CompuBox Analysis: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Bryan Vera

By CompuBox

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




It was supposed to be so easy for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last September: Return from a 13-month layoff and his only career loss to Sergio Martinez with an impressive showing against Bryan Vera, who also happened to be the number-one contender in one of the sanctioning bodies. A victory would put Chavez in line for an immediate title shot and, at least for the time being, all would be well.

The troubles began when Chavez suffered a cut on his right eyelid during sparring, which pushed the fight back three weeks. Despite the extra training time Chavez still had major problems making the contracted 162-pound weight limit. Through negotiations the standard was raised to 168 but just days before the fight Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. declared the limit had been raised to 173. That prompted a scramble of epic proportions but after deals were struck Chavez scaled 171 1/4 to Vera's 172 1/2 and the fight went forward.

Once the bell sounded, Chavez's problems multiplied as Vera's hustle appeared to be enough to secure the upset. But Chavez was saved by the judges, who saw him as a unanimous decision winner. The subsequent uproar prompted this rematch at the Alamodome, which is friendly territory for both men. Will Vera summon another inspired performance or will Chavez "make things right" and move forward?

Statistical factors that may influence the outcome include:

The First Act: Statistically Vera was by far the dominant fighter. He averaged more than twice as many punches per round (73.4 vs. 32.8) and out-landed Chavez in eight out of the 10 rounds en route to connect advantages of 176-125 overall, 67-27 jabs and 109-98 power. Here's one further illustration of their activity gap: Chavez's highest output in the fight -- 43 in round three -- matched Vera's lowest in round one.

Chavez's saving grace -- besides the judges and his star status -- was his superior accuracy. The gaps were large (38%-24% overall, 19%-17% jabs, 53%-32% power) and Chavez found Vera an easy target for his hooks, crosses and uppercuts. In the round-by-round breakdowns Chavez landed 50% or more of his power shots eight times and soared past 60% three times, peaking at 67% in round six. Vera's volume attack placed prolific numbers above precision, for only once did Vera land more than 40% of his power shots (48% in round two) and in five rounds he was mired in the 20s. This dramatic gulf in effectiveness may partially explain why Chavez won so many of the perceived close rounds.

Like Father, Like Son: One of the few knocks against Chavez's father was his propensity to start slowly and that malady has crept into the son's game. Chavez never got out of the gate against Vera as he remained in the 20s and 30s in nine of the 10 rounds and he was stuck in the mud for the first 10 rounds against Martinez (27.9 per round during that stretch). The first three rounds against Andy Lee saw Chavez average just 20 punches per round before the engine finally got running.

But when Chavez is working at full steam, he can be a monstrous offensive force. In rounds four through seven against Lee he out-landed the Irishman 96-79 overall and 95-65 power, landing 50% of his overall punches and 58% of his power shots. In the final two rounds against Martinez, Chavez landed 51% of his total punches and 58% of his power shots, including 61% in the final round. Those are numbers that usually produce knockouts and in the Lee fight it did just that. The Martinez surge was a case of a combination of too little-too late and what-might-have-been.

The Blue Collar Worker: The cornerstone of Vera's revival -- many believe the Chavez fight should have been Vera's fifth straight win -- has been extreme volume. Against Chavez he averaged 73.4 punches per round, and that was his lowest figure in his last four fights. Against Sergio Mora (the second time around), Serhiy Dzinziruk (KO 10) and Donatas Bondas (KO 7), Vera's average per-round outputs were 105.4, 88.7 and 88.3 -- way above the 54.2 super middleweight average. Like most volume punchers, Vera's accuracy suffered because in his last four fights he landed a combined 23% overall, 15% jabs and 31% power, below the division norms of 31%, 22% and 38% respectively.

One unusual aspect of Vera's attack is its balance. Most volume punchers throw many power shots than jabs but in Vera's case he averaged a combined 43.7 jabs and 46.2 power punches among his 89.8 punches per round -- a 51-49 tilt in favor of power shots. Despite his extreme aggression against Chavez, Vera actually threw more jabs (391) than power shots (343). This diverse attack makes Vera unpredictable and that may well be an asset that will serve Vera well in this rematch.

Prediction: Vera fought one of the best fights of his career against Chavez and to win he'll have to do it again. As a native Texan, he'll have plenty of support. On the other hand, Chavez is capable of fighting much better and the guess here is that he will. He knows that another sub-par effort, much less a loss, against someone whose come-forward style is seemingly tailor-made for him, will be fatal. Thus, he'll fight like a man with his back against the wall and win a solid decision.

