Julio Cesar Chavez, JR., 46-1-1, 32 KO’s, returns to the ring for the first time in a year, taking on hopeful spoiler, Brian Vera, 23-6, 14 KO’s, in a 12 round contest. The last time we saw Chavez, JR., was in his memorable war with Sergio Martinez. He took a beating for eleven rounds, stood up to it, and then knocked Martinez down in the final round and nearly out. The defeat helped the career and proved that he was not all hype, but his weight was still suspect. He looked like a cruiserweight in there with a middleweight and we will see that same look on Saturday night, I’m sure.
Vera is always the underdog going in, but he is not one to be underestimated. He has thrown a wrench into the works for many a fighter. In 2008, he knocked out a then undefeated Andy Lee (KO-7), lost three straight fights to undefeated prospects before upsetting Sebastian Demers (KO-3). After a loss to another undefeated fighter in Max Bursak, Vera pulled another upset, outworking former champion, Sergio Mora, en route to a ten round split decision win. He would rematch Mora and repeat the feat, winning a majority decision win.
In his last three fights, Vera has impressed. In addition to the Mora rematch victory, he has also knocked out top contender, Serhiy Dzinziruk in ten rounds, which earned him this shot. Vera is not expected to beat Chavez, JR., but he’s never expected to win. Considering the year away from the sport, it’s safe to say that Chavez, JR., will be a little rusty, but his size and ability to take a punch will prove too much for Vera and lead to a stoppage within six rounds.
Also featured on the broadcast is WBC light heavyweight champion, Adonis Stevenson, 21-1, 18 KO’s, defending his title against former champion Tavoris Cloud, 24-1, 19 KO’s. Stevenson is riding high off of his destruction of Chad Dawson in just 1 minute and 16 seconds of the first round. That sent a message to the other light heavyweights and the message seemed to be that Stevenson is planning a clean out of the division.
Cloud is a power-puncher that allowed an ancient Bernard Hopkins to play with him and take an easy decision win. From the start, it appeared that Hopkins had gotten into the head of Cloud, keeping him on the defense. Cloud had the opportunity to send old man Hopkins out of the sport as most great champions go…on their backs, but any momentum that he had quickly disappeared and now he has this one last chance to rebuild.
The puncher’s chance is here, but where is the spirit of Cloud? If you are going strictly momentum and confidence, this is a mismatch, but Stevenson’s one defeat was by knockout and there is the potential that Cloud could land and win, but it’s hard to bet against the defending champion at this time. A good fight to be certain, but it looks like it may be another step for the champion en route to a big money showdown with Bernard Hopkins.