Former WBO NABO middleweight titleholder Bryan “The Warrior” Vera (28-16, 18 KOs) believes that he can rekindle the success that he had earlier in his career, now that he has re-invented and re-focused himself to the sport, both in and out of the ring, over the past year. He hired an experienced trainer Fernando “Falco” Melchor and together they have spent the last twelve months tirelessly improving his boxing skills at the BlindSider Boxing Gym in Pflugerville, Texas, and instead of enjoying the nightlife after he leaves the gym, Vera heads home, which are two things that he did not do on a consistent basis over the last couple of years.
Photo by Emily Harney/Fightography
“This is the most focused that I have been in a long time. I have been training for the last year and this camp has been one of my best in a long time,” said Vera. “I have a real trainer in my corner, who has been working with me on my defense and keeping my hands held high and head movement, which are simple things that have gotten away from me since I trained with Ronnie Shields, and it has worked since I am not getting hit as much in sparring.”
Boxing fans might find it difficult to believe that Vera can turn his career around. He is thirty-nine-years-old and before last year, he had lost ten of his last thirteen bouts. Vera has not won a fight that went past the second-round since 2017 and he has not beaten a notable opponent since 2013. Nevertheless, Vera is a fighter that people have consistently bet against, yet he has surprised a lot of them with the amount of success that he has achieved throughout his career, despite starting the sport late at nineteen and not having a long amateur career.
Vera is 4-3 against former world champions. He defeated the winner of season one of The Contender, reality television series Sergio Mora (twice), one-loss NABO middleweight titleholder Serhiy Dzinziruk, in which he was a ten-to-one underdog, and then-undefeated, highly touted prospect Andy Lee, the last two, by knockout. Moreover, even though he lost a unanimous decision to former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in their first bout, it was considered one of the worst decisions in 2013, in which most boxing fans felt that he had clearly won. Vera out-landed Chavez Jr. 176-125 and threw nearly twice as many punches. He also scored an upset technical knockout victory over former world title challenger Sebastien Demers, in his hometown.
Granted, most of Vera’s success happened several years ago, however, he believes that if he had a good trainer in his corner and had been more focused on boxing then many of those losses could have been wins. Therefore, he hired Falco (who has trained former three-time world title challenger Marco Antonio Rubio and Chavez Jr.), who is the best trainer that he has had since he and Shields parted ways, which also coincides with the last time that he obtained significant victories. Vera has also consistently stayed in the gym in between fights so that he can stay in better overall physical, boxing shape. His fiancé has assisted him outside of the ring by keeping him away from the nightlife after he leaves the gym and has helped him to stop drinking. Vera hopes that these healthy lifestyle changes, in and out of the ring, can put him in a good position to end his career on a high note.
“My career has been a rollercoaster ride. I have had a lot of ups and downs. I have done things wrong outside of boxing, by not training as hard, not running, not being as focused as I should be, drinking too much, and losing fights that I should have won,” said Vera. “Then I reinvented myself and trained with Shields, won several big fights, and then I would get too comfortable and repeat my bad habits.”
The orthodox veteran from Austin, Texas, who has won five regional belts throughout his seventeen-year career, got back to his winning ways last year. He won back-to-back fights, both in the first-round, via his signature punch the right hand (to the head). Now, he faces the hard-punching Kendrick “Peppa” Ball Jr. (15-1-2, 11 KOs) in an eight-round main event this Saturday, April 17th. The winner will obtain the vacant World Boxing Council USNBC (U.S) Silver super middleweight title.
“I have seen Ball fight and he is lazy and sits back a lot and that is not the right way to fight me,” said Vera. “Even though he is tall and slick, his style is all wrong for me because I am a pressure fighter and I come forward. I do not see him as much of a threat, but I am preparing for him like he is.”
