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By Simon Harrison
We all know boxing is great, and one of the reasons is, it is as a sport totally unique. And for all the massive advantages this ‘uniqueness’ gives the sport, there are some draw backs. One of the saddest is we often see our heroes of yesteryear destroyed in front of us. Saturday night in Mexico, hopefully the last ring appearance of Julio Cesar Chavez occurred. And as ‘last ring appearance’ go, it wasn’t a total humiliation, as Chavez won a points decision. It was of course helped that his opponent was former foe and equally ancient and shot Frankie Randall. But let’s not dwell on this; let’s look back in fondness at the great Mexicans legacy.
JCC is the Greatest Mexican boxer, ever, Period. That was confirmed to us with the amazing events of St Patrick’s night 1990, when JCC kept his amazing unbeaten run going, with the ultimate come from behind victory, when he beat Meldrick Taylor with 2 seconds left in the 12th. In a fight that Chavez was losing; two seconds away from dropping a split decision.
Chavez began his career on February 15 1980, with a sixth round victory over one Andres Felix. JCC was soon racking up the wins in an unbeaten run. Then on April 3 1981, JCC was disqualified for hitting Miguel Ruiz, whilst Ruiz was on the floor. The following day Chavez’s manager got the decision over turned, and the fight to this day goes down as a first round KO victory to Chavez.
Chavez by 1984 was 43-0 and in a position to challenge Mario Martinez for the vacant WBC 130 title. Martinez on the strength of a victory over Rolando Naverette was favoured over the unproven Chavez. But Chavez passed the test stopping Martinez in 8.
In July 1985, Chavez made his second defence of his crown against the favoured American Roger Mayweather. But in his second most brutal performance, Chavez proved he was one of boxing's best, when he annihilated Mayweather in 2.
Tough decision wins of Juan Laporte and Rocky Lockridge followed as JCC finished his 130 reign with 9 successful defences and a record that had grown to 56-0. JCC decided to step up to 135 and his toughest challenge yet against the primed murderous punching Puerto Rican Edwin Rosario. Chavez produced the finest performance of his career that November 1987 night, as he totally brutalized the brave Rosario winning in 11 one sided rounds.
After an easy defence, Chavez beat former stable mate, and good friend Jose Luis Ramirez on a technical decision in 11, to become recognized as the universal 135 World Champ.
Chavez then stepped up to 140, and in May 1989, he met the champion, former foe, Mayweather. Although Chavez won in 10, the signs were there, that he wasn’t quite the fighter he was at his peak
After a couple of easy defences; one against Alberto Cortes, in a fight, that
saw Chavez and Cortes enter the ring with a combined 111-0 record!!!!! (Chavez
67-0), the scene was set, for the amazing events of March 17 1990; perhaps the
highlight of Chavez’s career. After Taylor, Chavez’s career sort
of lacked direction. There was no real superfights for the next couple of years,
until Chavez pasted the then only once beaten Camacho in 12 very one sided rounds.
February 20 1993, and Chavez went back to Mexico to fight in front of 127,000+ fans, in the legendary Azteca Stadium. His victim that night was Greg Haugan; a man brave/stupid enough to suggest that Chavez’s then 84-0 record, was built mainly on ‘Tijuana taxi drivers’ and to walk out to ‘Born in the USA’. Five rounds later and slaughter was finished and Haugan was forced to concede in a post fight press conference that Chavez’s opponents must have been 'Tough Tijuana taxi drivers!!’
Chavez got his record up to 87-0 when he challenged in September 93 147 king Pernell Whitaker. Chavez should have lost his ‘0’ that night, but kept it gaining an underserved draw. But lets be honest that ‘0-1’, that followed his 87 victories sure looked ugly.
Chavez put together a couple more 140 title defences before in January 94, Frankie Randall gained the glory that should have been Whitakers as he won split (should have been very unanimous) decision, adding insult to injury by flooring JCC for the first time as well, in round 11.
Chavez came back in May 94 to gain a technical decision win over Randall in 8, again though many thought Randall was winning. A rematch, 4 years too late with Taylor followed, Chavez winning easily in 8. He followed this up with 18 months of easy defences over the likes of David Kamau and Tony ‘The Tiger’ Lopez. Before in June 96, he met De La Hoya. Preparing for the fight, Chavez was cut in sparring; a fact he chose not to tell promoters in what was now nothing more than a well paid fight, in Chavez’s eyes. And literally with the first punch landed Chavez was busted open, and the farce was stopped in 4, handing Chavez his second official defeat.
In March 98, Chavez challenged Miguel Angel Gonzales for his old 140 crown; that DLH had now vacated. Chavez gave perhaps his best performance for four years, but could only gain a draw with his fellow Mexican.
But the performance was good enough for him to earn a rematch with DLH at 147 in September of 98. Chavez showed great pride, standing toe to toe with his younger foe, before DLHs greater strength told, and Chavez retired on his stool at the end of the eighth.
In September 1999, Chavez dropped a decision to crafty journeyman Willy Wise. Such was Chavez’s legacy to the sport, that even though Chavez was completely spent, The Ring still considered this the ‘Biggest upset’ of the year.
Chavez in 2000 was fighting for money and Challenged Kostya Tszyu for his 140 crown. Another stoppage defeat was the inevitable result, this time in six.
A 2003 ‘revenge’ victory over Wise and Saturdays fight, hopefully end the Great career of Chavez with a final 106-5-2(86) record. Thanks for the great memories, Senor Chavez, the boxing world salutes you, just don’t come back to fight in the ring again!
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