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Boxing Rivalries Installment 3: Brian Vera vs. Jaidon Codrington.
A Rivalry Settled on A Reality Show.
For fans that enjoy the often entertaining and intriguing story lines that take place beyond sporting events, it's always fun seeing rivalries play out on television. Regardless what the sport may be, there's something about rivalries that for some reason for another raises the stakes during events. The sport of boxing is no different when it comes to the story lines behind rivalries; we just seldom see those stories take place on national television.
Most of the top level fighters in boxing don't fight on national television, which means that the rivalries and antics are often seen by the hardcore fans. Unfortunately, most of the rivalries that exist in boxing happen behind the scenes, and the fans only see them play out through press conferences and interviews. On season 3 of ESPN's 'The Contender' series, we were able to see a rivalry play out right on standard television. The history between fighters Brian Vera and Jaidon Codrington wasn't the main attraction on the show. However, we were able to see what the result of an amateur encounter between the two come to fruition in this contender tournament.
Even though the beef between Vera and Codrington happened on a reality television show, the personal stakes between the two were very real. It appears that fate presented them both with a nontraditional way of settling their differences, and the animosity between the two made for a terrific story line to the show itself. This third installment of 'Boxing Rivalries' will take a look at their fight on The Contender, and update where they both are today.
Brief History of Brian Vera and Jaidon Codrington.
Brian Vera's story through the ranks of boxing could be defined as a classic story of both personal highs, disappointments, and ultimately redemption. Boxing runs through the Mexican-American Vera's blood. Vera's father was a two-time IBA champion in boxing's heavyweight division, and Vera also has a brother that is a professional boxer. As an amateur, Vera was looking to build upon the legacy that his father passed down to he and his brother.
Vera had a fairly short amateur career compared to most fighters. One of the fighters that Vera faced is former IBO Cruiserweight champion and current boxer Johnathon Banks. Vera would lose that fight, and decided to turn pro in 2004. He finished with an amateur record of 36-4. As a pro Vera amassed a 16-0 record before being chosen to compete on ESPN's 'The Contender' boxing series. It was then that we learned that he faced another combatant featured on The Contender named Jaidon Codrington during the amateurs.
Jaidon 'The Don' Codrington, a native of Bridgeport Connecticut had a very impressive amateur career before making his professional debut in 2004. Codrington's most notable highlight in the amateurs was winning the 2002 National Golden Gloves Middleweight Championship. Sometime during that stellar amateur career, Codrington crossed paths with Texas native Brian Vera. Codrington defeated Vera, but that would only turn out to be the beginning of their paths crossing.
Before entering The Contender competition, Codrington was 16-1 as a professional. When Codrington turned pro in 2004, he ran off a fairly impressive streak of victories that consisted mainly of knockouts. However, Codrington's train was derailed when he ran into Allan Green in 2005. Green knocked Codrington out only 18 seconds into the bout. The brutal K.O. knocked Codrington through the ropes, and left him unconscious in the ring. Codrington would recover from the loss, and claim victories against lesser opponents before being chosen to be on The Contender boxing tournament on ESPN. This is where he would meet up again with a guy he defeated in the amateurs, who was seeking revenge against him, Brian Vera.
On 'The Contender'.
Season three of 'The Contender' would be the staging ground for Vera vs. Codrington grudge match. It provided the perfect opportunity for them to settle their rivalry that began in the amateurs. Vera was chosen to be on the show's Blue Team, while Codrington was a member of the show's Gold Team. Because of Codrington's polished and impressive amateur background, he was one of the more feared fighters on the show. Episode 2 of this season would be where things would come to a heated head between the two rivals.
During a conversation among members of the Blue Team, Vera revealed to his team mates that Codrington defeated him in the amateurs, and that he would call Codrington out if given the opportunity. Things were still new at the show, and the fighters weren't entirely sure how the order of the fights would be determined. Max Alexander - a member of the Blue Team, was looking to stir the pot in the house a little. After hearing Vera mention Codrington, Alexander went back to Codrington with news of what Vera said. Codrington, obviously feeling disrespected upon hearing of Vera talking about wanting to fight him, confronted Vera in front of the other fighters. This is when all hell broke loose.
