Mayweather, long known as “the Black Mamba,” had recently earned a new nickname, “The Mexican Assassin,” by knocking out popular Mexican fighters such as Rene Arredondo (for the WBC 140-pound belt), Mauricio Aceves, and Rodolfo Gonzalez at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles.
Chavez was the one Mexican Mayweather couldn’t kill, but the American’s monstrous right hands and left hooks shook the national idol down to his boots, reminding his fans that he wasn’t indestructible.
“The Mayweather rematch was the first time I saw someone expose Chavez a little,” Beyrooty said. “Roger out-boxed him in spots and hurt him with some of his power punches, but Chavez kept coming. He punished his opponents with a persistent accumulation of punches. Mayweather couldn’t get off his stool for the final rounds of that fight.”
Chavez had to work, sometimes very hard as he did in the Mayweather rematch, to earn his victories and continue his amazing win streak. It’s a fact that only endeared him to his fans.
“Chavez was built for the era of 15-round title fights, the true test of a champion,” Beyrooty said. “He was a slow starter. After six or seven rounds, it wasn’t uncommon for him to be down 5-2 or 6-1 in rounds, but he got stronger as the fight progressed.”
That was never more evident than when Chavez attempted to unify 140-pound titles with unbeaten Meldrick Taylor, a gutsy speed demon from Philadelphia who won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games. Many observers, including the broadcasters for HBO, which televised the instant classic in February of 1990, believed Taylor won the first eight rounds with his blazing six- and seven-punch combinations.
However, even as he was getting outworked, Chavez heaped the same brand body and head trauma to Taylor that he administered to Castillo five years ago. Late in the fight, the physical damage began to tell on Taylor, who began to fall apart in the final round. Chavez dropped Taylor in the final seconds of the 12th round and referee Richard Steele infamously waved the contest off just two seconds before the bell.
“That was Chavez,” said Beyrooty. “He’d be losing on points but beating up his opponents, wearing guys down. He wasn’t in his groove until the 10th round. He was made for 15-round fights. He could have fought 20-round bouts.”
“I didn’t like Steele’s stoppage but if there were three more rounds in the Taylor fight, there wouldn’t have been any controversy.”