Mexican idol Julio Cesar Chavez set himself the lofty goal of reaching a perfect 100-0 back in the 1990s – and “J.C Superstar” came pretty close to pulling it off. It was, as fans remember, a massive upset when Frankie Randall took Chavez’ unbeaten record in January of 1994. Even though Chavez had struggled mightily in his September 1993 fight with the super-slick Pernell Whitaker – the draw almost universally looked at as a loss for Chavez – the all-time great was still expected to beat Randall.
Instead, “The Surgeon” fought a great fight, even managing to send Chavez to the canvas on the way to his 12 round decision win. The two would fight again, eventually meeting three times. Looking back all these years later, Chavez – who retired in 2005 with a 107-6-2(86) ledger – says Randall had a style that was “always complicated” for him.
Chavez was speaking with Jessie Vargas on social media, and the living legend went back in time and re-lived the battles he had with Randall.
“There are opponents that are complicated for us. The truth is that for me, Frankie Randall’s style was always complicated for me. Even in the third fight, because in the second fight, even though I beat him, the truth is that if it wasn’t for the headbutt no-one knows how it would have gone for me because I was already tired,” Chavez said. “Honestly, in that fight, I had prepared like never before. I wanted to avenge my loss. 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. Thank God, based on pure experience I took the fight. I had another fight with him in Mexico City where I already knew his style and there, I beat him more easily.”
The rematch between Chavez and Randall, less than four months later, proved controversial. An accidental butt caused a cut, not really a bad one, over Chavez’ eye and under the WBC ruling the uninjured fighter lost a point. This was Randall, and Chavez, unable to continue, won via technical decision after eight rounds – 76-75 and 77-74, with Randall getting the vote on the third card at 76-75. The point taken off Randall proved crucial.
Chavez again faced Randall in 2004, winning a clear decision over ten rounds when both men were way past their best. Chavez might have had a tough time with Whitaker’s slippery skills, but Randall out-toughed him in their first fight. Who else was able to do that? Sadly, Randall is in poor health today, battling pugilistic dementia. Chavez got out of the ring largely unscathed.
Together, Chavez and Randall gave us a truly memorable rivalry. Randall’s final record reads 58-18-1(42).