When Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Bryan Vera was signed for last year, it was viewed as a warm-up fight for Chavez after his suspension for testing positive for marijuana after his fight with Sergio Martinez. The come-forward Vera was seen as a made-to-order opponent to get Chavez back on track before signing him to a high-profile fight with somebody like Andre Ward.
I actually picked Vera to win the fight and got more flak from my readers than I had for any prediction since choosing Juan Manuel Marquez over Manny Pacquiao before their third fight. But I was at an advantage. I'd seen Vera's two previous fights from ringside and spoken to him after both fights.
I knew he was a focused, experienced professional looking to make a serious run. Chavez, on the other hand, told the entire world how focused he was on this fight when he repeatedly had to renegotiate the weight.
And as far as I'm concerned, Vera won that fight. I had 96-94 for Vera and would have gone 97-93 before 95-95. I can accept 96-94 for Chavez as an honest card. A lot of rounds were close, and Chavez did land the heavier punches.
But judges Gwen Adair (98-92 for Chavez) and Marty Denkin (97-93 for Chavez) might as well have filled out their cards in the hotel room the night before—because they clearly didn't watch the fight.
The differences between Vera and Chavez could not be more stark. Vera is the classic, hard-nosed, blue-collar fighter. He's gotten the raw deal on more than one card in his career.
Chavez, by contrast, is a rich kid who has had a lot handed to him because of his name. He's a tough guy to be sure, but he's gotten the breaks every step of the way during his career.
He should have received his first two losses against Carlos Molina back in 2005 and 2006. He was lucky not to get a draw against Sebastian Zbik in 2011 when they fought for the vacant WBC middleweight belt.