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Julio Cesar Chavez: A Retrospective
(May 28, 2004) 
Julio Ceasar Chavez
Last Saturday night, with little fanfare, the great Julio Cesar Chavez stepped into the ring presumably for the final time in his career. Across the ring from him that night was old nemesis Frankie “The Surgeon” Randall, the man who put the first official loss on Chavez’s record, ending J.C. Superstar’s remarkable run of 90 consecutive fights without a loss. “Old nemesis” of course, has a double meaning. They are rivals due to their past, but at 42 years old, Randall is indeed old. Chavez, less than two months away from his 42nd birthday, is no spring chicken. Chavez came away with a unanimous decision in a fight that was more about which fighter had slipped further than it was about who had more left.

This is not the way Chavez will be remembered, going on long past his prime, beating up journeymen and other has-beens and never-weres in who-cares fights. Nor will he be remembered for the beatings he took at the hands of fighters who were on their way to the top. If he were, fighters like Evander Holyfield, Roberto Duran, and Larry Holmes would be afterthoughts and would not hold nearly as high a position in boxing history as they do. The Chavez we will remember is a killer, a cold-blooded assassin in the ring and one of the greatest body punchers the sport has ever seen. He was a man without peer in his day as champ, and only age and its concomitant effect of slowed reflexes could bring him to defeat. No wonder he is Mexico’s most celebrated boxing hero.

It all began on February 5, 1980 in Culiacan, Mexico, when the man who would be king was just a lad of seventeen years of age. It took Chavez six rounds to dispose of some pug named Andres Felix on that date, but no matter, he was on his way. After seven pro fights, Chavez had 3 knockouts in seven wins, but then knockout upon knockout would come as he fought on a regular basis, back and forth between Tijuana and Culiacan. Finally, on September 13, 1984, with a record of 43-0, Chavez challenged for his first world title, the vacant WBC super featherweight belt. Stopping Mario Martinez in eight rounds, he would go on to defend the title successfully nine times, including big wins over Ruben Castillo, Roger Mayweather, Rocky Lockridge, and Juan LaPorte.

Chavez was a throwback fighter. That term is thrown about quite a bit these days in search of a fighter who actually fits the description, but in Chavez’s case it went without saying, and not only because of the way he fought. He was a great bodypuncher as mentioned and would break opponents down with those wicked shots. But he was also one of the last champions to take non-title fights on a regular basis, a practice that was once routine. James Toney used to do it about ten years ago, but can anyone imagine a big name fighter today risking his marketability by taking two and sometimes three non-title fights between championship defenses? This is just one of many reasons to admire Chavez and the era that he represents.

On November 21, 1980, Chavez stepped up in weight to challenge the now-deceased Edwin “Chapo” Rosario for the WBA lightweight title. Rosario was a great fighter in his own right, but on that autumn night in Las Vegas he was no match for Chavez and went down to defeat in eleven rounds. Fight by fight, Chavez’s legacy and undefeated record were growing and he was becoming a figure of almost mythic proportions, especially in Mexico. He stopped Roger Mayweather for a second time in 1989, and later that year stepped up in weight yet again to fight for the WBC light welterweight championship.

Chavez defeated Sammy Fuentes for the belt with another 11th round stoppage, and it was this title that Chavez would be most identified with. Overall, he defended it successfully 16 times over the course of two reigns. Along the way there was the infamous first fight with Meldrick Taylor on St. Patrick’s Day in 1990, but there is no need to rehash that. Everyone knows what happened, and even though Chavez may have caught a break, it only served to enhance his growing popularity. Vicious beatings were dished out to Hector Camacho and Greg Haugen, and Chavez was particularly vengeful in his fight against Haugen, who said before the fight that Chavez only fought “Tijuana cab drivers.” By this time, Chavez was carrying the sport of boxing (and Don King) on his shoulders in the absence of Mike Tyson, who was incarcerated for rape.

Moving up to challenge Pernell Whitaker in September 1993 for the WBC welterweight belt, Chavez was picked by many to break down “Sweet Pea” as he had done to so many fighters before. Everyone will “remember the Alamo(dome)” that night, for it was a date when one of the worst decisions in boxing history was rendered, a draw that almost everyone will tell you should have gone Whitaker’s way. Chavez’ most faithful supporters will tell you otherwise, but those who are honest with themselves will admit that Chavez should have left the ring that night with the first loss on his record in 88 fights.

