- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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After all the commotion, negotiations and an eventual side deal, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who signed to fight Bryan Vera at 168 pounds, was 172.4 pounds at Friday's weigh-in at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Vera weighed in at 171.2 pounds.
A side deal between promoters and the fighters was made earlier in the week to raise the limit to a maximum of 173 pounds when Chavez was clearly not going to make 168. In order to raise the weight limit, Vera and his promoter Artie Pelullo will share a six-figure additional payment to what they are already getting for the fight.
The fight is Saturday night (HBO, 10:15 ET/PT) at the StubCenter in Carson, Calif. and is Chavez's first bout in a one year. Chavez suffered a lopsided loss to lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez last September before being hit with a subsequent fine and nine-month suspension for failing his second Nevada drug test in three years when he tested positive for marijuana.
According to an official from Top Rank, Chavez's promoter, the former middleweight titleholder spent quite a while riding a stationary bike and running a treadmill on Friday in order to make sure he was at 173 or less. He also spent time sitting in a sauna trying to lose the extra weight.
"When I got into Los Angeles I knew I could not make the weight limit so I asked my promoter if he could arrange for a different weight," Chavez said. "I did train hard to be ready but remember -- I have not fought in a year. I will do the best I can do on Saturday night. These fights like against Vera, with no title on the line, are the most dangerous fights for me because I have everything to lose. Vera has nothing to lose really, not like me."
Vera (23-6, 14 KOs) ate a full breakfast and lunch with no worries about making 173 for the 10-round fight. As part of the deal to change the weight, Vera's side asked for the bout to be reduced from a 12-rounder to a 10 and Chavez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) went along.
"When I got into the hotel on Monday I was weighing between 173 and 174, so I was more concerned for me and for him," Vera said. "I heard he was struggling. Then the promoters had a meeting. It all worked out fine. I wasn't walking out of this fight."