Lee Groves

10: Julio Cesar Chavez’s greatest performances

September 12, 1992 — Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas — W 12 Hector Camacho

Setting the Scene: This was a match that probably should have been made during Camacho’s brief reign as WBC lightweight champ between 1985-86 but for the powers-that-be it was better late than never. Camacho was three fights removed from his only loss to date, a split decision to Greg Haugen 19 months earlier, while the 81-0 Chavez was still at the top of his form and maintaining an ambitious fight schedule. Just 42 days previously he destroyed Frankie Mitchell in four to register his eighth defense of the WBC super lightweight title.

For both men and their fans this was a rivalry fight. Not only was Chavez-Camacho a continuation of the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico feud, it also pitted the regal, stoic Chavez against the charismatic, cocky Camacho. Each had a healthy respect for the other but they also wanted to stake their claim as the better fighter — and the better man.

What Happened: A melee that broke out during Chavez’s ring walk did nothing to disturb his flawless execution this night. He conducted a master class on how to fight a southpaw — straight rights down the middle, hooks to the body, precise combinations and relentless pressure. Camacho’s moments of success were spurious at best but his enormous pride and underrated toughness kept him upright through all the punishment Chavez dished out. Camacho’s once-handsome face was a mass of swellings by the time Chavez finished his work. Dalby Shirley generously gave Camacho three rounds while Carol Castellano (119-110) and Harry Gibbs (120-107) submitted more reflective scorecards.

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