Given the Taylor and Whitaker fights, it should have been pretty clear that the best of Chavez’ fighting days were over. Although he still had plenty left in the tank, that point was driven home by Randall in January 1994 in the first of their three fights. Randall dropped Chavez for the first time in his career and captured a split decision. Chavez’ unbeaten streak was officially gone, but he took back the title in a rematch with a technical decision win. Then came a rematch against an obviously shot Meldrick Taylor, which Chavez won by knockout, followed by a few more title defenses which will probably be forgotten when Chavez is remembered five years down the road in Canastota.

For the record, Chavez would have four more “big” fights; a title-losing effort against Oscar De La Hoya, a draw against Miguel Angel Gonzalez, another TKO loss to De La Hoya, and a six round demolition by Kostya Tszyu. In between there was a surprise upset loss to journeyman Willie Wise, who Chavez defeated in a rematch six months ago. For historical purposes, however, the career of one of boxing’s all time-greats was essentially over in 1996. He finishes at 106 wins, 5 losses and 2 draws, with 86 knockouts, and titles won in three weight classes. Ironically, his last win comes against the man who handed him his first loss.

Chavez may have ended his career on a low note in terms of media attention, but it was a career filled with highs. As he fades away from the boxing horizon, he should do so secure in the knowledge that his accomplishments command respect, that he was an unparalleled warrior, and that he and the memories he provided will forever be etched in the hearts of his many fans.

The following is Julio Cesar Chavez’s professional record:

Julio Cesar CHAVEZ
"Julio Cesar Chavez Gonzalez"
(J.C. Superstar)
(Lion of Culiacan)
(140 lbs)

