Doug Fischer

Hall of Fame: Chavez earned title of greatest Mexican fighter ever

Chavez continued to defend the 140-pound title he won from Mayweather, including a unanimous decision over three-division titleholder Hector Camacho in September of ‘92 and a fifth-round stoppage of former lightweight beltholder Greg Haugen in front of a record 132,247 fans in Mexico City in February of ‘93.

His unbeaten streak did not end until he dropped a split decision to Frankie Randall in January of ‘94. Chavez was unbeaten in 90 bouts (89-0-1) at the time. The draw came against fellow future hall of famer Pernell Whitaker in a welterweight title bout in September of ‘93.

Most observers believe Chavez’s unbeaten streak should have ended with the Whitaker fight. Even if it had, Chavez’s ledger (87-0) at the time was comparable to the records of Sugar Ray Robinson and Willie Pep when those all-time greats were in their primes.

“Those kind of numbers, to be 87-0 or 89-0, is unfathomable by today’s standards,” said Beyrooty.

Although he regained the WBC 140-pound belt from Randall with an unpopular five-round technical decision, Chavez, who defended that particular belt 17 times over both reigns, never recaptured his pre-Whitaker form.

Chavez’s career was essentially over when he lost his first bout to De La Hoya in June of ‘96, but he fought on for another nine years, coming up short in three final title tries — an eighth-round TKO to De La Hoya in their welterweight rematch, a 12-round draw with Miguel Angel Gonzalez and sixth-round stoppage to Kostya Tszyu.

Chavez’s last fight was in 2005, a fourth-round TKO to journeyman Grover Wiley, who his 20-year-old son easily stopped two years later. He ended his career with a 107-6-2 record that includes 86 knockouts.

Anyone who followed boxing knew that Chavez would be inducted into the hall of fame five years after his final bout, as soon as his name appeared on the voting ballot.

“The people who voted Chavez into the Hall of Fame couldn’t have picked a better fighter from his era,” Castillo said. “Fighters like Julio don’t exist anymore.”

 

Photo by Craig Bennett-Fightwireimages.com

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