Preview: Chavez vs. Vera II, Lomachenko eyes Salido’s title belt, HBO Boxing,...

Preview: Chavez vs. Vera II, Lomachenko eyes Salido’s title belt, HBO Boxing, 9:45 p.m. ET

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Boxer Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. jokes with a voided check at his weigh-in Friday. Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank
Boxer Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. jokes with a voided check at his weigh-in Friday. Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank

SAN DIEGO, March 1, 2014 On Friday, Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. was good to his word. It saved him $250,000.

Chavez Jr. (47-1-1, 32 KO) made weight at 167.5 pounds for his rematch bout on Saturday night in San Antonio, Texas with Brian Vera (23-7, 14 KO). The fight will be shown on HBO Boxing at 9:45 p.m ET. Per an agreement with Vera’s camp prior to the bout, Chavez agreed to pay Vera a $250,000 penalty if he didn’t make weight for the fight. Vera also weighed at 167.5 pounds.

Chavez joked around with a symbolic voided check on stage at the weigh-in. He said in HBO’s preview he was motivated by the fine, but he shouldn’t need this sort of threat hanging over his wallet. Making weight is a part of a professional fighter’s job. Members of the boxing media (including this columnist), commentators, fellow professionals, fans and even Top Rank promoter Bob Arum are exasperated with Chavez Jr.’s lack of serious preparation for fights, his drug issues, and party boy lifestyle.

Chavez failed to make weight for his first fight with Vera last September. Vera agreed to take on the much bigger Chavez Jr., and while he couldn’t have been happy about it, he didn’t whine about it.

Brian Vera of Texas and Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. of Mexico pose at their weigh-in Friday in San Antonio.
Brian Vera of Texas and Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. of Mexico pose at their weigh-in Friday in San Antonio. Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank.

Vera was by far the busier fighter, landing more punches overall and more power punches than Chavez Jr., although his connect percentage was lower than Chavez Jr. Chavez Jr. landed the harder punches, but what do you expect? He must have outweighed Vera by 20 pounds at fight time. HBO showed Chavez Jr.’s photo during a discussion of lineup of light heavyweight contenders during its broadcast.

By the end of the fight, observers crossed their fingers the judges would give the victory to Vera, who outworked and outclassed Chavez Jr. It was not to be. The judges rewarded the heavier puncher and the guy with the bigger, uh, reputation.

Vera said he would bounce back, and he’d like to fight Chavez Jr. again at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds. Chavez Jr. walked away with a gift victory, and he knew it. To his credit, JCC Junior gave Vera the rematch, and fans have an intriguing fight to watch.

The big question: did Chavez Jr. go home and straighten up his act? Does he remember the sound of the fans booing his victory in a half-empty arena, read some of the media reports expressing disgust with his lack of respect for his father’s name and for the sport of boxing and get busy? If not, it’s game on for Vera. Without Chavez having an enormous weight advantage, Vera presents a serious threat not just in this fight, but to Chavez Jr.’s entire career.

Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine and Orlando Salido of Mexico pose at their weigh-in Friday in San Antonio.
Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine and Orlando Salido of Mexico pose at their weigh-in Friday in San Antonio. Salido failed to make weight and was stripped of his title belt. Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank.

On the undercard, two-time Ukranian Olympic Gold medal winner Vasyl Lomachenko (1-0, 1 KO) has a chance to win a title belt in just his second professional fight against Orlando Salido (40-12-2, 28 KOs) of Mexico.

While his countryman Chavez Jr. made weight, Salido was over the 126-pound featherweight limit on the scale at 128 and one quarter. Salido didn’t even try to make weight. As a result, Salido was stripped of his world featherweight title by the WBO. Salido agreed to pay Lomachenko $15,000 from his $250,000 purse, making Lomachenko’s share $215,000 according to Top Rank.

Lomachenko can win the belt with a victory. His amateur record is extensive and impressive at 396-1. He is one of the few fighters to make a professional debut with a 10-round bout; it didn’t go anywhere near that long as Lomachenko scored an impressive fourth round knockout. Seeing Lomachenko test his skills against the veteran Salido will tell fans a lot about the future of this athlete in the pro ranks. It would also be a morale builder for his family and Ukrainian countrymen in the midst of the unrest in his home country.

Chavez-Vera II and Lomachenko vs. Salido airs on HBO Boxing at 9:45 p.m. ET from the Alamodome in Houston, Texas.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

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