Julio Cesar Chavez Jr returns to the ring this weekend (Sept. 28, 2013) as he faces Brian Vera at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Chavez is a massive (-1250) favorite at 5DIMES, with the comeback on Vera hovering around (+800). For Chavez, it is the start of a comeback after a year suspension that he served following the first loss of his career at the hands of Sergio Martinez in September of last year. Roughly two years ago, his name was on par with that of Saul Alvarez in terms of rising Mexican stars, but his career has gone in a drastically different direction than that of ‘Canelo’. This match is the start of his return to prominence, or so he envisions. Vera has a record of 23-6, which makes him a notch below the top guys active now. He has however, put together a solid four fight winning streak that includes a win over well-regarded Sergio Mora, and a win over Serhiy Dzinziruk that saw him nab the NABO Middleweight title. Dzinziruk’s only previous loss was to the aforementioned Sergio Martinez, and Vera took him out in the 10th round. Vera is likely doing his best boxing. There are several indicators now that fight week is here that make you wonder whether Chavez has his head on straight. First of all, he has negotiated the fight to be at a 173 lb. catch weight, as the Middleweight limit of 160 lbs where he has fought in the past seems unreachable. The fight was originally slated to be a 163 lb match, and that was shifted to 165 then to 168 punds before settling at 173. Now Chavez has always been a big Middleweight who cut a lot of weight, but is his reluctance to cut coming from taking Vera lightly, or from a lazy training camp that has seen Chavez fail to do the work necessary? The fact is that Chavez also negotiated the fight from its original 12 rounds down to 10, so there are going to be questions about Chavez preparedness. Either of those scenarios is good for Vera, and good for those who might be looking for a reason to bet the heavy underdog. Remember, the suspension that Chavez Jr is coming off of is for marijuana use, so there have been signs that he has not always been the hardest worker in the gym in the past. Meanwhile Vera took some extra money and wants to go ahead with the fight, claiming to be in the best shape of his life. Vera will be smaller, but he has been fighting at his highest level this past year, while Chavez has been raising questions about his overall motivation. Chavez may well do what he is supposed to do in this fight, and that is win and continue on to big pay days and big fights going forward. He has even talked about a Martinez rematch, or facing the like of ‘Canelo’. If he does not realize that a comeback starts this weekend against Vera, Vera is the kind of fighter who could rise to the occasion. At 8 to 1 odds, Vera might be worth a flyer bet!
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