Chavez went on to fight Junior Welterweight champion Meldrick Taylor on March 17, 1990 in the fight dubbed “Thunder vs. Lightning.” The match would become a boxing classic and named one of the top 10 boxing matches of all time by Time magazine. Taylor was a tough, quick and slick Philadelphia fighter and former Olympian gold medalist who many believed was the next “Sugar” Ray Leonard. When they met Taylor was successful in out-boxing Chavez over 11 rounds and was ahead on a majority of the scorecards going into the final round. But Chavez never gave up on his body attack and slowly but steadily wore Taylor down. By the final round the wear on Taylor was evident and Chavez scored a knockout with just seconds left in the fight. Chavez himself would later say that Taylor was his toughest opponent and the bout a defining moment of his career.

It was the fortitude and toughness displayed in those legendary bouts with Mayweather and Taylor that cemented Chavez’s legacy in Mexican boxing lore and made him a national icon. Because of those qualities Chavez’s Mexican predecessors such as Fernando Vargas and Juan Manuel Marquez would, by their own admission, seek to emulate him. However, it was not just other fighters that admired Chavez, his influence reached into Hollywood. In 2007 the documentary J.C. Chavez chronicled the life and times of the fighter. The film marked the directorial debut of actor Diego Luna (Y Tu Mama Tambien) and was considered Luna’s passion project due to his childhood admiration for Chavez. In an interview with WENN News about the film Luna stated,

“I remember living in a country that was always in a crisis ever since I was 10. So, for me, it was interesting to tell the story of the only Mexican, who didn’t know what losing was, when the country was falling apart.”

Chavez officially retired from boxing in 2005 and now shepherds the boxing career of his son Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. who is becoming a legitimate champion in his own right. In addition, he has various business ventures such as the newly opened restaurant in Costa Mesa, Arizona Julio Cesar Chavez Campeones and even lends his name and likeness to an energy drink bearing the same name.

On June 12, 2011, the International Boxing Hall of Fame honored Chavez by inducting him into the Boxing Hall of Fame. In his speech during the ceremony Chavez stated through an interpreter “My induction into the Hall of Fame is not for me, it’s for all of you and all of Mexico,” making official what everyone else already knows: Chavez is and will always be “El Gran Campeon.

If you liked this article, check these out: Why Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. Matters; Is this Miguel Cotto’s Last Stand?

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Victor rounds out the core team of ‘LLERO, he is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief. Working with journalists and content creators to find the most interesting and newsworthy stories. A freelance sports and film writer at heart. In his spare time Victor follows all things boxing, basketball, movies and television. When not tapping the keys of his laptop he can be found checking out all kinds of mainstream and indie cinema alike. Or as his friends aptly describe "Vic, you like all that weird indie sh*!t"." Guilty as charged.

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