“Crossroads” is co-promoted by Granite Chin Promotions and Classic Entertainment & Sports from the New England Sports Center in Derry, New Hampshire, as part of a day-night doubleheader (separate admissions), headlined by Vera vs. Ball.
Ball, the twenty-eight-year-old former USA New England middleweight champion from Worcester, Massachusetts, has won six in a row, five by knockout. He is eleven years younger and three inches taller than Vera, however, he will be taking a significant set up in competition, as he has fought mostly journeymen throughout his six-year career.
“I will break him down whether it is early or late and the longer the fight goes, the worst it will be for him,” said Vera. “I am fully prepared for this bout and I feel stronger than I have in the past. Even though I am older than he is, I am more experienced than he is, and I will use that against him.”
Vera knows this is a must-win bout for him in order to obtain bigger and better fights because at his age, he cannot afford another setback. If he loses, he will retire from boxing and focus on his growing business as a fitness trainer.
“If I lose, I will retire. I should not be in this sport anymore if I cannot beat a fighter who has a lot less experience than I am, but I am only focused on winning and nothing else,” said Vera.
If Vera defeats Ball, he wants to box Chavez Jr. (52-5-1, 34 KOs) for a third time. Chavez Jr. will fight former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva on June 19th, in a cruiserweight boxing bout.
“It makes sense for me to fight Chavez again. I feel like we are 1-1,” said Vera. “I won the first bout and the second fight was very close. I believe this fight makes the most sense for me even though it has been a while since we fought one another. I think if we fight again, I will stop him.”
Vera made a name for himself when he participated in the third season of The Contender in 2007, even though he sustained his first professional loss (14-0, 9 KOs to start his career) to the shows’ runner-up and former world title challenger Jaidon Codrington, in the first episode. He scored an eight-round unanimous decision over Max Alexander, in the season finale.
“It was a great experience for me even though it sucked that I lost in the first episode. I made a name for myself and a lot of people who were not boxing fans watched the show because it was popular and many people gave me a lot of attention and I got a lot of sponsors and even though I lost,” said Vera. “People to this day remember me from this show. I was just happy to be a part of it.”
For more information about Vera and the latest updates on his upcoming fight against Ball, friend him on Twitter @BVWARRIOR.
“I got a new trainer who has really upped my game and I am excited to showcase my skills. I plan on stopping Ball and hopefully fight Chavez Jr. in the future,” said Vera. “I do not have a lot of time left in boxing, so I have to get it done now. It is now or never for me. It will be an exciting fight, but I expect to win.”
MAIN EVENT – VACANT WBC USNBC SILVER SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (8)
Kendrick Ball, Jr. (15-1-2, 11 KOs), Worcester, MA 166 ½ lbs.
Bryan “The Warrior” Vera (28-16, 18 KOs), Austin, TX 168 lbs.
CO-FEATIURE –NEW HAMPSHIRE WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (6)
Ryan Dibartolomeo (3-1-1, 1 KO), Champion, Leominster, MA 146 ½ lbs.
Marquis Bates (7-4, 5 KOs), Challenger, Taunton, MA 145 lbs.
VACANT NEW HAMPSHIRE CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (6)
Scott Lampert (1-1, 1 KO), Dover Plains, NY 180 lbs.
Larry Pryor (13-23, 7 KOs), Frederick, MD 190 lbs.
VACANT NEW HAMPSHIRE JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (6)
Francis Hogan (4-0, 4 KOs), Weymouth, MA 153 lbs.
Larry Smith (12-45-2 (8 KOs), Dallas, TX 153 lbs.
Alfredo Trevino (9-8-1, 1 KO), Douglas, AZ 253 lbs.
Justin Rolfe (4-2-1, 3 KOs), Fairfield, ME 263 lbs.
VACANT ABF ATLANTIC JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (8)
Dormedes Potes (12-2-1, 9 KOs), Woburn, MA 153 lbs.
Jahyae Brown (8-0, 7 KOs), Schenectady, NY 151 lbs.