Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s struggles with weight have led to his Saturday fight against Brian Vera in Carson to possibly have a catchweight figure assigned.
Promoter Bob Arum said Wednesday that the Chavez-Vera non-title bout at StubHub Center could have a weight limit up to 173 pounds, an increase from the super-middleweight limit of 168 pounds.
“It’s still being discussed based on where Julio is. Everyone wants to get it resolved,” Arum said before the bout’s final news conference Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles.
Coming in heavier would likely mean a payment from Chavez to Vera, who signed a contract stipulating that the bout would be at 168.
Chavez (46-1-1, 32 knockouts) has had past difficulty making the limit of 160 pounds at middleweight, where he was a champion from June 2011 to September 2012, when he lost a unanimous decision to Sergio Martinez.
Chavez was aloof in that training camp, and he separated with trainer Freddie Roach for the Vera fight after testing positive for marijuana following the loss to Martinez and enduring a nine-month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Arum worked to deflect such criticism from Chavez this time.
“He’s worked very hard, but I think with the layoff he was up way past 200 pounds. He’s a big kid, and it’s been hard to come down,” Arum said.
[Update, 1:55 p.m.: Vera would like the fight to remain at 168 pounds.
"I would like him to make 168," Vera said of Chaves. "It's not too respectful, actually."]
Arum said he envisions Chavez fighting at 168 beyond Saturday, with opponents such as former champion Arthur Abraham and current 168-pound world champion Andre Ward on the 2014 schedule.
“I want to see Julio aggressive Saturday, throwing punches to the body, being the crowd-pleasing fighter people love to see,” Arum said. “I want everyone to see he’s back.”
The weight gains, along with promotional battles, indicate Chavez “is growing out of” a possible mega-fight against just-beaten former super-welterweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico, Arum said.
“Everybody wants to see that fight, but we’ll have to wait at least until Canelo moves up to 168,” Arum said.
For now, we need to see if Chavez can even make that number.