Thursday, January 15, 2009

Julio Cesar Chavez

All Photos Courtesy of Frank Baltazar Sr.

By Randy De La O

Whenever Julio Cesar Chavez was fighting it was always a big deal at our house. At his peak he was heads and shoulders above the rest. The left hook to the body was his bread and butter but he was the total package. It wasn't that he did everything spectacular, he just did it damned good, but putting it all together was the key for Chavez. He wasn't particularly fast but he had quick reflexes. On top of that he had a cast iron chin and an indomitable will. That's what made him great and unbeatable, at least while he was in his prime.

Two of the most satisfying wins (for me) came against Roger Mayweather, the self proclaimed "Mexican Assassin". The first fight, in 1985, ended by a 2nd round knockout of Mayweather, the second fight, four years later in 1989 ended in the 10th round of a 12 round bout.

The fight, at least in my perception that separated him from the rest of the pack was the Edwin Rosario fight. He showed exceptional patience in breaking down Rosario, round by round. He just kept getting stronger. It was a great fight.

I don't think anyone ever looked so regal in victory as Chavez. No loud boasts, graceful words for his opponents, and the manner in which he carried himself. He opened up the 1990's with a come from behind stoppage of Meldrick Taylor. Referee Richard Steele stopped the fight with just 5 seconds left on the clock, after Taylor suffered a knockdown, and in my opinion, a brutal beating by Chavez. Taylor was never the same after this fight and was stopped by Chavez in their second fight in in 1994, in the 8th round of a 12 round fight.

In the 1990's despite that spectacular win against Taylor, and victories against Greg Haugen, Hector Camacho and Terrence Alli, by 1993 Chavez' was beginning to slip. He fought to a controversial draw against Pernell Whitaker and in January of 1994 he lost a split decision to Frankie Randall. They would fight two more times, splitting the wins.

In 1996 Chavez fought a young Oscar De La Hoya. The fight was stopped in the 4th round with De La Hoya getting the win. His last fight was with Grover Wiley on September 17, 2005 in Phoenix, Arizona. Chavez was unable to come out for the fifth round. Chavez fought a total of 115 fights, he won 107 of those fights, 86 by KO, he lost six fights and had 4 draws. Chavez was a remarkable fighter and he had a great career. He remains one of my all time favorites. To steal a line from my all time favorite, Roberto Duran, "When Chavez was Chavez!"

Julio Cesar Chavez vs Edwin "Chapo" Rosario
Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas
November 21, 1987

Was Chavez great that night or what? I give all the credit in the world to Rosario, who was a damned good fighter himself. He held on as long as he could but those body shots just wore him down. Rosario, who was normally low key and reserved before a fight was uncharacteristically loud and boastful before the Chavez fight. In my opinion when someone is out of character before a fight there is usually something wrong, lack of preparation, or confidence. Great win for Chavez. A year or so earlier Rosario, more in Character lost a 12 round split decision to Hector Camacho in a fight that I thought Rosario clearly won.

Julio Cesar Chavez vs Terrence Alli
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas
May 8, 1993

Julio Cesar Chavez vs Rodolfo Aguilar
Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas
April 18, 1988


Anonymous said...

great read. Chavez was the man

Aleyda2010 said...

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ponyboy said...

Very good post, all I can say is that Chavez was true champion. Everytime I saw him fight he always kept coming forward never a step back. His style of fighting was truly remarkable, never seem to tire. Always started with his legendary body attack in the early rounds and then to the head, fighters would seem to crumble as if he was chopping down a tree. I believe that when he decided to retire it was not due to his age but just simply was overworked. There won't be anyone like him for a long, long time. Thanks for the memories!!

Antonio Santiago said...

Randy De La O is a fantastic writer! The best among Mexican-American writers that I know of! Keep up the good work, Randy!

Randy De La O said...

Thank you Antonio Santiago, Good to hear from you. I was wondering what happened to you. It's been a while!

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