Rematch likely for Chavez Jr.-Vera
Although Bryan Vera did not get the decision victory so many believe he deserved in his action-packed fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday night, he probably will get a rematch.
Chavez promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank and Banner Promotions' Artie Pelullo, who promotes Vera, told ESPN.com on Tuesday that they already are in discussions to stage a sequel before the end of the year.
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The promoters said they are looking at either Dec. 7 or Dec. 14, with the bout, if finalized, to take place at a site to be determined in Texas, where Vera, an Austin resident, is from and where Mexico's Chavez has a passionate fan base.
"I have to meet with Chavez [on Wednesday] but I have started discussions with Artie," Arum said. "It would be in Texas. It remains to be seen which town in Texas will get it, but we'll do an enormous [crowd] no matter where we do it there."
Chavez won a heavily disputed unanimous decision against Vera (23-7, 14 KOs) at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., and while it was competitive, most viewed Vera as the clear-cut winner. However, Chavez (47-1-1, 32 KOs) was given the fight on scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94.
The two wide scores, from judges Gwen Adair and Marty Denkin, respectively, were widely criticized by fans and media. Carla Caiz had the 96-94 card. One media poll had scores from 60 media members with 54 scoring the fight for Vera and four having it a draw.
Arum said Chavez, 27, the son of Mexican legend and Hall of Famer Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., is open to a rematch.
"I haven't talked to him yet but [co-promoter] Fernando [Beltran] has, and Chavez is interested. He wants it," Arum said.
So does Vera.
"I won the fight like everybody else saw," Vera, 31, said. "If I get another opportunity, especially in Texas, it will be more of a level playing field."
"The outrage about this scoring atrocity from the fans and media has helped Bryan to be in the position to get a rematch with Chavez," Pelullo said. "You saw that media poll after the fight. Even the Mexican reporters had it for Vera. Chavez's own fans [at the StubHub Center] were booing the decision. What the judges did to Vera was atrocious. Hopefully, Chavez will do the right thing and give the kid the rematch. He knows he didn't win the fight."
If the rematch is made, Arum said, it would take place at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds, which was the weight last week's fight was signed for. However, Chavez, notorious for his troubles making weight, let his people know the week of the bout that he would not make the weight. That led to negotiations between the camps to raise the limit to a 173-pound maximum, giving Chavez, a former middleweight titleholder, what was perceived to be a significant advantage over the smaller Vera, who received an extra six-figure payment on top of his $275,000 purse to agree to raise the limit. Chavez's purse was $2.5 million.
When Chavez-Vera was originally being negotiated, the weight was supposed to be 162 pounds before the deal eventually was signed at 168.
"The assumption is that the rematch would have to be at 168, with penalties and everything if anyone is over. It'll be 168, no bulls---," Arum said.
CompuBox statistics, a guide to a fight that judges do not have access to, favored Vera, who was credited with landing 176 of 734 punches (24 percent) while Chavez landed 125 of 328 blows (35 percent), although Chavez, quite obviously not in top condition, was clearly the more powerful puncher.
"We know he won. The world knows he won. We know that he can't win unless he knocks Chavez out because of the unfair judging," David Watson, Vera's manager, said. "He carried and controlled the fight, and the only people who thought Chavez won were the three judges. Ever since we walked out of the ring, people have not been happy about this, and I know the public wants to see a rematch."
Arum said he is talking to HBO, which televised Saturday's fight, about putting on the rematch.
"I did talk to the network, and the immediate reaction was, 'It was a great fight, we'd love the rematch on the network, but we don't know if we have the money,'" Arum said.
HBO almost certainly would love to put on the rematch, as the fight last week drew 1.416 million viewers, ranking it as the most-watched fight on cable television so far in 2013, according to Nielsen Media Research.
"I would love for the fans who watched the first fight to have the opportunity to watch the second one as part of the cost of their subscription," Arum said, adding that if HBO could not accommodate the bout because of its budget that he would put it on pay-per-view.
The fight was Chavez's first in one year, since losing a lopsided decision and his belt to lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in Las Vegas. After the fight, Chavez tested positive for marijuana, and was fined and suspended for nine months. It was his second failed Nevada drug test in three years.