This Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will return to the ring as he takes on Brian Vera. It’s been one year since Julio Cesar Chavez Jr suffered the first loss of his career. One year since he almost shocked the world by staging one of the biggest comebacks in boxing history. While he was almost able to mirror the image of his father’s fight against Meldrick Taylor back in 1990 when he fought Sergio Martinez last year, he would end up falling short of his chance to shock the world and stumble upon a series of controversial scenario’s that would delay his return to the ring.
After being defeated easily at the hands of Sergio Martinez on September 15th in 2012, Chavez Jr’s 12th round stand against Martinez, a round in which he nearly knocked Martinez out in the final seconds, was enough to generate a huge buzz for a possible rematch despite Martinez easily beating Chavez Jr for most of the fight. But instead of a huge rematch with money to be made and fans willing to watch, Chavez Jr fell upon huge problem. For the second time in his career, Chavez Jr would test positive for marijuana after a failed drug test after the Sergio Martinez fight. He received a nine month suspension along with a 900k fine that was eventually dropped to 100k. His long career of outside of the ring troubles, including a DUI charge, seemed to be getting the better of him. Leading up to his fight against Martinez, Chavez Jr and trainer Freddie Roach appeared to be having problems with his training schedule. Roach was unhappy with the way Chavez Jr was preparing for the fight. Chavez Jr’s outside of the ring problems were getting the better of him.
Once the suspension for the positive drug test ran it’s course, Chavez Jr was looking to return to the ring. But once again, it seemed that something wasn’t right. After scheduling a June 29th comeback fight, Chavez Jr vs Vera got postponed for reasons that were unclear. A rescheduling of the fight was set for September 7th, however a cut that Chavez received in early August would force another postponement. The cut was questioned by many people who saw, and posted photos, of an overweight Chavez Jr a few weeks before the fight. The question of whether or not he would be able to make weight on September 7th plagued the minds of the fans making them wonder if it was really the cut that caused the postponement, and when the fight got moved to 168 shortly after the report of the cut, the fans seemed to have got their answer.
It’s a new year, and despite being defeated easily at the hands of Martinez, the interest and fan base of Chavez Jr has actually increased since the fight enough so that HBO, who mind you has been very picky in choosing which fights to showcase lately, didn’t even question putting him up against a not so known opponent in Brian Vera. HBO knows that type of fans that Chaves Jr brings to the table.
Chavez Jr is very marketable, and has a fan friendly style. The real question lies in his interest in the sport of boxing. His chin is granite, he loves to get in on the inside and brawl, and his heart inside of the ring is absolute. He proved that against Martinez. For Chavez Jr, it’s outside of the ring where most of his problems lie. The fight against Vera is a chance at a fresh start. The fights to make him a star are there for him. A Sergio Martinez rematch would sell, a Gennady Golovkin fight would be huge, and a fight against Andre Ward would not doubt draw the interest of many boxing fans. With a win Saturday night Chavez Jr puts himself in a great position to set up a big fight next, but he has to want it, and he has to stay out of trouble outside of the ring. If he can do it, he’ll be able to make some serious money in the next few years with big matchups, and interest the boxing world in what could be some very entertaining fights.