CompuBox Analysis: Bryant Jennings vs. Artur Szpilka

By CompuBox

One on One: Mikey Garcia | Robert Garcia | Bryant Jennings | Juan Carlos Burgos | Artur Szpilka

More: Fight Overview | Mikey Garcia's Greatest Hits | Garcia's Path | Final Presser

CompuBox: Garcia vs. Burgos | Bryant Jennings vs. Artur Szpilka

For Bryant Jennings, 2012 was a breakout year. Paired with the fledgling NBC Sports Network, he and the channel rose together as he fought five times and scored five wins --  three by knockout -- and established himself as arguably America's best heavyweight. Since then, however, inactivity prompted by promotional issues limited "By-By" to just one fight in 2013, a sixth round corner retirement of Andrey Fedosov, and his long absence from the airwaves expended virtually all of the momentum he generated.

On Saturday, the Philadelphia product will attempt to re-ignite his career on HBO's airwaves when he faces Polish power-puncher Artur Szpilka, who was "discovered" during a soccer-related brawl and who created his own following in America last year with two thrilling encounters with Mike Mollo. Will the volatile Szpilka detonate on Jennings? Will Jennings send Szpilka to dreamland? Or will the fight go the distance? Their CompuBox pasts reveal the following factors that may shape the outcome:

Reaching Peak Performance: Despite a then career-long 188 day layoff coming into the Fedosov fight, Jennings was in fine form as he averaged 70 punches per round, landed 37% of his total punches and 56% of his power shots and out-landed the Hollywood-based Russian 157-81 overall, 31-6 jabs and 126-75 power. The only negative: He tasted 34% of Fedosov's overall punches and 46% of his hooks, crosses and uppercuts. Was his uncharacteristically leaky defense a product of rust or was it due to the 24-2 Fedosov's talent? Saturday's fight may reveal some answers.

During his 2012 campaign, Jennings continually added dimensions to his game while largely neutralizing his opponents -- although he did suffer an unofficial third-round knockdown against Bowie Tupou. No matter: Jennings out-landed Tupou 33-12 (total) and 29-11 (power) in rounds four and five, landing 67% and 71% of his power shots before scoring a most decisive knockdown in the sixth.

In his televised fights against Maurice Byarm, Sergei Liakhovich and Steve Collins, Jennings steadily increased his average output (49.4, 58.4 and 60.6 punches per round respectively) as well as his margin of total connects (167-120 against Byarm, 253-124 vs. Liakhovich and 246-85 vs. Collins). Working behind his jab (he landed an avg. of 6 of 23 per round in his last 5 fights), his power-punching accuracy against Liakhovich and Collins was particularly impressive (58% and 44% respectively).  In fact, Jennings landed nearly half his power shots in his last five fights and his jab is a weapon Szpilka has not seen recently.  Mollo (2 fights) and Minto landed less than one jab per round while throwing just 15 per round.

Stylistic Gyrations: In his two fights against Mollo, Szpilka was forced to dredge up his street-fighting past. The first encounter saw the Pole dropped in rounds one and four while in the rematch he was spilled in round three. However, both bouts ended with a sensational Szpilka left cross that left Mollo flat on his back.

The tumultuous action overshadowed Szpilka's numerical dominance. In bout one, the Pole out-landed Mollo 135-59 overall and 72-2 in jabs but Mollo hung in because he trailed only 63-57 in power connects and landed 36% of his hardest blows to Szpilka's 42%.

The rematch was a more tepid affair in terms of average output (36.8 for Szpilka, 40.6 for Mollo compared to 56.7 vs. 34.5 in fight one), perhaps because Mollo was determined not to get hit nearly as much. Nevertheless, Szpilka led 69-39 in total connects and 60-35 in landed power shots and he also was far more accurate (41%-21% overall, 16%-5% jabs, 54%-35% power).

But when Szpilka faced 42-fight veteran Brian Minto, he was far more cautious in his approach. While he was bombs-away against Mollo (66.7% of his total punches in the rematch were power shots), he was more judicious against Minto as 248 of his 405 punches (61.2%) were jabs, of which he landed 14%. The long-range boxing worked well, for he limited Minto to 15% overall and 27% power and tasted only 2 of Minto's 205 attempted jabs. Szpilka wasn't accurate (20% overall, 14% jabs, 29% power) but he was effective enough as he out-landed Minto 80-69 overall and 34-2 in jabs and didn't wobble despite being out-landed 67-46 in power shots.

