Story and photos by Boxing Bob Newman
This week’s edition of the ESPN2 Friday Night Fights is headlined by the relatively quick return of Brian Vera. Nine weeks after dispatching former WBO Jr. Middleweight champ Serhiy Dzinziruk in dominant fashion via a three-knckdown, tenth round TKO, Vera returns to the friendly confines of Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York to take on little known, Lithuanian-born, Chicago-based Donatas Bondorovas. Vera is 1-1 at the Upstate, New York venue- losing a hard fought majority decision to then 16-0 house fighter Isaac Rodrigues back in February of 2010 before returning to vanquish Dinziruk this past January 25th. The Austin, Texas resident took time out after his last sparring session this past weekend to talk to Fightnews about his upcoming fight and opponent, being without his head trainer for the second straight fight and his title aspirations and more…
Your last fight was exactly two months ago against Serhiy Dzinziruk on ESPN here at Turning Stone Casino. You haven’t had a fight two months after your last one since 2007. Do you prefer a close timeline between fights?
Normally I’d like that rather than taking time off. I think it’s a good thing.
How has the cut over your left eye healed since then?
It wasn’t even that bad! I didn’t even get stitches! It was more of an outside cut, like a deep scratch so it wasn’t as bad as it looked during the fight.
How soon after the cut did you get back into sparring?
I probably sparred about two-and-a-half weeks after I got back. I went to camp in Houston and we were sparring three times a day during the week.
You’re without your head trainer Ronnie Shields again. How do you feel about that?
It’s o.k. I understand what’s going on with “La Bomba” (Edwin Rodriguez) in Monte Carlo. We had a good camp though in Houston. He’s staying in touch with my manager Dave (Watson). We have a good game plan so I’m not really worried about it.
It seems like the two best opponents Bondorovas has faced, (Willie Fortune and Domonique Dolton) beat him on close decisions. What do you know about him?
I mean, we don’t know much. Um, Ronnie looked over some tape. He’s kind of a scrappy guy. He’s not a big puncher but, he seems like he’s in good shape. I’m not a very big guy either so…I’ll have to impose my power and will and strength on him…and get him outta there.
Being a Texan, are you comfortable coming back up to the cold confines of upstate, New York?
It shouldn’t be as cold as it was last time. Last time it was pretty ridiculous! It’s o.k. man, I don’t even go outside when I get there so it’s not a problem. (For the record, it was a frigid 16°F for Vera-Dzinziruk. The forecast for this Friday will be a balmy 37°F with snow flurries).
Before your fight with Dzinziruk, promoter Artie Pelullo said the winner would get a shot at WBA champ Gennady Golovkin. I asked you at the post fight press conference if you would push for that since you were brought in as an opponent for the ex-champ Dzinziruk and you won. You said you would. Now you’re fighting an unknown opponent. Are you up for this guy?
Ronnie and I were working on things anyway. It’s not like we have to change a game plan for another fighter so I think it should be a good fight.
You’ve had several television fights which have put you in the consciousness of the American viewing public. You’ve beaten two former world champions (Dzinziruk via KO and Sergio Mora twice by decision). If you get by Bondorovas, do you feel your crowd pleasing style and strength of schedule will prevent you from being over looked again for a title shot?
I don’t think so. They’re talking about Chavez Jr. or the Golovkin fight for June, so I just gotta take care of business on Friday. I know one of those fights are gonna happen so that’s it man.
You’re #1 ranked under WBO champion Peter Quillin. Would you prefer one champion over another? If you get a mandatory shot against him would you like to push for that?
Yeah I would like to push for that if I don’t get the other ones. It’s all the same to me. The belts- I’ll fight for any one of them. The Chavez Jr. fight wouldn’t be for a belt but, he’s a bigger name, so it would probably be for more money. We gotta look at it as a business too so we’ll see what happens.
So Chavez Jr. is one of the names being mentioned for June?
Yeah, either him or Matthew Macklin too. We still gotta take care of business on Friday so we don’t want to discuss it too much.
Do you have a message for fans of Friday Night Fights who’ll be tuning in this week?
Yeah, same thing as always. I’m in great shape, ready to fight. He looks like he’s in good shape. I don’t think it’s gonna last too long, but if it does, he’s in for a long night. The fans are in for a great fight!