SAN ANTONIO (AP) Bob Arum was exasperated even before he came to town this week and finished off the promotion for Saturday’s super middleweight rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera.
”I am past being able to analyze and figure out Junior,” the Hall-of-Fame promoter complained.
There are still plenty of questions about Chavez, the son of the Mexican boxing legend. Chavez (47-1-1, 32 KOs) has had his career stall with one fight in the last 17 months along with one drug suspension (marijuana) and one DUI since 2012.
The first question was answered Friday. Chavez is taking his training – and money – seriously. He made the 168-pound limit at Friday’s weigh-in, and avoided forfeiting $250,000 from his purse to Vera.
Chavez Jr.-Vera II is the main event of a card that includes two-time Olympic Gold medal winner Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine against Orlando Salido (40-12-2, 28 KOs) of Mexico.
Salido was stripped of his world featherweight title by the WBO on Friday after he missed the 126-pound limit, meaning Lomachenko, who said his family lives about 300 miles from the civil unrest in his country and was unaffected, can win the vacated title in just his second pro bout after a 396-1 amateur career.
Chavez celebrated the baby-step of the many needed to resurrect his career when his entourage hoisted a huge fake check made out in Vera’s name Friday as the boxers faced each other for photo. Block letters were stamped over the check: VOIDED.
”I made weight easily,” Chavez said after a week in which Arum claimed the fighter ”won’t let me near his scale.”
”I dieted for, like, two months,” said Chavez, who showed the same 167 1/2 pounds as Vera. ”I’ve prepared pretty well. It’s not a problem for this fight.”
It was last time. Vera (23-7, 14 KOs), the Austin, Texas-based journeyman, may have gained more notice on the televised series ”The Contender” than he has in world title fights. Late in the training for the first fight last year in September, Chavez told his camp he would not make weight, and a late negotiation allowed Chavez to hit the scale at 173 pounds – as long as he gave up a portion of the $2.5 million purse.
Chavez landed heavy shots in the middle rounds, then tired noticeably under Vera’s body shots from the eighth round onward. It was a controversial unanimous decision for Chavez.
”I think the reputation and his father’s name – he’s living off that – gave him the decision,” Vera said this week. ”So I think I have to do better next time. I have to eliminate some those big shots he landed that got the crowd going.”
It’s that name that keeps Arum fighting through the hassles of keeping Chavez going. His pay-per-view buys always easily top 1 million, and perhaps could threaten 2 million if Chavez wins and gets a bout this summer against Andre Ward or Gennady Golovkin.
”He’s got to show himself in this fight,” Arum said, ”Not only win, but win well.”