On Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX, ex-WBC middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr gained redemption against Brian Vera and reasserted his place in the super middle rankings while former three-time world champion Orlando Salido held off two-time Olympic Gold medallist Vasyl Lomachenko in a WBO featherweight title bout.
Gone was the Chavez of last September, an ill-prepared, exhausted fighter who came in overweight and largely sought to avoid engagement, battered by the hard-nosed Vera, who somehow lost on the scorecards.
This version of Chavez was on-weight and had much more energy. The 28 year old from Culiacan, Mexico outworked, outfought and outlanded Vera, who was unable to get his offense on track through much of the bout.
Chavez kept his rival on the defensive and it’s a testament to the durability that the 32 year old Vera, of Austin, TX, he was able to absorb many hard, flush shots to head and body from a bigger fighter.
When the scorecards were read, Chavez improved to 48-1-1 (32), winning by margins of 117-110 twice and 114-113, while Vera falls to 23-8 (14).
Reportedly Chavez is being considered as WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin’s next opponent but as it was considered a major accomplishment for Chavez to make 168 pounds, who knows what weight the bout will take place.
And will Golovkin engage in a non-title bout? Given the finances such a pairing would likely accrue in either California, Texas or Las Vegas, the answer is probably yes.
If he does meet Golovkin in the ring, Chavez will be taking a massive step up in class, higher even than his title losing effort against Sergio Martinez in 2012 and “Jr”, but then again, Chavez would be the best fighter Golovkin has met so far in the ring as a professional.
The undercard at the Alamodome featured the curiosity of two-time Olympic Gold medallist Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine, who had only one professional bout to his credit, meeting former world champion Orlando Salido of Mexico for the vacant WBO featherweight title, which Salido had lost on the scales the day before.
Salido scaled over 128 pounds the day before the fight and by the time the bell had rung, allegedly put on 19 pounds to come into the ring as a welterweight, far heavier than Lomachenko, who had made weight and reportedly fought at 135 pounds.
The difference in the size of the fighters was glaring and Lomachenko clearly had problems with the massive Salido, who used his advantage to great effect, bullying the smaller man.
Professional novice Lomachenko also had trouble with the heavy body shots Salido was landing, although the former Olympic hero was far faster than his opponent, at times using his quickness of hand and foot to great effect.
Saldio was allowed by referee Laurence Cole to repeatedly punch Lomachenko low, particularly on the thigh, as the Ukrainian was given a rude reception into world class professional boxing.
Lomachenko did gather his resources to finish the latter part of the bout strong but it was too little to late to convince the judges, who awarded Salido, 41-12-2 (28), a 116-112, 115-113, 113-115 split decision victory over Lomachenko, 1-1 (1).