Codrington went into Vera's room and called him out in front of the other fighters. Vera responded by getting into Codrington's face, and the two engaged in a heated argument. The argument was so tense that it would lead to both fighters having to be separated by the other fighters on the show. Each respective team had to choose a fighter to step up for the first fight of the tournament. To no surprise, both Brian Vera and Jaidon Codrington stepped up. The heated exchange in the house carried over into their face off. The grudge match was now on.
Brian Vera vs. Jaidon Codrington (The Grudge Match).
Emotions obviously played a huge factor in these two stepping up so early in the tournament to settle their differences. However, most trainers and fighters agree that emotions are something that a boxer must leave out of the ring, especially in a competition like 'The Contender', where strategy plays a big part in how far a fighter can go. There was so much at stake for these two in this fight. Brian Vera most likely came into the bout looking for redemption, while Codrington was looking to prove that his loss to Allan Green was a fluke. Codrington also wanted to prove who was better between he and Vera once and for all.
Despite the personal vendetta among the two, the pressure of winning to advance in the tournament was key as well. Winning season three of The Contender could help open doors for the careers of both fighters. Being that this fight was shown on a television show, the fight itself was edited for time constraints. Also, since the fight took place in the first round of the tournament, it was only a five round bout. This meant that there wouldn't be a lot of time like there is in a standard 10 or 12 round bout.
When the fight started, Brian Vera came out guns blazing. Vera's style was more of a puncher/slugger, while Codrington's style was more of a natural boxer. Between the two of them, Codrington was easily the more technically skilled fighter, however, Vera's determination and punching power made him a force to be reckoned with. Vera came out in round one and landed some solid blows on Codrington's suspect chin. Codrington took the punches well, and returned his share of blows to Vera.
In round 2, Codrington landed a left hook that staggered Vera, leaving his legs wobbly. Codrington, seeing that Vera was hurt, landed a right hand that sent Vera to the canvas and through the ropes. The tough Vera showed a lot of heart and got up off the canvas to beat the count, but was clearly still hurt from the knockdown. At this point, Codrington went in for the kill, and landed several combinations to send Vera into the ropes once again. This time referee Pat Russell had seen enough, and stopped the fight, and Codrington was awarded a second round TKO victory over Vera, and now defeated Vera for the second time.
Aftermath, and Outcome of Their Respective Careers.
With the victory over Brian Vera, Jaidon Codrington not only defeated Vera for the second time, but he also made himself the favorite to win 'The Contender' tournament. Codrington's impressive win proved that he was the more superior fighter among he and Vera. With the loss, Brian Vera was booted from the tournament, and was the first fighter to be eliminated.
Vera's emotions seemed to be his downfall in this fight. He appeared to be so fired up to beat Codrington that he became careless, and ultimately fought a reckless fight. This was just another example of how a fighter must be able to contain his emotions during the heat of the battle. Despite the rivalry and harsh words traded between Codrington and Vera, both fighters walked away from the bout with a newly gained respect for one another. This was made evident in their post fight interviews.
If the rivalry between Brian Vera and Jaidon Codrington was the battle, Codrington won clearly. However, Vera may have ultimately walked away winning the war. Codrington would go onto The Contender championship final to face Sakio Bika, but would lose the bout by TKO. The fight was exciting, but Codrington never appeared to be quite the same following that bout. Codrington's father passed away during the tournament, and that may have indeed played a part in his loss his desire to fight after not winning the tournament. Since his fight with Bika, Codrington has only fought four times, and was knocked out in his last fight, which took place in April of 2012. Codrington is now a police officer, and appears to have retired from boxing.
Brian Vera on the other hand has continued to press forward in his career. Vera scored a victory in 2008 over Andy Lee, and defeated The Contender season one champion Sergio Mora twice. Vera recently defeated Serhiy Dzinziruk, and now has a big fight lined up against Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. Vera's resilience currently seems to be paying off for him. I think it's a prime example of how one fighter may be better skilled than another fighter, but it's the fighter that continues to get up after being knocked down that continues to be presented with opportunities.