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Chavez-Vera rematch on track

11/5/2013
After a disputed first fight, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera are closing in on setting a rematch. Chris Farina/Top Rank

The expected super middleweight rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera is being targeted for Feb. 8, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com on Tuesday.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but Arum, who promotes Chavez, and Artie Pelullo, who handles Vera, will be together later this week, along with HBO executive Peter Nelson, when they are in Corpus Christi, Texas for Saturday's HBO card that Top Rank is promoting. Pelullo will be there because he co-promotes Demetrius Andrade, who faces Top Rank fighter Vanes Martirosyan for a vacant junior middleweight belt in the opener of the tripleheader.

"So we'll all be together in Corpus Christi and we'll talk about the particulars," Arum said. "The fight is gonna be good to go, but the question is when? There's this little thing called the Winter Olympics and there are some people at HBO who think you don't go against the Winter Olympics with a fight."

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia begin Feb. 7 and end Feb. 23.

"We're planning for a show in Macau on Feb. 22, so for Chavez-Vera we're looking at Feb. 8 or Feb. 15," Arum said. "Those at HBO who fear the Winter Olympics believe Feb. 8 is the better date, so everyone seems OK with Feb. 8."

The fight likely will take place at a venue to be determined in Texas, although Arum said it is possible it could wind up in Las Vegas.

"But I think probably Texas," Arum said.

If a February date can't be worked out with HBO, Arum said the bout would move into March, but he believes it will be finalized for Feb. 8.

Chavez (47-1-1, 32 KOs), a former middleweight titlist coming off a year out of the ring because of a drug suspension after his loss to Sergio Martinez 13 months ago, won a heavily disputed unanimous decision against Vera (23-7, 14 KOs) on Sept. 28 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

While the fight was competitive, most viewed Vera as the winner, although it was Chavez who got the decision -- 98-92, 97-93, 96-94. The two wide scorecards -- rendered by judges Gwen Adair and Marty Denkin, respectively -- were heavily criticized. One poll with scores from 60 media members had 54 scoring the fight for Vera while four had it a draw.

Chavez had signed for the bout at 168 pounds, but wound up making a side deal with Vera's camp to pay him an extra six-figure sum to up the weight to 173 pounds since he was not in shape for the fight. Arum said Chavez would make 168 for the rematch.