perhaps the strongest and most tangible proof that Julio Cesar Chavez
Jr. will finally return to the ring and face Brian Vera (now on
September 28th at the StubHub Center in Carson, California), a
press conference was staged at the Biltmore Hotel on Thursday
afternoon. And the mercurial Chavez says he is now finally on his way to
resuming his career.
other times, I didn’t think I was ready; I don’t think the promotion
was ready,” he said through publicist Ricardo Jimenez. “I think now that
we’re ready, September 28th will be just fine.”
last outing was nearly a year ago, when he lost a lopsided decision to
middleweight king Sergio Martinez. He was suspended nine months for
failing his post-fight drug test for marijuana and then his return
versus Vera was rescheduled for June, then July, August and September 7th as they delayed or postponed for various reasons.
frustrating coming off the loss, thinking about it so much,” he said,
“but y’ know what? It helps. I needed the rest and that’s what I’ve been
doing, just resting, keeping my mind relaxed and getting ready to fight
are always lingering questions about his commitment and focus to the
sport. The bottom line is being the son of the legendary “J.C.
Superstar,” he’s been allowed to skip certain steps up the boxing
ladder. He gets away with things because…well, he can.
with this, he’s gained perhaps a well-earned reputation for not having
the strongest work ethic. When asked about that, Junior responded, “I
worked at the Azteca Gym here in L.A., the people who go to see me; they
see I train hard. The misconception out there, a lot of people have
never been in my camp and have never been there. They don’t know how I
what will forever be imbedded in the minds of observers was his
rather...uh, shall we say, casual approach to training last summer
against Martinez, when he eschewed going to the boxing gym for the
confines of his rented mansion.
It was a scene that alarmed those who have a vested interest in his career.
promoter, Bob Arum said bluntly, “I thought that his performance in the
Martinez fight, in preparation for that fight, was just awful. Was just
something that I hadn’t experienced ever in my career. I mean, ever.
And I saw the train wreck ready to happen. Y’ know, not going to the
gym, training in a living room, nonsense like that. Nobody could tell
And even suffering his first loss may not have been enough to get the message across.
the way the fight ended, it almost wasn’t like a loss,” said Arum,
referring to how Chavez nearly scored a miraculous 12th round
stoppage of Martinez after being dominated for 11 innings. “Because
people said, ‘Hey, another few seconds...,’ but yeah, I was surprised it
was this long a delay before he got his act back [together] and get in
the ring because we had a party after the fight and I talked to him and
it seemed like he would take a few months off and come back and then
this whole marijuana thing came. It just went downhill.”
this Chavez says, “I learned a lot from that last camp. I know I need
to be better. I know what I need to do now. This is a very important
part of my career. I think I start all over now.”
for Vera, who’s been ready to go since the beginning of summer, it’s
five strikes and you’re outta there. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts
because this is crazy. So this is definitely the last opportunity and
it’s looking a lot better now that this is all happening.”
been quite the ordeal for Vera, a blue-collar fighter who’s really had
no other choice but to put his career on hold for Chavez because of how
much this fight means financially for him. Through it all, he’s been a
been good and bad because the only good thing is I’ve stayed in camp.
I’ve stayed focused and got out of my comfort zone in Austin [Texas], my
home,” said Vera, who’s been staying in Houston. “I’ve got to be there
with [trainer] Ronnie Shields and other good fighters like [Erislandy]
Lara and we feed off each other. That’s the only good thing. I feel like
I’m developing good habits instead of developing bad habits with Ronnie
and all these guys.
man, it’s been frustrating as hell because you want to fight; you’re in
camp and we had a pretty busy year and staying busy and now, it’s like
The worst case scenario is that Chavez has another “issue” that prevents this fight from taking place on September the 28th. Then what?
“Well, I’m looking forward to September 28th happening,” said Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions, which handles
Vera’s career, “and should it not happen, I’d have to evaluate what’s
going on at the time, the reason why it didn’t happen, whether someone
couldn’t make weight, somebody was cut. But it could be very, very
difficult to go forward with another date.”
the mere fact Chavez has now obtained his visa and there was a formal
press conference for this fight (whereas the other dates never had one)
is promising to Pelullo. “Yes, he’s in town; he’s training and I
understand he’s losing weight, so I’m sure the fight’s going to happen.
There’s a lot of people relying on the fight, HBO, Top Rank, Banner
Promotions and most of all, Brian Vera, who’s been ready to go for seven
this fight didn’t take place, HBO - which has filled much of its autumn
schedule - would be hard-pressed to find another date in 2013 for
Chavez. But Arum states, “They’d always find a spot for Chavez because
the kind of ratings he gets. If this was Joe Blow, yeah, there would be a
problem but it’s Julio Cesar Chavez. But he’s here; obviously, he’s
going to fight September 28th.”
is currently working with trainer Vladimir Baldenebro. They will be
making their way to Las Vegas to work at the Top Rank Gym. And everyone
around him says (what else?) that hard work is being put in.
say absolutely,” says Sean “Secret Service” Gibbons of Zanfer
Promotions. “I mean, he had a lot of issues to deal with after the
Martinez fight. He’s had some time to get himself set. But since he’s
been back here in the U.S., I mean, the guy works hard. He may work hard
in his living room; he may work hard in the gym - but when he works, he
works. I really believe, like he said, this is the second half of his
Arum was asked if this was a new and improved Chavez (whom possesses
perhaps a sense of urgency with his girlfriend being six months
pregnant) he remarked, “I hope so. I’m not a psychiatrist. He seems like
make sure Chavez shows up for this contest, the weight limit was set at
168. So does this mean his days as a middleweight are numbered? When
this question was asked, Chavez suddenly answered in English, saying,
“Maybe if I fight Martinez again, [Gennady] Golovkin, good fights. Maybe
go to 168 to fight Sakio Bika or Andre Ward. I’d like to fight these
there you have it. Chavez says he is now ready to start a new chapter
of his career with enthusiasm and vigor. Those around him are hopeful
(what choice do they have?) and the reality is the boxing business needs
him. But the question is, does he need boxing? Unlike many others who
get into this racket, for Chavez, boxing was a choice, not a necessity.
But he insists, “Yes, I love boxing.”
He can start proving that on September 28th.
this press conference, Arum went through his fall schedule, which did
not include Guillermo Rigondeaux - at least for now.
hope to have him fighting in December [on HBO],” said Arum, who added,
“I think that Rigondeaux deserves to be on against a credible opponent.
You can object to his style but people objected to [Floyd] Mayweather’s
style for a long time and Mayweather fights in some of the biggest
fights. So I don’t know why Rigondeaux should make a difference.”
Well, there is that whole Mayweather being an American and speaking English thing.
December 14th is a date being discussed for the rematch between Jhonny Gonzalez and
Abner Mares, I’m told...Arum said that if Vasyl Lomachenko beats
Jonathan Oquendo in his pro debut on October 12th, his desire
is to face the winner of the bout between Orlando Cruz and Orlando
Salido (who fight for the vacant WBO featherweight belt on that same
card in Las Vegas)...Looks like Jadeveon Clowney needs to be put on a
pitch count...I really like Chuckie Keeton as a quarterback at Utah State...