BOXING NEWS thought it could be “the greatest lightweight fight of recent years”, as Mexico’s undefeated WBC super-featherweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez stepped up a division to meet reigning WBA 135lbs king Edwin Rosario of Puerto Rico, at the Las Vegas Hilton, on November 21, 1987.

GOING into the fight, there were doubts about the details of Chavez’s record. American data had him as 53-0 (44), newspaper reports added an extra victory while certain record-keepers insisted the Culiacan man had lost a contest by disqualification some six years previously.

THE Las Vegas oddsmakers found it impossible to split the pair just weeks before the bout, calling the fight a 6-5 ‘pick ‘em’, meaning the gambler could choose either man to triumph and still lay $6 to win $5. By fight night, Chavez was an 8-5 on favourite.

WE went against the grain and picked 24-year-old Rosario to defeat his 25-year-old challenger. “I have a hunch that this fight is going to be decided on power, who hurts who the most,” Graham Houston predicted. “And I’m going with Rosario, the fully fledged lightweight, to defeat the accomplished champion who’s stepping out of his own division.”

OUR predicted outcome failed to come to fruition as Chavez scored an 11th-round stoppage of Rosario who was “never in the fight”, the Mexican far in front on the official scorecards at the finish, 98-92, 99-91 and 100-92.

IT was rumoured that Rosario had been up to 13lbs over the weight limit just two weeks before the fight and that this may have contributed to his demise.

BY the 10th round, Rosario’s “left eye had been hammered shut, he was cut inside the mouth and spitting blood, there was puffiness and bruising around the right eye and he also suffered a bloody nose. Chavez “was hardly marked”. The doctor checked on Rosario after that round, but allowed the fight to continue.

A CROWD of 8,580 appreciated Chavez’s landmark performance. Especially, as you would imagine, the loud Mexican contingent.

POST-FIGHT Chavez said he had been certain of victory because although Rosario could punch, “I knew he couldn’t knock me out.”

FUTURE plans for Chavez, according to his promoter Don King, included an all-Mexican unification match with WBC ruler Jose Luis Ramirez. Chavez ultimately took a technical decision in that October 1988 showdown.

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