Lee Groves

10: Julio Cesar Chavez’s greatest performances

April 19, 1985 — Forum, Inglewood, Calif. — KO 6 Ruben Castillo

Setting the Scene: This was the first defense of Chavez’s WBC super featherweight title and in Castillo he was facing a seasoned veteran who still had many of the talents that made him a perennial contender. Though he boasted 38 knockouts in his 64-4-2 record, Castillo was more boxer than slugger and he used those skills to push Salvador Sanchez, Alexis Arguello and Juan LaPorte to their limits before all three found a way to prevail. Was Chavez the real thing or a passing fad? Though we know the answer now, back then Castillo was to serve as a reliable barometer of Chavez’s potential.

What Happened: Castillo won the first round by flashing his faster hands and more nimble feet but Chavez rebounded in the second behind his meatier counters. The balance of power permanently turned toward the champion in round three as he forced Castillo into heavy exchanges, though the Bakersfield battler defiantly answered every volley Chavez unleashed.

Each man suffered cuts in the fourth — Castillo over the left eye and Chavez over the right orb — but the Mexican’s power provided the final word. Once Chavez maneuvered Castillo toward the ropes in round six he shifted into overdrive and the final act was written. An avalanche of hooks, crosses and body shots caused a hurt and exhausted Castillo to collapse to the canvas. He made it to his knees by eight but the pain prevented him from rising by 10. The end came just four seconds from the end of the round.

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