[Interview] Vera: “I Doubt Chavez Makes Weight”
LOS ANGELES, CA –
Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank
When the first fight between Brian Vera and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was announced, Vera was relatively unknown outside of die-hard boxing circles. After a performance that far exceeded expectations, that changed.
From the opening bell, he was consistently the busier, more aggressive fighter, Vera put on an inspired display of boxing that kept Chavez Jr. on his heels and limited to sporadic bombs. But in the end, it wasn’t enough. Instead of finding his own hand raised, Vera watched his opponent’s raised in victory.
On March 1st, Vera has the opportunity to right a widely perceived wrong. With all eyes on him, he looks to compete with the same intensity, avoid succumbing to the pressures of larger exposure and put his varied boxing skills on display to let fans to know he’s more than just a brawler.
I had the opportunity to speak Vera on strategy, pressure, whether or not his opponent can make the 160-pound weight limit and who he’d be interested in fighting in the future.
BC: You’re winding down to the last few weeks of camp. What adjustments have you made in your preparation this time around?
BV: I’ve been doing a lot of strength and conditioning and I’ve been sparring a lot. Everything is on point and it’s been going great so far.
BC: So you’ve been relatively injury free?
BV: Yes. We’ve been doing a good job to prevent that. Everything has been going well and I hope it stays like that.
BC: Since this is a rematch, do you feel more pressure to perform?
BV: Anytime you fight someone for a second time, I think there’s more pressure than the first time. I kind of know what to expect but this time he’ll be coming in better shape. I know what he’s capable of and what he can do. I’ll be more aware and once I get started, the pressure will be less.
BC: In your first meeting, the media circus around Chavez Jr.’s weight seemed to overshadow the bout itself. How distracting was that for you and your team?
BV: It was distracting at the beginning but there were other things. There was the change of the date of the fight, the changes of the venue and other stuff. I’m lucky I have a good, experienced trainer like Ronnie Shields that got my back so it just gave us more time to get ready. We stayed on course in training camp and he kept me focused so it worked out.
BC: As the circus continued to swirl around his weight, did your team make any last minute adjustments in anticipation of a massive weight gain?
BV: We already knew what to expect so the plan going in from the start was to put a lot of pressure on him. Because of the lay-off (when Chavez Jr. was cut and the fight was rescheduled) and him having to come back and cut weight, we knew we were in better shape so we just worked the best we could. So no, nothing really changed. It [the weight] just put a little more money in our pocket but they gave him the decision. So for the most part it worked out and we’re doing it again.
BC: You were the busier fighter but he did manage to connect with some solid bombs. What adjustments have you made to your defensive to prepare for this meeting?
BV: We’ve been doing a lot of the same things. We do want to box him a little more. Watching we saw a couple things we could work on to make it a more winnable fight but I just let Ronnie deal with all of that. I just follow the game plan and the game plan so far has been good so I just stay with it.
BC: What does the perfect fight look like in your mind?
BV: I see myself out there more aggressive and out boxing him and making him look bad. And showing people what skill level that they haven’t been accustomed to seeing. I would like to go out there and whether I get a win by KO or decision, I want people to see I’m not just a brawler.
BC: According to reports, if Chavez doesn’t make weight there will be a huge fine. Do you think he will make weight?
BV: There’s no telling but personally, I don’t think he will. I’m still going to train hard as if he will. I will be 100% like last time. The way he looked at 172 the last time… he looked terrible. I don’t see 4 or 5 more pounds he can take off but he may surprise us, I don’t know.
BC: Another promoter recently said it’s more thrilling to see an exciting fighter in defeat than a fighter who is a boring winner. From what I’ve seen in social media, your previous loss attracted a lot of new fans and respect. What sort of feedback have you received since that first fight?
BV: A lot of if has been good. I’ve received a lot of recognition from it. A lot of people are telling me to stay with it and hoping I get the rematch, which I did, and to go out there and beat him again. A lot of people felt I won that fight. When you have a lot of people coming up telling you that you won the fight, you know it was a bad call. I just go back and train hard and it [comments from people] gives me the motivation to go back and train.
BC: You next meet in San Antonio. Texas has a reputation for controversial decisions. Can you win by decision in Texas?
BV: I think, well I know for a fact, that more people are watching this fight than before. Knowing what happened the first time they will be more aware and I don’t think the judging will be weird. I have a good relationship with the Texas Commission and hopefully they’ll have my back at least to give me a good, fair decision.
BC: After this fight, do you plan to continue campaigning at 160?
BV: I can still make 160 but if a fight comes up at 168 that makes sense, I’ll go up. We still want to make fights at 160. I’d like to fight somebody like Peter Quillin.
BC: Thank you for you time Brian, good luck on March 1st.
Can Vera get the win that alluded him the first time? Follow me on twitter @jethang or @theBadCulture and join this discussion.