Szpilka was calculated, cautious and crafty against Minto while he was caustic, careless and crushing against Mollo. Which Szpilka will show up on Saturday?

Prediction: Byarm was the last southpaw Jennings faced and for the most part he fared well in that fight. Jennings has grown as a fighter since then and given his devotion to fitness he should be more than ready to take what Szpilka will dish out. Both have scored devastating knockouts but the difference is Jennings' more consistent accuracy. If that continues Saturday -- a question given the layoff -- Jennings should win by late-round TKO.

CompuBox Analysis: Mikey Garcia vs. Juan Carlos Burgos

By CompuBox

One on One: Mikey Garcia | Robert Garcia | Bryant Jennings | Juan Carlos Burgos | Artur Szpilka

More: Fight Overview | Mikey Garcia's Greatest Hits | Garcia's Path | Final Presser

CompuBox: Garcia vs. Burgos | Bryant Jennings vs. Artur Szpilka

For Mikey Garcia, 2013 was a roller-coaster filled with achievement and disappointment. On the positive side he won belts at 126 and 130 against respected titleholders Orlando Salido and Roman Martinez and stretched his perfect record to 33-0 (28 KO) while on the minus column he lost his featherweight belt on the scales after weighing two pounds. But even that negative preamble produced a positive result as he impressively blew out Juan Manuel Lopez in four rounds.

As for Juan Carlos Burgos, 2013 was deeply disappointing in that he earned back-to-back draws in fights many observers thought he should have won. The first outing was the most painful, for despite out-working and out-landing Roman Martinez by a wide margin he walked out of the ring without the WBO 130-pound belt. His next fight six months later against Yakubu Amidu was much closer numerically but the final result was just as stinging.

On Saturday, Burgos will get a second chance to gain the belt he felt he should have won last January while Garcia will begin a new reign at a more comfortable weight class. Statistical factors that may shape the outcome include:

A "Roman" Holiday: One of their three common opponents was Roman Martinez and both fared excellently from a statistical standpoint.

The slow-starting Garcia again had problems getting his engine started as he threw just 21 punches in round one and averaged only 32.8 in the first five. But, as is his wont, Garcia suddenly surged beginning in round six by landing 25 of 67 overall and 18 of 35 power shots to spark a fight-changing surge. From that point forward Garcia prevailed 52-8 overall and 38-4 power and connected on 51%, 58% and 75% of his power shots to Martinez's 27%, 27% and 0%. In all Garcia led 113-45 overall, 53-20 jabs and 60-25 power as dominated in terms of precision (38%-14% overall, 31%-10% jabs, 47%-21% power).

Burgos out-landed Martinez in all phases (286-193 overall, 52-29 in jabs and 234-164 in power shots) and was far more precise (36%-23% overall, 17%-12% jabs, 46%-28% power) but somehow Martinez escaped with his title intact. Maybe it was because he threw more punches (827-805 overall, 576-507 power) or perhaps the Puerto Rican contingent in New York's Madison Square Garden Theater generated enough noise to swing a round or two Martinez's way. What most saw was an injustice.

Opposites Attract: If Garcia has one glaring weakness it is his tendency to start slowly. Meanwhile, Burgos is a punching machine that revs up early and remains in high gear throughout.

Garcia's style mirrors his deliberate and thoughtful personality. He strikes only after gathering exhaustive information on his opponents' habits in the early rounds. As a result, he tends to lose early rounds but he more than makes up for it later on.

That tendency nearly cost Garcia dearly against Martinez as he suffered a second round knockdown and his weight-depleted engine never really got started against Lopez as he threw 36, 41, 46 and 30 punches in each of the four rounds. No matter: Garcia still impressed as he scored knockdowns in rounds two and four, the last of which was produced by a spectacular hook.

