Monday, March 20, 2023  |



Lampley discusses Chavez-Vera, bad scoring


Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. earned a highly disputable 10-round unanimous decision over Bryan Vera on Saturday in Carson, Calif. The “victory” by scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92 was seen on HBO in the U.S. and followed a circus in which Chavez Jr.’s side negotiated a new weight mid-fight week after showing up heavy.

Few were as close to the action on Saturday than HBO commentator Jim Lampley, who spoke with briefly about the result after the fight.

“I don’t like to keep a score while calling a fight,” said Lampley shortly after wrapping up the broadcast.

“I thought (unofficial HBO judge) Steve Weisfeld’s score of 96-94 was entirely justifiable. A draw wouldn’t have surprised me. 98-92 is way off base. It just wasn’t that kind of a fight; 97-93 doesn’t seem right to me either.”

There were many close rounds in the fight as Vera mostly out worked Chavez Jr., who landed the more telling punches. Still, an independent score collector gathered 59 media scores after the fight and none of whom had Chavez Jr. ahead.

“At the end of the day, yes, Chavez landed the bigger, harder shots, but Vera out hustled him,” said Lampley. “Vera controlled the flow of the fight and I thought in the last two rounds Chavez didn’t land any of those big shots.”

Lampley also hosts a boxing studio show on HBO called The Fight Game, which examines different issues and topics of the Sweet Science. There have been major gaffes in judging in September.

Raymundo Beltran was robbed of an alphabet trinket when he travels to Europe to lose a controversial decision to lightweight titlist Ricky Burns to begin the month. CJ Ross’ 114-114 score in Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Saul Alvarez a few weeks ago caused her to take a long overdue break from the sport and put the Nevada State Athletic Commission under watch. Saturday’s decision against Vera is just the latest. Lampley responded to whether or not we can expect him to address it on a future installment of his show.

“One thing I’ve learned about The Fight Game is don’t commit to anything four weeks in advance,” said Lampley.

“Every single time I’ve done the show so far, I have been reworking the format and adding and subtracting material up until the last minute when we go on the air because it is a new show. About three or four times, I’ve made the mistake of committing to interviews with the idea that something’s going to be on The Fight Game, and it winds up hitting the floor.

“The bottom line is, four weeks away is a long way out,” Lampley continued. “Things could happen between now and then. But after the draw score two weeks ago in Vegas, and after tonight, scoring is still a topic in the sport. It’s still a hot button.”

Earlier in the week, comparisons were made between the Chavez Jr. weight situation and the one Adrien Broner put HBO through last July when he failed to make weight twice against Vicente Escobedo. In the case of both Chavez Jr. and Broner, there was a sense of entitlement that their mess would get cleaned up by certain enablers. In both cases, that’s exactly what happened.

“I called Broner-Escobedo and what happened there was a travesty,” said Lampley. “What happened here was a travesty, which made clear that there’s a level of entitlement that goes to superstars that are big draws in the sport, which is gonna continue to be a thorn in our side.

“We need a higher level of oversight and a higher level of integrity. I’m not sure where it comes from.”

That’s the big question. Hopefully, Lampley gets a chance to address it without the segment hitting the cutting room floor.



Photo / Chris Farina