Nobody questions the truth that Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. is an all-time nice and, for me at the very least, the perfect Mexican pugilist ever, although my editor, Mr. Carbert, disagrees and has said his the reason why. I in fact respect the knowledgeable opinion of The Fight City’s fearless chief however, whereas Salvador Sanchez, Carlos Zarate and Ruben Olivares all have robust instances to be made for the highest of the Mexican mountain, I need to hail “The Lion Of Culiacan” as the best pugilist to ever emerge from “Tierra Azteca.” Proof? Simply take a look at that stretch from 1984, when he gained his first world title, to 1993 when he received a present attract his bout with fellow all-time nice Pernell Whitaker. Virtually a full decade of nothing however wins on the elite degree, a run that holds its personal with these of the all-time greats of the Golden Age, corresponding to Henry Armstrong or Sugar Ray Robinson.
And which victories throughout that point when Chavez dominated the fistic panorama are most note-worthy, most demonstrative of Julio’s superiority? His factors win over two-time world champ Rocky Lockridge? His battering of former champion Greg Haugen in entrance of the most important crowd ever assembled at a boxing match? His thrilling, final second, come-from-behind stoppage of Meldrick Taylor? His 12 spherical domination of Jose Luis Ramirez? His one-sided thumping of Hector Camacho?
All vital and essential, little question, however for me his biggest efficiency occurred in 1987, when he moved as much as light-weight and utterly dominated a gifted, harmful and skilled world champion in Edwin Rosario. This was Chavez’s best hour, his most spectacular efficiency, the battle through which all his presents have been on clear show. He was like a grasp painter on the peak of his expertise, the comb strokes flowing free, and the sensible finish outcome was nothing in need of superior, a masterpiece of pugilistic perfection.
It’s straightforward to look again and query the importance of Chavez vs Rosario given what we now find out about “Chapo,” a boxer of immense expertise and crippling energy but in addition a person who, between fights, didn’t reside an athlete’s life and would endure an premature dying at solely 34 years of age. The Puerto Rican prodigy was little question previous his prime by no less than a pair years when he locked up with Chavez, however that doesn’t change the truth that he represented Julio’s largest problem up to now, each actually and figuratively.
The pre-fight build-up was marked by some harsh phrases and dangerous blood, which is all the time to be anticipated when you’ve one other episode in boxing’s biggest nationwide feud, Mexico vs Puerto Rico. Chavez leveled some selection insults Rosario’s method when he accused Puerto Rican fighters of all the time being too cocky. “The Puerto Ricans talk too much,” declared Chavez. “They’re always boasting, always saying, ‘I’m going to crush you, I’m going to knock you out,’ but then they can’t back it up. Rosario has a big mouth, and the people around him have big mouths.”
At a pre-fight press convention the 2 virtually got here to blows and Rosario fired his personal volley, telling Chavez “I will send you back to Mexico in a box, you coward!”
Pundits have been divided, some mentioning that Chavez appeared to be the brisker fighter, whereas others made a lot of the truth that the Mexican was the one shifting up in weight to problem a boxer who had confirmed knockout energy at 135 kilos. There was additionally the truth that whereas Julio’s most up-to-date match of great consequence was shut wrestle with Juan Laporte that left many underwhelmed, Rosario’s superior two spherical destruction of Livingstone Bramble was nonetheless recent in everybody’s reminiscence. At this specific juncture, it was troublesome to say which fighter was extra deadly, however it appeared affordable to conclude that “Chapo” had an edge in each energy and bodily power.
However as everyone knows now, Rosario’s energy was nullified earlier than the opening bell even rang by the straightforward undeniable fact that Chavez was the proud proprietor of one of many sturdiest chins in boxing historical past. In his prime, he was not often stung not to mention significantly harm, his means to take photographs and hold firing again one of many keys to his superb ring success. And as for power, nicely in reality it was the Mexican who, in contrast to Rosario, stayed away from the events and the nightlife between fights and was the stronger and extra rugged of the 2.
That left boxing talent and hand velocity as Rosario’s solely weapons to offset his aggressive adversary however as early as spherical one it was clear that may not be sufficient. The Puerto Rican tried to maintain Chavez at bay together with his jab and earn his respect together with his highly effective proper hand however from the outset Julio confirmed his quarry completely no respect in any respect, strolling straight to him and unleashing heavy artillery to Rosario’s physique. The primary two rounds have been all Chavez as he regularly backed the champion up and beat him to the punch. All of the speak of Chavez being at an obstacle as a result of he was shifting up in weight went proper out the window.
