Former World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight champion and Son of the Legend JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR., (46-1-1, 32 KOs), of Culiacán, México, makes his 2013 debut in his first fight in the Los Angeles area in over two years. He will go mano a mano against No. 1 contender BRYAN VERA 23-6, 14 KOs), of Austin, TX, who is riding a 16-month, four-bout winning streak, This Saturday! September 28, under the stars, at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Chávez vs. Vera will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing®, beginning at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT.
BOB ARUM: It’s nice to be on this call and it will be good to see Julio César Chávez Jr. get back into the ring after an absence of a little over a year. Julio has a great fan base and everyone is anxious to see him perform at the StubHub Center on Saturday. We have a full card o nine bouts with some great prospects including Óscar Valdez, Jose Ramírez and Diego Magdaleno. It should be a really fun night. Now we can hear from Fernando Beltran on his feelings about the event.
FERNANDO BELTRAN: Hi everybody. I think it is going to be a very exciting night of boxing. Julio César Chávez will be back, which is very important, after almost a year absence. He is very hungry and is coming with everything for this bout, including Daniel Sandoval who is a knockout artist. It’s going to be a great night and we are going to have a packed house.
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: It has been a real good training camp. I have been training real hard for this fight for the past three months. I am excited to get back in the ring and am very happy to get back in the ring.
Can you confirm what the official weight will be for the fight?
BOB ARUM: We will take a look at what the fighters weigh tomorrow and then we will decide what the weight will be. There is ne determination on that. I know what Julio Sr. said but I know that he misspoke when he said it.
How do you feel about coming back after your first loss?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: It is very important to me. I am coming off a loss and I want to show everyone what I am capable of doing. I worked real hard and I am looking forward to getting in the ring to show everyone that I am back. Of course I want to regain the position where I was before the loss against Martinez.
There is a lot of talk about your present weight. Are you having trouble?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: I think it is time for me to move up to 168. That is the goal we have been working on for this fight. We want to do the best that we can to get near that weight. I just felt that at 160 my health was not going to be good. Health-wise I think that 168 is good for me and I would like to continue my career at 168. This is not a championship fight but I will be close to 168 for this fight.
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: The only way I will go to 160 is to fight Martinez again. That fight is so big that it would be worth the sacrifice to make.
How much do you weigh now and how much will you weigh tomorrow?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: I weigh 173 right now.
Julio, how do you feel about the talk about your training habits?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: People have to realize how hard I trained for this fight. It wasn’t easy making 160 but yet I became a champion at 160. I had four title defenses at 160, came within a couple seconds of knocking out the best 160-punder in the world. So you can’t say I wasn’t ready to fight in those fights. I made the weight and I showed everyone what I am capable of doing. I don’t think people realized how hard it was to make 160 and how much I had to sacrifice to make 160.
Bob do you think this reputation is warranted?
BOB ARUM: It is very difficult when a young man starts at the age that he did. He had a completely different body than the body that he has now. Now he has matured and he is a big, big kid. There are light heavyweights that look smaller than he does. We have to question ourselves whether he stayed at 160 too long even though he was able to make the weight because I really believe that if you struggle to make weight that you deplete yourself and you can’t give as good a performance than if you fight at a more natural weight. Julio is a big man and for him to get down to 160, he might still do it, but it would be a tremendous sacrifice for his health and his ability to perform in the ring. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist but I have been around the sport for a long time and that’s what I see.
Looking back, how do you feel about the suspension and smoking?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: You know, you make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. It happens, I am human. I thought it was excessive what I got but it comes with the territory. I need to show everyone what I am capable of doing. On Saturday night I want to give a great performance. I am really looking forward to erasing all of those bad memories that I had.
BOB ARUM: I want to go on record that there is nothing wrong with smoking pot. There is nothing wrong with Marijuana. Any sentence for an athlete that has smoked marijuana other than smoking while he is in the ring is unconscionable and wrong and now even WADA has said the same thing. Let’s be honest. There is nothing wrong with pot and it absolutely cannot be beneficial. I know what Julio said about doing wrong but I don’t think he did anything wrong by taking Marijuana two weeks prior to his fight with Martinez
BOB ARUM: The rules have changed and there is a doctrine that states that if the rules have changed it applies retroactively. So it was unfortunate. Those were the rules of the commission but those rules were preposterous and have now been changed and it should be specified.
Julio, what would you like to accomplish next in boxing?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: I am looking to win a world title at 168, something that no other Méxican has done. That is one of my goals and maybe move up to light heavy to win a title there. But all I’m thinking about now is how I look on Saturday and then I will think about what’s next. I know I am going to repeat myself, but I would sacrifice everything to make 160 because I do want that fight.
