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Arum: Chavez-Vera likely; Ward next?

Fighters Network


Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said that it appears that former WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will face Brian Vera at a catch weight of 165 pounds on Aug. 3 in Mexico City rather than England’s once-beaten former title challenger Martin Murray at 160 pounds.

Arum had informed earlier this month that Chavez (46-1-1, 32 knockouts) was to choose between fighting Murray (25-1-1, 11 KOs) or Vera (23-6, 14 KOs) but said on Tuesday that a hand injury suffered by Murray influenced the 27-year-old Mexican’s decision to face Vera.

Chavez was last in the ring for September’s unanimous decision loss to 160-pound champion Sergio Martinez, whom Chavez Jr. dropped in the 12th round. Murray, 30, injured his hand in a unanimous-decision loss to Martinez last month.

Chavez will be trained by Freddie Roach and assistant Alex Ariza.

“It looks like Chavez is going to fight Brian Vera because Murray’s hand was bad,” Arum said. “Murray couldn’t make the Aug. 3 date. So he’ll fight Brian Vera at 165, max. He’s still planning on going to 160 for his next fight.”

Arum also addressed a potential clash between Chavez and RING and WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward, who is expected to return to the ring in September from successful surgery in early January to repair his injured right shoulder.

Ward has mentioned Chavez as a potential opponent.

“I’ll mention Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. because he said that he was coming up in weight. It’s clear that he’s had issues with weight. I feel that if he comes to 168, then he has to see me,” Ward said. “That’s just how I feel about it. I don’t feel like there’s any bigger fight out there for him. I don’t feel like there is any bigger fight out there for me, just from a pay-per-view standpoint.”

Arum did not discount a possible Ward-Chavez matchup.

“I think that eventually that fight will happen,” said Arum of a bout between Chavez and Ward, whose promoter is Dan Goossen. “I don’t know what’s further or what’s closer, but eventually it will happen. That’s all I can say.”

Meanwhile, Vera, 31, will be after his fifth consecutive win and his third straight stoppage if he faces Chavez. He is coming off a seventh-round knockout of Donatas Bondorovas in March.

Vera’s winning streak includes a majority decision over ex-titleholder Sergio Mora in August of 2012. That was followed by January’s 10th-round knockout of former beltholder Sergei Dzinziruk.

Vera’s last loss was in October of 2011 to Andy Lee, whom he had knocked out in the seventh round in March of 2008. Chavez stopped Lee in the seventh round in June of last year.

Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank

Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]