Lee Groves

10: Julio Cesar Chavez’s greatest performances

July 7, 1985 — Riviera Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas — KO 2 Roger Mayweather I

Setting the Scene: The first encounter with the “Black Mamba” not only was Chavez’s second defense of the WBC 130-pound belt, it was also his debut on over-the-air network TV in the United States. Mayweather, a onetime WBA junior lightweight beltholder, was a worthy opponent that possessed excellent boxing skills, an extraordinarily long reach, formidable hand speed and one of the most dangerous right crosses the division had ever seen. One of those rights spectacularly splattered Kenny Baysmore in his most recent outing two months before. Unfortunately for Mayweather he also possessed an Achilles chin, something Rocky Lockridge exposed 15 months earlier when he blew out the Mamba in 91 seconds. Therefore, Chavez — with his 38 knockouts in 44 fights — entered the fray a sizable favorite.

What Happened: Mayweather won the first with his long jab and scattered right crosses to the face. The challenger consolidated that advantage early in the second when a scorching cross buckled Chavez’s legs. The fight dramatically shifted a minute later when Mayweather ducked into a Chavez right to the temple that scrambled his legs and a second right that scrambled the rest of him. Richard Steele inexplicably called the fall a slip but the damage had already been done. A head-twisting cross scored the first official knockdown and two more would follow — one unofficial, the other not. A right and two hooks finished matters at the 2:30 mark.

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