Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (left) lands a left hand to the head of Brian Vera during their light heavyweight bout at StubHub Center on Sept. 28 in Carson, Calif. Chavez won a controversial decision.
It was just a few weeks ago that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. had every conceivable advantage against Bryan Vera in an HBO-televised bout in Carson, Calif. Chavez Jr. needed the benefit of the doubt from the three ringside judges in order to earn a unanimous decision.
That’s applying the loosest form of the definition of the word “earn.” Fight score collector Bobby Hunter tallied 59 media scores after the fight and found that none of them scored the fight for Chavez Jr. Six people scored the fight a draw while 53 found it in favor of Vera.
The poor performance by Chavez Jr. came in his first fight without Freddie Roach since the loss to Sergio Martinez last September on pay-per-view. He had his famous father helping in the corner on fight night, but it was clear that was just a quick fix as they likely anticipated a less game opponent than Vera turned out to be.
Able to dodge a bullet, reports have surfaced that Chavez Jr. was looking to work with Oxnard, Calif.-based guru Robert Garcia, the 2012 trainer of the year that has won a number of big fights as captain to the ships of Nonito Donaire, Mikey Garcia, Brandon Rios, Marcos Maidana, and others.
RingTV.com reached Garcia by phone on Tuesday to find out the most recent developments in regards to whether or not he’d be adding another big name client.
“We talked and he told me he wants to train here,” said Garcia. “We had a good talk and that’s about it. Until he’s here and we’re already working together and I can say he’s here, that’s about it.”
Garcia indicated this wasn’t the first time Chavez Jr. has approached him in regards to working together.
“We’ve talked before,” said Garcia. “Maybe two months before his last fight he said he wanted to train with me and he never came. Four years ago, in 2009, he said the same thing and never came. So, until he’s here, I don’t know for a fact.”
Garcia said that they have a loosely defined plan as to when training camp would commence, targeting a February ring return for Chavez Jr. despite earlier reports saying a rematch with Vera could happen as soon as December.
“The word is it’s gonna be in February,” said Garcia.
“We’ve even talked about the holidays. My baby is gonna be born in December anyways out here in California and [Chavez Jr.] will be here anyways. It’s not like he’s gonna be in Mexico. We’ll be training through the holidays. That gives us two and a half months if we start the last week of November.”
Other names were rumored to be in the running for Chavez Jr.’s next trainer, from Nacho Beristain back to a reuniting with Roach. Garcia said he heard all the rumors but that it looks like he’s Chavez Jr.’s guy.
“I know there’s some negative people trying to convince him to go to other trainers,” said Garcia.
“The other trainers they’ve mentioned are not like chopped liver, you know. Nacho Beristain is a hell of a trainer. Even Freddie Roach is still a great trainer also. So it’s not like he could make a wrong decision. But what he told me is that he didn’t want to train with them and he wants to train with me. So that’s where we’re at.”
Ariza back in the mix, will work opposite former client Pacquiao
One thing that was clarified when speaking to Garcia was the relationship between two of his fighters and strength and conditioning guru Alex Ariza.
It was reported that Ariza had signed on with Brandon Rios and Mikey Garcia on a trial basis according to a Maxboxing report in early September. It was later erroneously rumored that Ariza had been fired. However, an Elie Seckbach video made it clear that the arrangement was still ongoing.
When discussing the matter with Garcia on Tuesday, the trainer told RingTV.com that not only is Ariza still in the mix, but that he will also be traveling with the team to Macau for the Nov. 23 HBO pay-per-view bout. Garcia also said that Ariza wouldn’t be in the corner the way he sometimes was for Pacquiao.
Ariza was considered by many to be an integral part to Pacquiao’s success, particularly as he climbed the weight ladder into territory nobody thought he’d reach. With Ariza now working with the opposing side, an interesting angle has been born that should make the famed HBO reality series 24/7 a bit more interesting.
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Mark E. Ortega is a contributing writer for RingTV.com and has seen his work published in a number of publications and newspapers. He also pens a regular boxing column for the Northern California tri-weekly Martinez News-Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] or followed on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/MarkEOrtega.