Julio Cesar Chavez will forever be known as one of the greatest and most beloved Mexican fighters in all of boxing history, and the icon is still around the sport today, working as a fight analyst and commentator in his home country.
With this being Cinco De Mayo and big fights usually happening around this time in recent years, Chavez, now 57, shared some perhaps muddled memories of fighting on or around the holiday.
“It’s a very special day for all Mexicans,” Chavez said on Peleamundo with Jessie Vargas. “I fought many times in May representing all Mexicans. It’s something very, very special, something very beautiful feeling the love, the support from all the Mexican-Americans that lived in the United States.
“Above all, the Mexicans, that truly are the ones who support other Mexicans who go and triumph in the United States. For them it’s something great that one can represent them. I always tried to represent them in the best way. Fortunately, I gained their respect, but above all, I won the love of the people, nobody can take it away from me.
“They were great, they were huge for me because I always had the support of all the Mexicans that moved there. I don’t even remember anymore if I won or lost, I think I won more than I lost!”
In actuality, Chavez only fought twice on a Cinco de Mayo weekend in his career after breaking through as a star. The first time was a sixth-round TKO win over Terrence Alli in 1993, and the second a technical decision win over Frankie Randall in 1994 in the second of their three bouts.
(I realize he said “in May,” and he certainly fought other times in May, but whatever, none of this really matters anyway. The modern tradition of big fights on/near Cinco De Mayo didn’t start until 2003, and didn’t really come into what it is now until 2007. For Chavez’s time as a Mexican fighter, the Mexican Independence weekend in September was the much bigger deal, and he had many fights as the star of that celebration.)
Frankie Randall, of course, won a split decision over Chavez in Jan. 1994, and that rematch went down as a technical split decision in a tight bout. Chavez, who beat Randall in a third bout in 2004, long after both were faded, admits that Frankie had a tough style for him.
“There are opponents that are complicated for us. The truth is that for me, Frankie Randall’s style was always complicated for me,” he said. “Even in the third fight, because in the second fight, even though I beat him the truth is that if it weren’t for the headbutt no one knows how it would have gone for me because I was already really tired.
“Honestly in that fight, I had prepared like never before. My addiction was already very far along. But I stopped for a bit there because I had lost, I wanted to avenge my loss. I stopped a bit, despite the fact that my addiction was already very advanced. I stopped a bit, I tried to stop a bit in order to take back my title and that’s how it went. I think I went a bit too far, I prepared so well, that I went into the fight over-trained. In the second round, I felt that my arms were already falling.
“Fortunately, thank God, based on pure experience I took the fight. I had another fight against him in Mexico City where I already knew his style and there, I beat him more easily.”