Other slow starts were seen versus Orlando Salido (42, 53, 38, 41 and 34 punches in the first five), against Bernabe Concepcion (29 of 142 overall and 7 of 28 power in the first three rounds), Juan Carlos Martinez (39.6 punches per round and being out-landed 50-44 overall and 37-28 power in the first three rounds). But in each of those fights he managed to bail himself out with incredible surges that his opponents couldn't shake. The last three rounds in the Salido fight saw Garcia go 24 of 59, 22 of 62 and 25 of 54 overall while against Concepcion Garcia averaged 71 punches per round from round four onward, outlanding him 83-26 overall and 49-16 power before scoring the seventh round TKO. In round four against Martinez, Garcia went 32 of 69 overall (46%) and 26 of 42 power (62%) in just 160 seconds to register the stoppage.  Garcia averaged 38 punches thrown per round over first five rounds vs. Roman Martinez and Salido- then averaged 59 thrown per round the rest of each fight.  

Conversely, Burgos is a punching machine that starts fast and stays there. Against Martinez, Burgos threw 69 punches in round one and never dipped below 54 (round two). In the final four rounds Burgos went 24 of 62, 31 of 78, 25 of 65 and 44 of 93 while Martinez landed 16, 11, 9 and 22 respectively. Against Amidu, Burgos averaged 100.5 punches per round -- far above the 57.7 junior lightweight norm -- and achieved perfect balance by throwing 603 jabs and 603 power shots. In that bout Burgos threw 78 in round one (which, along with round nine, was his low output) and in the last four rounds he fired 140, 85, 113 and 137. When he fought Burgos, he threw 63, 74 and 68 and landed 41%, 47% and 57% overall and 46%, 55% and 66% power in registering the third-round stoppage. Win or lose, Burgos will always give hard, consistent effort.

Prediction: Garcia has his hands full here, for Burgos appears to have the perfect style to exploit his one great weakness. However, a deeper look into the numbers reveals the one asset Garcia can use to swing the fight -- accuracy. As previously mentioned, Garcia is an extremely precise puncher once he gets going and for all his volume Burgos is not a consistently great defender and Garcia is.  Burgos' last four opponents landed 38% of their power shots, while Garcia's last four opponents landed just 16% of their total punches and just seven punches per round.   

Burgos may well win the first three or four rounds but the real test will come when Mikey begins his surge. If Burgos doesn't crumble -- and he's a genuinely tough guy -- he has a real chance to spring the upset. But the most likely result is that Garcia's rally will once again swing the bout violently his way. Garcia by hard-fought 11th round TKO.

CompuBox Analysis: Jean Pascal vs. Lucian Bute

by CompuBox

When Lucian Bute held the IBF super middleweight title and Jean Pascal possessed the WBC light heavyweight belt, a bout between the two was the most attractive and lucrative match that could be made in Quebec. Both were emigres who developed into local favorites that regularly jammed the Bell Centre but for whatever reason the match was never made.

Until now.

Neither has a belt but the intrigue remains. But, to paraphrase Larry Merchant, will Bute-Pascal be a case of "better late than never" or "better never than late?" Their respective CompuBox profiles offers clues as to who may emerge victorious.  Pascal is a 7-5 favorite (as of 1/8/14).

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CompuBox Analysis: Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Joseph Agbeko

by CompuBox

When two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux turned pro, many observers predicted big things because of his exceptional amateur success. No one could have guessed, however, that 12 fights into his career that he not only would be a two-belt titlist but that he would also be in the pound-for-pound conversation. That’s what comprehensively beating Nonito Donaire, a consensus top-three pound-for-pound entrant, will do for a fighter.

Saturday’s fight with former bantamweight titleholder Joseph Agbeko represents Rigondeaux’s opportunity to consolidate his gains against a respected opponent. For Agbeko, it is a chance to regain what he lost two years ago against Abner Mares – a spot amongst the elite.

Statistical factors that may shape the outcome include:

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CompuBox Analysis: James Kirkland vs. Glen Tapia

by CompuBox

Will three times be the charm for James Kirkland? He certainly hopes so.

Twice before the “Mandingo Warrior” has emerged from layoffs of more than two years. Following a one-round KO of Russell Jordan in November 2003, Kirkland returned in April 2006 with a three-round stoppage of 13-11-2 Manny Castillo. Exactly two years after stopping Joel Julio in six, Kirkland blasted out the 10-2 Jhon Berrio in two rounds. On Saturday, 21 months after a controversial DQ win over now-IBF junior middleweight king Carlos Molina, Kirkland begins again – this time against the 20-0 Glen Tapia. A tall order indeed.

