Before Manny Pacquiao laid claim to the title of the
best boxer in the world, a pugilist from a previous generation would earn that title on the way to becoming not just a legend in the sport of boxing, but arguably the greatest Mexican fighter of all time. His success–undeniable; his iconic status in Mexico–undisputed; his name– Julio Cesar Chavez.
Born on July 12, 1962 in Ciudad Obregon, Sanora, Mexico, Julio Cesar Chavez Gonzalez began boxing professionally at the age of 18. Like many others in Obregon the Chavez family endured economic hardship which motivated Chavez to enter the ring to provide for his family. It would be the beginning of a career that spanned three decades, where he would amass a record of over 100 victories (over 80 by knockout) with only six defeats. Along the way he won six championship belts in three weight classes, ranging from Junior Lightweight to Junior Welterweight. While the numbers and championships are impressive, they do not even begin to tell his tale. His boxing style would leave an indelible mark on the sport and demonstrate the signature style of a Mexican fighter. In the ring Chavez was nothing short of a terminator employing never ending aggression that consisted of punching power and a relentless body attack from opening to closing bell. Coupled with a seemingly iron jaw, he was able to “take two just to give one” an approach that carried him to victory over world class opponents that were often technically superior to him. His list of opponents reads like a super-villains gallery out of a comic book: Meldrick Taylor, Pernell Whitaker, Hector “Macho” Camacho, Edwin Rosario and Roger Mayweather. Each man was a champion in his own right, but all were unsuccessful in their attempts to de-throne Chavez.
This signature style was never more evident than in fights against opponents Roger Mayweather and Meldrick Taylor. On May 13, 1989, in a fight nicknamed “Fury at the Forum” Chavez and Mayweather met for the second time at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California. Over 10 rounds, Mayweather threw everything but the kitchen sink at Chavez and visibly became frustrated when nothing worked. Eventually Chavez wore Mayweather down, so much so that Mayweather did not come out of his corner for the 11th round and lost by a technical knockout (TKO).