How is it working with your dad as head trainer?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: The most important thing is he is going to work my corner. He has always been in my training camps – supervising it and looking over what I am doing. But the key to all of this is he is going to be in the corner giving instructions. Before he would come up yelling and screaming and no one would know what is going one. He was doing it unprofessionally and now he is doing it professionally. He is now going to be in the corner giving me instructions and that is going to be very important.
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: My main trainer for this fight is Baldomir Valdinegro – he has worked with me for nine years and has always been in my corner and is the one in charge of the boxing aspect of this operation. And my strength trainer is the one that put me at 158 for my last couple fights at 160 and has worked real hard on my conditioning and meals. He is going to have me make the weight and do it the right way.
Has Sr. been in camp on a daily basis?
JULIO CEÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: He is in camp at least three days a week.
Have you spoken to Vera’s camp regarding weight?
BOB ARUM: To be frank, I have talked to Vera’s promoter Artie Pelullo and I will be having breakfast with him tomorrow morning in Los Angeles at the Biltmore hotel to discuss it. Artie is a professional promoter and we always seem to find a solution.
Will you be working with Robert Garcia for your next fight?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: I need to see how I do with this fight. The guys have been working real hard in this camp and I have to see how I look and how I feel. I am not saying ‘no’ to Robert Garcia or Freddie Roach. I just want to see what comes up next and we’ll go from there.
How is the cut you recently got in sparring?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: The cut is going very good. I suspended one week of sparring. I continued to train, never stopping and I am ready to fight.
BOB ARUM: I think Julio is an enormous talent and has always performed at a very high level. I am proud of his performances and even in the Martinez fight whereas throughout the fight Martinez was getting the best of him, Chávez didn’t quit and he almost pulled out the fight miraculously in the last round. I never doubt Julio’s performances. He is a great athlete and he always gives 100% in the ring.
I am proud of the way he fights. I am proud of the way he entertains the crowd and I think the adulation of the Méxican fans for Chávez Jr. is very well justified.
Julio’s father was great champion; Julio Jr. had no amateur background and became champion. How do you think he has handled that and should he be given credit for that?
BOB ARUM: I think he should get enormous credit. We all know about athletes whose fathers were world famous and how difficult it is for them to excel in the same sport. But I think he has carried himself well and become his own person. He isn’t a carbon copy of his father’s own style. He has his own style. And I think he has done very well. Boxing is a very tough sport and the fighters that succeed the most are the ones that come from impoverished backgrounds. He didn’t come from an impoverished background because of who is father was. He has dug deep and I am very proud of what he has done in the ring.
What damage was done to Jr. in the Martinez fight?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: After that fight, I didn’t have to go to the hospital – I wasn’t cut. There was nothing other than some scratches or bruises that you would normally get after being in a fight for 12 rounds. Other than that, I was fine and my body was fine. I never had to go to the hospital or anything else. I went to a nightclub right after the fight so you know I wasn’t hurt. Any reports to the contrary are totally false. I was fine. I could have gone another 12 rounds if I needed to. I don’t think he could have but I know I could have.
How comfortable will you feel with who will be in your corner?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: The important thing, I know those guys and I have been around those guys. Baldomir has been with me for nine years and my father knows him very well. Cornejo has been with me the last four years and my father knows him very well. The key is that my father is going to be in the corner. He is going to look professional – no more screaming and yelling and running up and making me lose my focus. I think it is going to be great for all of us.
How do you reflect on the long year away from the ring and all the changes?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: There has been a lot of changes in my life. I am coming off a loss and coming off a suspension. There have been a lot of things that happened in my career and my personal life. My girlfriend is pregnant and I am going to be a father for the first time. I think it has been a blessing that I have been able to concentrate on my personal life. I wasn’t ready to fight so this makes it great and I am ready to get back into the ring and concentrate on my professional life once again.
Do you know the baby’s sex? How do you feel about being a father?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: It is a girl. It will be a new life for me. I am very happy and excited all the time. My girlfriend and I will have a baby in January and it changes a lot of things in your mind. Everyone knows how special a bond is with your daughter and I am looking forward to it.
BOB ARUM: Tickets are going very well at StubHub Center. I think there are less than 500 left. We may have to open the outer reaches of the stadium to accommodate more people. It’s going to be a great night of boxing. to watch Julio and Vera battle it out. We have a great middleweight fight with Matt Korobov vs. Grady Brewer. I want to thank HBO for airing the event and I want to thank Tecate for sponsoring who has been there for and been a great partner in our events.
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: I want to thank everyone that is involved – Tecate, Top Rank, HBO. I am very happy and excited to get back in the ring and I want to give the fans a great fight which is what I always try to do.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Zanfer Promotions, Banner Promotions and Tecate, remaining tickets to Chávez vs. Vera, priced at $200, $100, $50 and $20 (plus applicable taxes and fees), can be purchased online at http://www.axs.com, by telephone at (888) 929-7849 or at the StubHub Center box office, Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Suites are available by calling (877) 604-8777. For information on group discounts, please call (877) 234-8425.