Amateur Record: 15 fights; 14+, 1-

Professional Record: 112 fights; 105+ (90 KO), 2=, 5-
1984-1987: W.B.C. Junior lightweight
1987-1989: World Lightweight
1989-1991: World Junior welterweight
1991-1994: W.B.C. Junior welterweight
1994-1996: W.B.C. Junior welterweight
- 1980 -
+ (Feb-5-1980, Culiacan) Andres Felix ko 6
+ (Mar-3-1980, Culiacan) Fidencio Cebreros ko 4
+ (Apr-8-1980, Navojoa) Ramon Flores ko 3
+ (May-20-1980, Guaymas) Roberto Garcia ko 6
+ (Jul-18-1980, Guamuchil) Tito Geraldo ko 6
+ (Sep-5-1980, Culiacan) Miguel Cebrero 6
+ (Sep-22-1980, Culiacan) Jesus Lara ko 1
+ (Oct-13-1980, Culiacan) Miguel Ruiz ko 1
+ (Nov-26-1980, Culiacan) Andres Felix ko 2
+ (Dec-15-1980, Culiacan) Roberto Flores ko 3
- 1981 -
+ (Feb-2-1981, Tijuana) Julio Gaxiola ko 4
+ (Apr-3-1981, Culiacan) Miguel Ruiz ko 1
+ (May-8-1981, Culiacan) Eduardo Acosta ko 2
+ (Jun-5-1981, Culiacan) Victor Gamez ko 1
+ (Jun-26-1981, Culiacan) Fidel Navarro ko 1
+ (Jul-10-1981, Culiacan) Bobby Dominguez ko 3
+ (Jul-27-1981, Tijuana) Daniel Martinez ko 1
+ (Aug-7-1981, Culiacan) Jesus Lara ko 2
+ (Aug-31-1981, Tijuana) Daniel Felizardo ko 3
+ (Sep-25-1981, Culiacan) Jorge Ramirez ko 2
+ (Dec-17-1981, Culiacan) Manuel Vasquez ko 7
- 1982 -
+ (Jan-12-1982, Tijuana) Ramon Luque ko 1
+ (Jan-29-1982, Guamuchil) Jesus Garcia ko 2
+ (Feb-4-1982, Tijuana) Ramon Peraza ko 1
+ (Feb-19-1982, Culiacan) Carlos Bryant ko 2
+ (Mar-11-1982, Tijuana) Johnny Jensen ko 3
+ (Mar-29-1982, Tijuana) Jose Benjamin Medina ko 6
+ (Apr-26-1982, Tijuana) Benny Abarca 10
+ (May-8-1982, Culiacan) Juan Carlos Alvarado ko 3
+ (Jul-19-1982, Tijuana) Gustavo Salgado ko 2
+ (Aug-20-1982, Culiacan) Santos Rodriguez ko 8
+ (Sep-28-1982, Tijuana) Jose Resendez ko 6
+ (Oct-23-1982, Tijuana) Jerry Lewis ko 5
+ (Dec-11-1982, Sacramento) Jerry Lewis disq.6
- 1983 -
+ (Feb-25-1983, Ensenada) Othoniel Lopez ko 4
+ (Apr-4-1983, Tijuana) Ernesto Herrera ko 2
+ (May-1-1983, San Juan) Javier Fragoso ko 4
+ (Jun-15-1983, Los Angeles) Romeo Sandoval ko 3
+ (Jul-16-1983, Culiacan) Benny Abarca ko 5
+ (Sep-1-1983, Los Angeles) Adriano Arreola 10
+ (Dec-30-1983, Mazatlan) Armando Flores ko 3
- 1984 -
+ (May-4-1984, Culiacan) Ramon Avitia ko 6
+ (Jun-13-1984, Hermosillo) Delfino Mendoza ko 3
+ (Sep-13-1984, Los Angeles) Mario MARTINEZ ko 8 (W.B.C., Junior lightweight)
- 1985 -
+ (Jan-1-1985, Mexico City) Manny Hernandez kot 3
+ (Apr-19-1985, Los Angeles) Ruben CASTILLO ko 6 (W.B.C., Junior lightweight)
+ (Jul-7-1985, Las Vegas) Roger MAYWEATHER kot 2 (W.B.C., Junior lightweight)
+ (Sep-21-1985, Las Vegas) Dwight Pratchett 12 (W.B.C., Junior lightweight)
+ (Dec-19-1985, Los Angeles) Jeff Bumpus disq.5
- 1986 -
+ (Mar-22-1986, Las Vegas) Roberto Lindo ko 2
+ (May-15-1986, Paris) Faustino BARRIOS kot 5 (W.B.C., Junior lightweight)
+ (Jun-13-1986, New York) Refugio Rojas kot 7 (W.B.C., Junior lightweight)
+ (Aug-3-1986, Monte-Carlo) Rocky LOCKRIDGE 12 (W.B.C., Junior lightweight)
+ (Dec-12-1986, New York) Juan LAPORTE 12 (W.B.C., Junior lightweight)
- 1987 -
+ (Apr-18-1987, Nimes) Francisco Tomas DA CRUZ kot 3 (W.B.C., Junior lightweight)
+ (Aug-21-1987, Tijuana) Danilo CABRERA 12 (W.B.C., Junior lightweight)
+ (Nov-21-1987, Las Vegas) Edwin ROSARIO kot 11 (W.B.A., Lightweight)
- 1988 -
+ (Mar-5-1988, Tijuana) Nick Perez kot 3
+ (Apr-16-1988, Las Vegas) Rodolfo AGUILAR kot 6 (W.B.A., Lightweight)
+ (Jun-4-1988, Mazatlan) Rafael LIMON kot 7
+ (Aug-1-1988, Inglewood) Vernon Buchanan kot 3
+ (Oct-29-1988, Las Vegas) Jose Luis RAMIREZ injury 11 (World, Lightweight)
- 1989 -
5.1989: Chavez abandonne le titre pour monter en Super-Legers