With a victory, Tapia vaults himself into the 154-pound title conversation while for Kirkland, perhaps a rematch with Molina is on the horizon, a fight that fans hope will answer the questions the first match should have provided.

Statistical factors that may provide insights into the result include:

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CompuBox Analysis: Adonis Stevenson vs. Tony Bellew

by CompuBox

Who would have ever thought on January 1, 2013 that by late-November Adonis Stevenson would be a contender for Fighter of the Year? But after avenging his only defeat by knocking out Darnell Boone in six rounds, winning the WBC light heavyweight title in 76 seconds from Chad Dawson and defending it by TKO over ex-titlist Tavoris Cloud, the 36-year-old southpaw is in prime position to make a strong case for the honor.

On Saturday, Stevenson hopes to put a bow on a life-changing year when he takes on mandatory challenger Tony Bellew, who is looking to create his own dreams by capturing a major title on the road. The question is will he?

Statistical factors that may shape the outcome include:

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CompuBox Analysis: Sergey Kovalev vs. Ismayl Sillakh

by CompuBox

What a year 2013 has been for Sergey Kovalev. In January, the “Krusher” crushed former light heavyweight titlist Gabriel Campillo in seven-and-a-half minutes while in June he did the same to the 21-1 Cornelius White in a little less than eight minutes. Just two months after that he traveled to Cardiff, Wales to take on Welshman Nathan Cleverly, who also happened to be the defending WBO light heavyweight titlist. Many thought Cleverly’s volume-punching and home ring advantage would prevail, but in the end it was Kovalev’s aggression, accuracy and power that prevailed in scoring a fourth-round TKO.

On Saturday, the globe-trotting Kovalev will again travel to hostile territory to make his first defense against Ismayl Sillakh in Quebec City. The mission: Score an eye-catching KO before the home fans of his next potential rival, WBC titlist Adonis Stevenson, in the hopes of generating interest in a Kovalev-Stevenson unification fight. The Ukrainian challenger has other ideas, however, and he believes his long-armed style and superior mobility will “Krush” Kovalev’s aspirations.

Factors that may influence the outcome include:

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CompuBox Analysis: Alvarado vs. Provodnikov

by CompuBox

How does a "B-side" become an "A-lister?" Just ask Mike Alvarado.

Before "Mile High Mike" fought Brandon Rios the first time, he was the definitive "opponent" despite being 33-0 and Rios losing his last bout to Richar Abril as well as missing weight in two consecutive fights. But following a sensational war (KO by 7) that spawned a TV-friendly rematch that Alvarado correctly won by decision, he has been rewarded with a homecoming fight on HBO.

Provodnikov is trying to follow the same formula. After being an ESPN "A-side," he was Timothy Bradley's party of the second part this past March. Defying all expectations, the fight was extraordinary and though the Russian lost he covered himself in glory just as Alvarado did with Rios in his first fight. If he beats Alvarado in Denver, he might change his status as well.

Statistical factors that may influence the outcome include:

Read the Complete Mike Alvarado vs. Ruslan Provodnikov CompuBox Analysis on HBO.com.

CompuBox Analysis: Cotto vs. Rodriguez

by CompuBox

When Miguel Cotto turned pro in 2001, he was christened as the second coming of Felix Trinidad, especially when one compared their deadly left hooks. But in the 12 years since then Cotto has created his own legend that may land him in the International Boxing Hall of Fame one day.

Back-to-back defeats to Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout as well as a career-long 309-day layoff certifies that Cotto is now in the sunset of his career. But before Cotto's in-ring presence dips below the horizon he still has business in hand, for on Saturday he will face Dominican veteran Delvin Rodriguez in Cotto's adopted home base of Florida.

The longtime welterweight contender has fought his last five fights at 154 and at 33 he is seven months older chronologically. His ring age, however, may well be younger for while he's taken his lumps in terms of blemishes on his record (several of which were undeserved), he's never taken the sustained beatings Cotto did. Will that fact, however, translate inside the ring? Will Rodriguez's younger 33 be enough to beat Cotto's older 32 or will Cotto's superior elite experience turn back Rodriguez's ambition?

Statistical factors that may influence the outcome are:

Read the Conplete CompuBox Analysis of Cotto vs. Rodriguez on HBO.com.

Read the Conplete CompuBox Analysis of Crawford vs. Klimov on HBO.com.

Read the Conplete CompuBox Analysis of Klitschko vs. Povetkin on HBO.com.