On Oct. 14, more fans tuned in to watch boxing than they had in years when Floyd Mayweather dominated Canelo Alvarez at the MGM in Las Vegas. They also sat back in disbelief when the scores were read, as somehow the clueless C.J. Ross had ruled the fight a draw. Fortunately, the other two judges scored it for Floyd Mayweather, although their cards were much closer than even the most biased Canelo fans had seen the fight.
Many had speculated that the fix was in, as if a rematch could have been forced, it would have meant millions and millions of more dollars in the collective pockets of promoters. Coupled with some cryptic words from Oscar de la Hoya and his removing himself from the promotion of the fight, things definitely appeared suspicious. Fans, media and fighters alike were furious over scores, which they point as one of the main reasons the sport has had difficulty attracting new viewers. Nobody is going to tune into boxing if they don’t believe it is on the up-and-up.
Still a hot topic going into last night’s fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Brian Vera, once again the scoring would be front and center in generating controversy as Chavez was awarded a unanimous decision win in a fight very few had him winning. Of the media seated ringside, not one had ruled the fight in favor of Chavez. However, the three judges turned in scores of 96-94, 97-93, and a laughable 98-92 in favor of the son of the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.
Much busier, landing many more punches, it is hard to argue against giving the win to Vera. The defense for Chavez seems to be that he landed the cleaner, more powerful shots. While that may be true, and he did appear to stagger Vera a couple times in the contest, the Texas based fighter was never in any real trouble. Landing a few, more powerful punches hardly makes up for being outlanded at the rate Chavez Jr. was.
The consensus seemed to be that Vera won anywhere from 6 to 8 rounds. A bad score should have at worst made it a draw. How anyone could have scored it 8-2 in favor of Chavez is unfathomable. Unless of course there were other forces at work, which many obviously concluded. Even trainer Virgil Hunter chimed in saying he saw some suspicious activity going on with the judges following the fight, and before the decision was read.
Here is the problem. Brian Vera was brought in as an opponent. He was supposed to be the perfect foe for a returning Chavez, who has heavy hands. Vera, who is often an easy target to hit should have made a perfect fit to showcase how good Chavez is supposed to be. The problem is, nobody told Vera that he was supposed to make things easy. Instead, he seized the opportunity of a lifetime. Determined to come in and take the fight to the “made” fighter, he gave the performance of a lifetime, and should quite simply be celebrating the biggest victory of his career. Instead, he is left scratching his head along with the rest of us, at how that decision was made.
To make matters worse, the entire promotion for the fight was saddled by the unprofessional attitude of Chavez Jr. Originally to be contested at 160 ponds, it kept moving up until Bob Arum actually announced that the real weight to be fought at would not be released until AFTER the fighters hit the scales. This was because it became increasingly obvious that there was no chance that Chavez was going to be able to make weight.
If he had more stroke, Vera would have been wise to refuse the fight. However, knowing that he was not going to turn down the fight, Chavez saw no real reason to struggle to make weight. Instead, he could fight where he was more comfortable, forcing Vera to compete much higher weight than he ever had before. As a consolation, Vera received extra compensation.
What is really disappointing in this case is that a fighter who did everything right, and seized his moment in the limelight, is being punished because there is more money in a fighter who has shown nothing but a lack of respect for the sport or his opponents. At least had Floyd Mayweather been the one screwed, he would have already had his time, and of course would of had an immediate rematch. In this case, things are much less certain.
Although he vows to be back, and would love a rematch with Chavez, you can be sure that will never happen. Instead, the Chavez camp will dismiss this fight and move on to what they consider greener pastures. Eventually, the cavalier attitude towards the sport will catch up to Chavez, but until then, he will milk it for all it’s worth.
Meanwhile, you hope that Vera gets treated as though he won and can line up another big money fight instead of having to settle for a return to ESPN. However, considering how he showed that he can rise to the level of his opponent, it is doubtful he will have any big names lining up to fight him.
As for the judging, and how it can be fixed, that is a question that likely has no real answer with the way the sport is currently set up. Instead of having one central body whose sole purpose is to look out for the good of boxing, it is made of several promoters who only care about how much money their fighters can generate. With those being the main interests, it is easy to see why a fighter like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is going to get preferential treatment. There is, after all, a lot of money to be made off the son of a legend than there is in a fighter considered to be a durable journeyman.