This weekend Brian Vera and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will meet in a highly anticipated rematch of a fight that took place last fall. Chavez Jr. won the first bout by a controversial unanimous decision that most felt should have gone in the favors of Vera.
I had a chance to speak with Brian Vera on a recent edition of “On The Ropes” to discuss the rematch, and what he thinks he can do differently to leave no doubt. Brian also gave his thoughts on Chavez’s weight and if he thinks there will be any issues before the fight. Additionally Vera gives his thoughts on the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch, and his prediction for this weekend. Here is what Brian Vera had to say
Jenna J: You have a rematch with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The first fight had a lot of controversy involved in it, how has the preparation been going for this one?
Brian Vera: It’s going great. I’ve gotten about 80 rounds of sparing with two light heavy weights in Jermell Charlo. I am getting top notch work, doing a lot of strength and conditioning. I’ve already been in camp for 10 weeks, so everything is going perfect at this point.
Jenna: A lot was made about the last fight because the weight was changed three separate times. How do you feel about things going into this fight here? Do you feel things are more level going into the rematch?
Vera: So far it’s a lot less crazy, but you know, on fight week we’re not gonna know how heavy he is gonna to be, if he’s gonna be trying to change the weight. Also it just depends on what goes on with him. I know on my end we’re doing everything, but you know as far up to this point everything has been good. Last time he was doing all kinds of stuff in between time, but as far as I know it’s alright.
Jenna: How do you feel that you are getting a second chance at Chavez to prove the first fight was not a fluke?
Vera: I’m happy, it’s an hour away from my hometown in Austin, Texas. I’m gonna have a lot of support there, I already know what to expect now that I’ve already been in the ring with him. I know he may come in better shape this time, but it’s always different when you fight somebody the 2nd time especially when you know what to look for.
I’ve just been working hard and Ronnie Shield has been doing a lot of things with me now that he didn’t know I was capable of doing. So I am looking to go out there and do the same thing but getting my hand raised this time.
Jenna: You have fought rematches before, with fighters like Andy Lee and Sergio Mora. What kind of mind set do you take into a second fight with a fighter that you’ve faced before?
Vera: Definitely, since I felt like I won. Those times were a little different because I’m fighting him back to back, it’s kind of close to the other fight, so the other guys there was a big gap in between, especially with Andy Lee, it was like a year or two between that.
You get a lot more experience than you do as well, and this time we just fought each other and I am expecting to do a little bit of the same thing. Just do everything a little bit better, just do a little bit of same thing I did last time.
Jenna: Do you think since this fight is closer to your home that we won’t see any controversy this time?
Vera: I think so, I think that I got a good commissioner. I know that he kind of runs a lot of things in Texas as well, so we’re hoping to keep it out of the judges hands, if not then we wanna definitely dominate the fight. I think that so many eyes are looking this time that they can’t afford to make a decision like they did last time.
Jenna: You said you are not looking to have a decision, do you really think it’s possible to score a knock out against him?
Vera: We’re going to try. He’s been in a lot of these fights taking a lot of shots. He’s definitely tough and it’s gonna to be hard test, but that’s why we’ve been doing a lot of strength and conditioning and doing things that can make that happen. He’s not one of those guys that you can knock out with punch, but you got to break him down.
I think this time he’s gonna try to come at me a little harder, last time he was back pedaling quite a bit. When you have somebody coming at you, and you’re coming at them, a lot more can happen as far as hurting them. When they’re back pedaling it’s harder to catch them with a good shot.
Jenna: What do you think Chavez Jr. will do different in the rematch?
Vera: I think he’ll probably be in better shape, but it hasn’t been that long since the last fight, and like you said, he took the year lay-off. He hasn’t been working with the same people so I don’t really expect him to do anything that he didn’t do then.
I don’t see him being that much better, you can’t really improve that much with that short of time. I’m not looking past him or anything, but I’m definitely preparing myself for the best Julio that’s gonna come out there.
Jenna: Brian, what do you expect Chavez Jr. to weigh for this fight? Do you think he will be over, under or right at the weight?
Vera: Honestly I expect him to come him little heavy, when he weighed 172.6 the last time, he looked like he had nothing left. I don’t know, I expect him to be overweight, but he may make it. Hopefully he makes it and we go in and fight fair and square, and there is no questions to why or what. He obviously has to pay a big fine if he doesn’t make the weight, so I won’t be too upset if he’s like a pound or two over.
Jenna: Chavez Jr was coming off a 1 year lay off last you fought him, and he has always done better in rematches. Does he bring in that edge that he does better the second time around?
Vera: Well those guys, Carlos Molina was a long time ago and they fought at a lighter weight. Matt Vanda is a tough guy but he’s not hard to look good against. With those two fights I really can’t judge off of, they’re so long ago.
Like you said, he’d been laid off for a year, then he fought me, and will fight again back to back. I really do expect to see a similar to the same Chavez, but I feel like I’ve gotten better with each fight since I’ve been with Ronnie, and I expect to be better for this one as well.
Jenna: What do you think winning this fight does for your career, do you think you get a title shot next?
Vera: I think so, I think I go back to the middleweight and we fight somebody like Peter Quillin or somebody like that, I think it would be a realistic fight for me at this point, or we can stay at super middleweight. But you know, realistically but with my manager and people, we’re only fighting Chavez because he came up as a middleweight, and I can still make middleweight, so I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to go back down.
Jenna: Brian, recent news of the week saw Floyd Mayweather Jr. announce that he is fighting Marcos Maidana, what are your thoughts on that fight?
Vera: Maidana comes there to fight, he’s really tough, that kind of awkward style will throw him off. I think Maidana is not going let off and stay on top of him, and Mayweather will probably pick him apart, but it will definitely be fun to watch for the fans.
Jenna: A big rematch has been set for April, with Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley set to meet again. Do you think Pacquiao will retire if he can’t win?
Vera: I think that if Pacquiao doesn’t win he needs to do something else, but I thought he won the last time, so I can’t really say that Bradley won. Bradley looked good against Marquez and if he’s that same guy that fights Pacquiao, it seems like Bradley has gotten better, so I pick Bradley winning by decision and Pacquiao has to wrap it up.
Jenna: You are always the underdog going into most fights, but for this one, a lot of people are favoring you. Does that change your mindset at all?
Vera: I still feel like they’re counting me as an underdog. I still think Chavez in his mind thinks that he didn’t fight his best, so he’s looking past me a little bit, and they’re already talking about him fighting other people. I still in the back of mind, I’m going in there to prove a point, it’s always what it’s kind of been for me, but it doesn’t bother me. I like that role, I like playing that role, so I’m just gonna out there and upset him.
Jenna: Do you think there will be anything different when you face Chavez Jr. again in the ring?
Vera: I think he’ll be in better in condition, I think he’s still going to do similar to the same things, but I think he will try to put a little more pressure, which is gonna allow me to box more, and show more of my skills. But not much, I don’t think he’s gonna do much more than what he did the first time to be honest with you.
Jenna: What is your official prediction for this Saturday night?
Vera: I just plan on putting more pressure and I plan on dominating the fight. Like you said before, it’s hard to get him out of there. I can see myself putting him away or winning a dominating decision cause I feel like we’ve had a great camp and everything is on flow on right now, and I don’t think he’s going to be expecting that. I expect him to be stunned from the get go.