Spherical three was a greater one for Rosario as he matched Chavez’s tempo and located extra punching room, touchdown some depraved photographs to provide the challenger pause, and he rode the momentum into spherical 4, even pinning Chavez to the ropes briefly and unloading some heavy blows. However then the challenger ruthlessly reversed the momentum, turning Rosario and forcing him to the ropes and touchdown one deep dish physique punch after one other. It was a terrific motion spherical, however by its finish Chavez had re-established management.
From that time on Chavez vs Rosario slowly devolved right into a one-sided beat down. What stunned many was not solely Julio’s capacity to shrug off Rosario’s supposedly deadly energy punches whereas out-muscling the supposedly greater man, but in addition his technical prowess. His arms have been faster and extra correct and his jab labored to arrange his vicious physique assault. He additionally anticipated Rosario’s massive proper arms and persistently smothered them, denying the champion the puncher’s probability he now desperately wanted. On the finish of spherical six he started to seek out the goal upstairs together with his personal proper, staggering Rosario greater than as soon as.
“Chapo” re-discovered his jab in spherical seven, throwing it with conviction and backing up Chavez however he lacked the power and stamina to take care of the depth and within the ultimate minute of the spherical he was trapped on the ropes once more and getting the painful finish of the ferocious toe-to-toe exchanges. The Mexican pounded away with fury, digging viciously on the champion’s torso prefer it was a pinata and inside Rosario’s rib cage was the good prize that Chavez needed to have.
An more and more determined champion was critically harm for the primary time close to the top of spherical eight when Chavez backed him into the nook and landed a flush one-two to the top. Surprised and now bleeding, with lumps throughout his face, Rosario held on and tried to shake off the cobwebs as Julio sought to land the one huge shot that would finish it. Displaying large braveness, “Chapo” dug in and fought again, nevertheless it was clear that Chavez was methodically taking him aside, piece by piece, like a butcher doggedly chopping up an unwieldy carcass.
Spherical 9 noticed the champion in full survival mode and staggered once more on the finish of the stanza by extra Chavez proper palms and in spherical ten the Mexican picked up the tempo, in search of the end. The gang, sensing impending doom for Rosario, started chanting Cha-vez! Cha-vez! Cha-vez! because the Mexican warrior chased his quarry from nook to nook, hurting Edwin with each strong blow. The gallant champion by no means stopped battling again, however he knew higher than anybody that each one hope of victory was gone. On the finish of spherical ten he was virtually defenseless within the face of Julio’s unyielding assault.
Why Rosario’s nook selected to ship their man out for an additional spherical of distress is anybody’s guess, however spherical eleven was strictly an train in masochism for the courageous Puerto Rican. He refused to surrender, refused to go down, however he was taking a horrible beating. His left eye was utterly closed now and blood was seeping from his nostril and mouth, however he by no means stopped preventing again as greatest he might till lastly, belatedly, his nook signaled give up and the bloodbath was stopped.
Amazingly, Chavez seemed not in the least drained, as if he had sufficient power and stamina to battle on for a number of extra rounds if vital. Reflecting the depth of the many years previous Mexico vs Puerto Rico rivalry, he had proven Rosario no mercy, pounding him repeatedly together with his greatest punches, however failing to ship the proud champion to the canvas. It hardly mattered. From all corners of the boxing world got here fulsome reward for the person many now hailed as the perfect boxer, pound-for-pound, within the recreation. His efficiency had been so dominant, virtually with out flaw, that it instantly elevated him, eradicating all doubts. The subsequent true boxing legend of Mexico, following within the footsteps of Ruben Olivares, Carlos Zarate and Salvador Sanchez, had formally assumed the mantle of greatness.
As I say, for me, Chavez is the best of all Mexican fighters and this was his best hour, his masterpiece, a efficiency to face alongside these of the legends of the previous. He took a harmful and proud champion and he battered and humbled him, profitable virtually each spherical. For the subsequent few years there was no query as to who was the perfect strain fighter and physique puncher within the recreation. Together with his demolition of Rosario, Julio Cesar Chavez marked his arrival as not only a multi-division champion, however a real latter-day nice, and a legend of Mexican boxing. — Neil Crane
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