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In the last 30 years or so, there have been few names in boxing bigger than Julio Cesar Chavez. In boxing in Mexico, there have been no names bigger, or even very close.
So a daunting shadow hangs over JC Jr. There's no question he's had professional advantages due to his famous name. But at this point he's accomplished enough in the sport to be considered on his own merits.
Chavez was very lucky to escape with a majority decision and the vacant WBC middleweight title in June of 2011 against Sebastian Zbik. But in February 2012, he won a decisive unanimous decision over Marco Antonio Rubio and in June 2012, he stopped Andy Lee in seven, after falling behind on the cards.
Rubio and Lee are legitimate contenders at middle weight, and these were respectable wins for Chavez.
In September of last year, Chavez made his pay-per-view debut opposite Sergio Martinez. Martinez tooled Chavez for most of the fight, but Chavez stayed tough and made the final round an all-time thriller, dropping Martinez and nearly stopping him.
Brian Vera has been through some struggles in his career. After his national exposure on The Contender, he went into a slump. Between March 2007 and February 2011, he went 3-5.
In the past two years, he's appeared to start hitting his stride. He beat Sergio Mora in two close fights in 2011 and 2012. So far this year, he's fought twice at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York. In January, he beat former world champion Serhiy Dzinziruk by Round 10 TKO and in March stopped Donatas Bondorovas on cuts after Round 7.
I covered both fights live and at the post-fight press conference after Bondorovas, Vera talked about the potential of fighting Chavez. He noted that they had sparred in the past, saying "I felt like I did alright against him," but adding "I was at the very end of my camp and he was just starting his, so I don't want to take anything away from him."