through several rounds and give Chavez Jr. trouble. However, if Chavez is in shape and determined, there isn't much Vera's heart can do to stop the punches that will obliterate his body.
Record: 4-0 [Last pick: Collazo UD 10 Ortiz]
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. UD 12 over Bryan Vera: When you consider his countless acts of immaturity, it'd be naive to think Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. finally learned his lesson from his most recent debacle.
But he seemingly took training more seriously for their rematch after his dubious "win" over Bryan Vera in their first fight. He'll be busier this time around, in addition to being bigger and stronger, and will win definitively over the always-game Vera.
Record: 3-1 [Last pick: Ortiz UD 10 Collazo]
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. KO 9 Bryan Vera: I would love to see Bryan Vera win, but I think Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has really trained hard and is ready to resurrect his career.
People talk about what Chavez Jr. took from Sergio Martinez in that fight, but what about what Martinez took from him? Chavez believed that he would walk through Martinez, but suffered severe facial damage.
Chavez may be ready for a bigger fight after facing Vera, but whether or not he can remain a 168-pounder is an uncertainty. This is a critical fight for Chavez, and I see that motivation making this a less competitive fight with Vera than the last.
Record: 0-1 [Last pick: Bute UD 12 Pascal]