SAN ANTONIO -- Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., in shape, on weight and apparently focused on the task at hand, left no doubt this time as he outslugged Bryan Vera in a brutal super middleweight rematch on Saturday night at the Alamodome.
Chavez, a former middleweight titleholder, won a well-deserved unanimous decision in a rematch with Vera five months after being awarded a highly controversial decision in a fight in which Chavez was out of shape and had to pay Vera six figures to agree to increase the weight limit from 168 to 173 pounds.
In the Sept. 28 fight in Carson, Calif., Chavez and Vera also slugged it out, in a 10-round bout, which most observers thought Vera had clearly won. But the judges had it by shocking scores of 98-92, 97-93, 96-94. Even Chavez's own fans booed the decision.
However, there was little doubt as to the outcome this time around as Chavez, looking like he was in the best shape he has been in in quite some time, comfortably made 167½ pounds and proceeded to rake Vera with overhand rights throughout the fight.
All three judges had Chavez winning 117-110, 117-110 and a surprisingly close 114-113 as he restored some of the credibility he lost with the performance and weight fiasco in the first fight. ESPN.com also had it for Chavez, 118-109.
"This time I prepared to win round by round and not to make weight," Chavez said. "A week before I was on weight and I was able to work. Losing the weight wasn't a problem and didn't take my strength away.
"I made a better fight this time and we won more clearly. I proved to all the people I'm a better fighter than Bryan Vera."
Whatever the reason for his newfound conditioning and focus, he hammered Vera in a highly entertaining, albeit one-sided fight before a crowd of 7,323 -- almost half of what Chavez drew to the Alamodome when he fought here in 2012, a clear sign that some of his fans are fed up with the outside the ring drama (the weight issues, a positive drug test and a lack of dedication to training) that has surrounded him.
"He was in condition this time and it was a very entertaining fight," Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said. "I think that he certainly improved on his image from last time and he certainly was in shape, but as his father (Hall of Famer Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.) told me after the fight, until he gets a real trainer (he's presently trained by Vladimir Baldenebro) we're all fooling ourselves. That's not me, that's him saying it. It's obvious there was no game plan."
Chavez said that his new sense of motivation came from the birth three months ago of his daughter, Julia, which made him work hard to get into top shape.
He needed to be in that kind of shape with how violent the fight was.
"We came in to put on pressure and we did," Vera said. "I saw the same fighter. He wasn't any better. I hurt my hand in the fourth round and got away from the jab a little. I found out four days ago that it was a 12-round fight (due to a contract snafu). We trained for 10 rounds. It's always something when we come to these f------ fights. But I'm a fighter, I always give people a great fight."