+ (May-13-1989, Inglewood) Roger MAYWEATHER retiring 10 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (Jul-30-1989, Atlantic City) Kenny VICE kot 3
+ (Oct-9-1989, Tijuana) Rodolfo Batta ko 1
+ (Oct-27-1989, Mazatlan) Ramon Aramburu kot 3
+ (Nov-18-1989, Las Vegas) Sammy FUENTES injury 11 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (Dec-16-1989, Mexico City) Alberto CORTES kot 3 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
- 1990 -
+ (Mar-17-1990, Las Vegas) Meldrick TAYLOR kot 12 (World, Junior welterweight)
+ (Jul-5-1990, Madrid) Razor Akwei Addo kot 2
+ (Aug-18-1990, Culiacan) Russell MOSLEY ko 3
+ (Nov-9-1990, Mazatlan) Jaime BALBOA kot 4
+ (Dec-8-1990, Atlantic City) Kyung-Duk Ahn retiring 3 (World, Junior welterweight)
- 1991 -
+ (Mar-18-1991, Las Vegas) John DUPLESSIS kot 4 (World, Junior welterweight)
+ (Apr-25-1991, Culiacan) Tommy Small ko 4
.1991: Chavez abandonne la partie I.B.F. de son titre mondial
+ (Sep-14-1991, Las Vegas) Lonnie SMITH 12 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (Nov-11-1991, Mexico City) Jorge Melian kot 4
+ (Dec-15-1991, Hermosillo) Ignacio Perdomo kot 8
- 1992 -
+ (Mar-13-1992, La Paz) Juan SOBERANES ko 4
+ (Apr-10-1992, Naucalpan) Angel Hernandez kot 5 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (Aug-1-1992, Las Vegas) Frank MITCHELL kot 4 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (Sep-12-1992, Las Vegas) Hector CAMACHO Jr 12 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (Oct-31-1992, Culiacan) Bruce Pearson kot 3
+ (Dec-13-1992, Las Vegas) Marty JAKUBOWSKI kot 6
- 1993 -
+ (Feb-20-1993, Mexico City) Greg HAUGEN kot 5 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (Apr-10-1993, Zapopan) Silvio ROJAS kot 3
+ (May-8-1993, Las Vegas) Terrence ALLI kot 6 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
= (Sep-10-1993, San Antonio) Pernell WHITAKER 12 (W.B.C., Welterweight)
+ (Oct-30-1993, Ciudad Juarez) Mike POWELL ko 4
+ (Dec-18-1993, Puebla) Andy HOLLIGAN retiring 6 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
- 1994 -
- (Jan-29-1994, Las Vegas) Frankie RANDALL 12 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (May-7-1994, Las Vegas) Frankie RANDALL injury 8 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (Sep-17-1994, Las Vegas) Meldrick TAYLOR kot 8 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (Dec-10-1994, Monterrey) Tony LOPEZ injury 10 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
- 1995 -
+ (Apr-8-1995, Las Vegas) Giovanni PARISI 12 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (Jul-29-1995, Chicago) Craig HOUCK ko 1
+ (Sep-16-1995, Las Vegas) David KAMAU 12 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
- 1996 -
+ (Feb-9-1996, Las Vegas) Scott Pink Cat WALKER kot 2
- (Jun-7-1996, Las Vegas) Oscar DE LA HOYA injury 4 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
+ (Oct-12-1996, Anaheim) Joey GAMACHE retiring 9
- 1997 -
+ (Mar-29-1997, Las Vegas) Tony MARTIN 10
+ (Jun-28-1997, Las Vegas) Larry LA COURSIERE 10
- 1998 -
= (Mar-7-1998, Mexico City) Miguel Angel GONZALEZ 12 (W.B.C., Juniorwelterweight)
+ (Jun-25-1998, Ledyard) Ken SIGURANI kot 3
- (Sep-18-1998, Las Vegas) Oscar DE LA HOYA retiring 9 (W.B.C., Welterweight)
- 1999 -
+ (Apr-1-1999, El Paso) Verdell SMITH kot 4
+ (Jul-10-1999, Mexicali) Marty JAKUBOWSKI ko 4
- (Oct-2-1999, Las Vegas) Willy WISE 10
+ (Dec-18-1999, Culiacan) Buck SMITH kot 3
- 2000 -
- (Jul-29-2000, Phoenix) Konstantin Tsziu kot 6 (W.B.C., Junior welterweight)
- 2001 -
+ (Nov-24-2001, Ciudad Juarez) Terry THOMAS kot 2
- 2002: inactive -
- 2003 -
+ (Nov-22-2003, Tijuana) Willy WISE injury 2
+(May- 22-2004, Mexico) Frankie Randall 10.
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