Weight-Gate: Overweight Chavez Jr. gets controversial decision win over Vera

September 29, 2013

Vera punches Chavez Jr. / Photo by: Oliver Petalver

Carson, Calif. -- Mexico's Julio Cesar Chavez Junior defeated Texas' Bryan Vera via a shocking unanimous decision Saturday night at the StubHub Center, after Vera seemingly had been the more active and aggressive puncher throughout the fight.  The judges officially scored the bout 97-93, 96-94, and 98-92.

Although Chavez Jr. (47-1-1, 32 KO's) connected with several massive power punches in the fight, Vera was clearly the winner in the eyes of the crowd, having continuously landed the more consistent punches.  Vera (23-7, 14 KO's) was indeed robbed of a well-deserved win.

The judges' decision was not even the most controversial aspect of this bout, as Chavez Jr. failed to make the original contracted 168-pound weight limit.  His difficulties prompted Top Rank promoter Bob Arum to declare that the weight limit would be altered according to whatever Chavez weighed at Friday's weigh-in.

Vera's camp subsequently demanded that if Chavez was overweight, then the fight should be reduced from 12 rounds to 10.  The entire circus became official when Chavez in fact weighed in at slightly more than 172 pounds, and the fight was changed to a ten-rounder.

Despite Chavez's weight advantage, Vera entered the ring with a confident skip to his walk.

In Round Two, Vera stormed out of his corner a la Rocky Balboa, briefly trapping Chavez Jr. in the corner and surprising both the crowd and his opponent.  From this point, Vera never looked back.

Chavez Jr. hits Vera / Photo by: Oliver Petalver

Chavez Jr. eventually would land several left hooks on Vera, rallying the crowd once again.  Toward the end of the second round, Chavez beckoned at the referee, claiming that Vera landed a head butt. Vera continued his aggressive and active pursuit.

During the third round, Vera looked in control, getting into a good rhythm and landing quality punches on Chavez Jr.

Meanwhile, Chavez began to cautiously take steps back.  Many in the crowd shouted in Spanish, “No Corras Chavez”, meaning, "Chavez, don’t run."

Vera proved to be the aggressor once again during the fourth round, connecting with several solid jabs.  However, Chavez Jr. began to come back into the fight with some of his own boxing prowess, landing several left hooks.

In Round Five, Chavez Jr. complained to the referee about low blows.  While the referee did not pay serious attention to the complaints, Vera came at Chavez Jr. hard, seemingly to take advantage of his opponent's loss of focus.  This led to an exciting exchange of flying fists just before the bell.

Vera punches tired Chavez Jr. / Photo by: Oliver Petalver

During the sixth round, Chavez began once again to seemingly run away from Vera’s aggressive and persistent attack.  Perhaps this tactic was due to fatigue, as Chavez looked and behaved as though he was getting tired, bringing his guard all the way down at times and leaning forward slightly.

Yet later in the round, Chavez woke up by connecting with several power hooks and jabs that stunned and dazed Vera to a momentary state of confusion.  The crowd roared to its feet, as this was the one round that Chavez clearly won.

Toward the end of the seventh round, Vera connected a hard blow to Chavez’s face, and then accentuated the blow with an accompanying combination.  Chavez Jr. answered Vera by acting as though the punches had no effect on him.

Vera connects to head of Chavez / Photo: Oliver Petalver

Chavez ended the seventh round raining combinations on Vera, which once again brought the crowd storming to its feet.

Round Eight saw Chavez Jr. step up his game a little by evenly matching Vera's attacking style.  Chavez was not taking steps back anymore, and instead positioned himself right up on Vera.  The round came to a close with Vera connecting several combinations on Chavez.

With the shortened ten-round format, Chavez developed a sense of urgency during the ninth round, as he began to look for the knockout at all costs.  He also complained yet again to the referee, demonstrating that Vera was head-butting and throwing punches below the belt.

Still, Vera again proved to be the aggressor, landing on Chavez in several instances while Chavez kept searching for the knockout.

In Round Ten, Vera maintained tireless pressure on Chavez Jr. and looked good overall.  Chavez kept searching, but never found the knockout blow that would definitively seal the victory over the unknown underdog Vera.

At the end of the fight, Vera excitedly ran to his corner and with great joy on his face, climbed up on the ropes with his arms up in the air to express his victory.  However, Vera, as well as the rest in attendance, was shocked to hear that the unanimous decision was in favor of Chavez Jr.

A great majority of the crowd, including many Chavez Jr. aficionados wearing the iconic red karate-style "Chavez" bandanas, expressed their distaste over the decision by heartily booing.

Vera aggressively pursues Chavez Jr. / Photo by: Oliver Petalver

Days prior to the fight, multiple outlets reported that tickets were sold-out.  Although the Chavez-Vera bout attracted a festive crowd, many seats were nevertheless vacant at the 8,000-seat arena.  Perhaps this was due to the "Weight-Gate" fiasco and Chavez's questionable discipline.

Of those who did attend, boos were shouted and aimed at Chavez for his complaints, step-back tactics, and the seemingly poor physical condition he displayed inside the ring.

By Felix I. Hernandez
Contributing Writer for TheDailySportsHerald.Com

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