The spotlight has shined on the sport of Boxing’s best moments, but it has more often than not also shined on the element of controversial scoring. A subject that many feel has been a determent to the sport. 2013 was not without it’s share of controversy.
Of course many will remember the scorecard of C.J. Ross in the Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez fight last September. A fight that set pay-per-view records and was a real shot in the arm for the sport may well be remembered more for Ross’ judging of the fight, scoring the fight a draw then for the excitement that the event produced for the sport. As has been a consistent topic of conversation throughout all of Boxing when a controversial scorecard is rendered, Boxing fans, Journalists, Trainers, and Fighters all had an opinion about the fight and the controversial scorecard that made the bout a majority decision win for Floyd Mayweather and not the unanimous decision that many, this observer included believe he deserved.
A mere two weeks after the somewhat controversial decision rendered in the Mayweather-Alvarez fight a catch weight bout took place at 173lbs. between former WBC Middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and, WBO number one Middleweight contender Bryan Vera at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. A fight that in many ways proved to be even more controversial.
There were some questions that faced the former WBC champion Chavez who was fighting for the first time since losing his world title to Sergio Martinez in 2012 in what was the first loss of his career. There is little disputing that although Chavez nearly pulled off a come from behind victory in knocking Martinez down in the final round and having his opponent badly hurt that for ten rounds of that fight, Martinez was dominant and gave Chavez a Boxing lesson in the eyes of many.
Chavez was not able to apply consistent pressure in that fight and due in large part to Martinez’ lateral movement and quick combinations was not able to build enough momentum to win most of the rounds. Although Chavez was able to rally in the late rounds, consensus was that the fight was lopsided in favor of Martinez.
Leading up to his fight with Bryan Vera, along with the obvious question of whether Chavez would try to start more quickly with his offense, which he did not do against Martinez and be able to apply pressure from the outset, there were also questions that arose in regard to his conditioning as he was unable to make the previously agreed upon weight limit of 168lbs. the Super-Middleweight limit. Despite the question in regard to Chavez’ weight problems leading up to the fight, he was still considered the betting favorite. For Bryan Vera he has made a career of beating the odds, so the prospects of going into the fight being viewed as an underdog was not a position that Vera was unfamiliar.
Vera, who entered the fight with Chavez having won four straight fights had earned a reputation as a spoiler having scored two decision victories over former WBC Jr. Middleweight world champion Sergio Mora and stopping highly regarded Middleweight contender Andy Lee in his career. Although Vera was clearly not a fighter to be taken lightly, some assumed that this was a fight for Chavez to get back in the win column and to possibly position himself for a potential rematch with Martinez or a potential championship fight against one of the world champions in the Super-Middleweight division. If Chavez was looking past Vera, it could have proved to be quite foolish. To many Chavez clearly lost this fight.
When the two fighters entered the ring, it was Vera’s higher offensive output and combination punching that dictated the action in my eyes in a fight that I unofficially scored 97-93 for Vera. Chavez looked sluggish for much of the fight and was not active enough as was the case against Sergio Martinez. A statistical breakdown of Vera’s greater output over Chavez was illustrated by CompuBox as Vera out landed Chavez by fifty-one punches landing 176 to Chavez’ 125, but out throwing Chavez by over four hundred punches throwing 734 total punches to Chavez’ 328.
Despite Vera’s greater activity, Chavez did land the harder punches of the two when he was able to let his hands go, but just was not consistent enough in my opinion. Although consensus was that Vera had once again pulled off an upset, one might argue the biggest of his career, the judges scored a unanimous decision in favor of Chavez. Even though I did not agree with the three judges, Gwen Adair, Carla Caiz, and Marty Denkin it was understandable to an extent to see how a judge could score in favor of Chavez, who did land the more punishing punches of the two fighters.
The controversy at least in this observer’s eyes lies in the margin in which Chavez was deemed the victor, particularly on the scorecard of Judge Gwen Adair who had Chavez ahead 98-92 or eight rounds to two. As was the case following the Mayweather-Alvarez clash, the decision was met with outrage and disgust by Boxing fans and experts alike.
Coming away from the fight the question that ran through my mind was not necessarily if a rematch between the two would take place, but rather when and at what weight limit? A question that was answered as it was announced earlier this week that Chavez and Vera will square off again on March 1st at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas in a twelve round Super-Middleweight bout.
Although I look forward to providing further analysis on how this fight will shape up in the coming weeks, for the moment I will say that the best way to attempt to bring closure to a controversial decision is for a rematch to take place. Fortunately for Boxing fans and for the fighters themselves the rematch will happen sooner rather than later while the first encounter is still fresh in the minds of those who saw this fight and not further down the line. For those who feel that Bryan Vera was the victim of injustice courtesy of questionable scoring, this rematch offers Vera a chance at vindication and should he be successful a potential title shot in either the 160lb Middleweight or 168lb. Super-Middleweight divisions.
For Chavez one might argue that this rematch could represent a crossroads scenario for a fighter who has faced much criticism in recent times both in regard to his problems with weight, but also some questioning his overall commitment to the sport. After two less than stellar performances in his last two fights, one has to wonder what a loss to Vera in the rematch would mean for the long-term future of Chavez.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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