Having made a career out of upsetting the best-laid plans of some of his most well-known opponents, it was no surprise Bryan Vera gave Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. all he could handle in their bout last September.
Chavez saw his focus come under scrutiny over the past several years, culminating with a lopsided decision loss to Sergio Martinez in 2012. Weight problems, a change of trainers and a year of inactivity effectively veered the former champion off track.
Despite Chavez (47-1-1, 32 KOs) hanging on to win a unanimous decision over Vera, the fight was closer than the judges' scorecards indicated, drawing more criticism and the ire of fans and media outlets alike to the former middleweight titlist.
For Vera (23-7, 14 KOs), who had previously upset the likes of Andy Lee and Sergio Mora (twice), his performance was par for the course against a favored opponent. On March 1, he will get a second chance at defeat Chavez when the two meet in a rematch (HBO, 9:45 p.m. ET/PT). A victory for Vera, a native of Texas, could pave the way to the first title shot of his career.
In his own words, Vera discusses his first fight against Chavez and what fans can expect to see in the rematch at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The first fight against Chavez was a good fight for me. I threw more punches and landed more punches. Those facts are not subjective. It is what it is.
I know I won the fight. I controlled the ring and backed Chavez up the entire fight. The public was very positive towards me and they are the reason I got this rematch with Chavez. I have gained a lot of fans since the first fight. The public knew I won the fight and that's very important to me.
As far as the rematch, what people can expect is a determined Bryan Vera. I was good the last fight but this fight I have to be better. I will be in great shape. I will bring the fight to Chavez. I will give the fans a great and exciting fight.
I have put a lot of work into this opportunity and I will take advantage of the situation. I'm ready! Know that I am coming to fight, but more than that know that I am coming to win!