Fight Highlights: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Bryan Vera II

Watch highlights from the rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera

Fight Recaps: Chavez vs. Vera | Salido vs. Lomachenko

Highlights: Chavez vs. Vera | Salido vs. Lomachenko

Fight Highlights: Orlando Salido vs. Vasyl Lomachenko

Watch a collection of highlights from Saturday's fight between Orlando Salido and Vasyl Lomachenko

Fight Recaps: Chavez vs. Vera | Salido vs. Lomachenko

Highlights: Chavez vs. Vera | Salido vs. Lomachenko

Chavez Beats Vera Again, This Time Without Controversy

By Kieran Mulvaney

Photo: Will Hart

Fight Recaps: Chavez vs. Vera | Salido vs. Lomachenko

Highlights: Chavez vs. Vera | Salido vs. Lomachenko

This time there was no controversy, no booing by the crowd at the decision, no looks of bewilderment from the media – except perhaps over one of the scorecards, which was closer than it should have been. For the second time in five months, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr scored a unanimous decision win over Bryan Vera, but whereas the previous victory was shrouded in dispute and discord, this one was emphatic.

At times, Saturday’s main event in San Antonio morphed from professional boxing to Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, or a fight scene from a Rocky movie. Scribbling notes about the action in the ring almost became a case of writing “Chavez lands a huge right hand” and “Vera comes back with a right hand of his own,” over and over. Cut and paste.

For twelve rounds, Chavez (48-1-1, 32 KOs) and Vera threw everything they had at each other. The difference, ultimately, was that Chavez landed harder, he landed at a higher rate – the connect percentage on his power punches was a ridiculous 62 percent – and he landed with greater variety. He was, at the end of the day, simply better. 

He needed to be, because Vera (23-8, 14 KOs) showed what he had shown in the previous contest: that he is possessed of relentless energy and a determination to keep coming forward no matter what kind of punishment is being flung in his direction. In the first fight, Chavez had been too slow, too still; even though on that occasion, too, his punches were the more authoritative, he allowed Vera to outwork him with a blistering fusillade of blows of his own. This time, the Mexican boxed far more intelligently and with greater activity from the beginning, stepping forward with his jab and throwing thudding left hooks that Vera seemed powerless to avoid. Chavez mixed up his punches, throwing to Vera’s body and causing him to drop his guard, and then switching upstairs, and following up his hooks with hellacious right hands that repeatedly snapped Vera’s head around and sent the spray flying.

Round after round, Vera would begin brightly enough, but each time Chavez would grind him down with his heavy-fisted assault until, at the end of each three-minute spell, Vera would take a deep breath and head back to the corner looking increasingly ragged. But then after a minute of recovery, he would come back out again and start firing – his uppercut proving especially effective – until Chavez would resume his assault anew.

Throughout it all, the crowd lustily roared its approval, never more so than during an extraordinary eleventh round in which Chavez, showing his first signs of tiring, suddenly landed a left/right combination that looked to have Vera almost out on his feet. But the next blow apparently woke him up, as the Texan simply smiled again and threw more combinations of his own.

Cut and paste.

The twelfth saw Chavez running out the clock, doing the Ali shuffle and staying out of trouble – a necessary consequence, he said afterward, of having hurt his right hand in the previous frame. When that twelfth round was completed, the scores were unanimous – 114-113, 117-110, and 117-110 again – in the Mexican’s favor.

“I thought the fight was really close,” said Vera. “A lot closer than it was on the scorecards. I thought the fight should have been scored closer.”

But there were no real complaints from the loser, merely an acknowledgement that, as much as his face-first fighting style is exciting, it may not be in his best interests.

“I’m a fighter and I always give people great fights,” he said. “I’ve got a tough chin. We grew up rough. My mom and dad raised us to be tough kids. I’m too hard-headed and I need to work on things to be a smarter fighter to get where I want to get.”

For Chavez, who had been heavily criticized for failing to come close to making weight for the first fight, the take-home lesson was equally simple.

“Vera saw a better Julio this time,” he said. “The real difference in this fight was that I was on weight.”

Experience Matters as Salido Holds on For Win over Lomachenko

By Kieran Mulvaney

Photo: Will Hart

Fight Recaps: Chavez vs. Vera | Salido vs. Lomachenko

Highlights: Chavez vs. Vera | Salido vs. Lomachenko

There has, over the last several weeks and months, been much touting of Vasyl Lomachenko as the future of boxing, and he may yet prove to be; but on Saturday night in San Antonio, the much-decorated amateur found that experience in the professional ranks is not something to be taken lightly, as he dropped a split decision to Orlando Salido in the co-main event on World Championship Boxing.

Of course, Salido (41-12-2, 28 KOs) is not new to the role of spoiler: his two stoppage victories over Juan Manuel Lopez in 2011 and 2012 effectively ended the Puerto Rican’s career as a top-flight fighter. And there were plenty who wondered whether, no matter how skilled he might be, Lomachenko (1-1, 1 KO) was biting off more than he could chew by taking on such an experienced champion in just his second professional fight.

The first round gave little indication either way, as the two men looked at each other, Salido circling away as Lomachenko feinted and stalked; but over the next several frames, the Mexican veteran began to give his young challenger a lesson in the realities of professional prizefighting, as he walked him down and worked him hard with looping punches to the ribcage and kidneys – and, on more than a few occasions, parts of the anatomy where legal blows are not supposed to land, but for which he went repeatedly unpunished by referee Laurence Cole.

Lomachenko began to find his groove in the fifth, firing off two-and-three-punch combinations and pivoting away as Salido came forward, but those punches had little effect on an opponent who failed to make weight and on fight night unofficially weighed 147 pounds - 11 more than Lomachenko.

Yet every time Lomachenko seemed to be building a head of steam, Salido would come back, swarming him, throwing punch after punch, looking to land everywhere he could. After ten, it began to seem that the Ukrainian challenger had let his chance slip away, but he came out for the eleventh with a new sense of purpose, rattling Salido with combinations and then, finally, in the twelfth, hurting him badly with a right hand to the head and one to the body. With more than a minute remaining, Salido was in desperate trouble, but he clung to Lomachenko for dear life, forcing the two-time Olympic gold medalist to rip his hands free and resume his assault.

Salido survived, but only just. Lomachenko’s charge was too little, too late, as Salido won a split decision by scores of 113-115, 115-113 and 116-112.

Lomachenko was philosophical in defeat.

“I did my best. It didn’t work out. I’ve got to go home and review the tape,” he said.

“He’s very smart, he has good movement,” said Salido of his fallen foe. “I knew I had to keep throwing punches. I tried to land all the punches I could. In my opinion, my experience was the difference.”

Watch: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera Weigh-In

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera II begins tonight at 9:45pm ET/PT on HBO World Championship Boxing:

More: Stakes High for Rematch | HBO Boxing Podcast | CompuBox