by Jack Unwin
What can we say about boxing judges that hasn’t already been said? Year in, year out they produce baffling scorecards which help poison boxing’s reputation. Egregious examples this decade include C.J Ross’ 114-114 for Floyd Mayweather vs Canelo Alvarez and the split draw between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
For (hopefully) the first in a series of boxing’s most controversial scorecards, we are going to back to 1993 for a classic contest between the defensive genius Pernell Whitaker and the wily, aggressive Mexican icon Julio Cesar Chavez.
JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ: UNBEATABLE?
Julio Cesar Chavez Chavez had built up an astonishing record of 87-0 coming into the fight. He won his first world title at super-featherweight in his 44th fight in 1984 and raced through the weights winning more world titles, all whilst fighting 5-6 times a year.
Chavez was a famed body puncher and a great finisher of opponents once he had them hurt. He was also looking to become the first Mexican fighter to become world champion in four different weight classes, but faced his greatest challenge in the late, great Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker.
SWEET PEA: TOO SWEET FOR CHAVEZ?
I am about to commit once of the great boxing blasphemies, I haven’t seen much of Pernell Whitaker. I’m certainly aware that his defensive abilities are held in awe but aside from some highlights clips I haven’t seen a full fight of his.
Before you reach for your flaming torches I am about to remedy this by sitting down and scoring this fight, which took place at the huge, Chavez friendly Alamodome in Texas on September 10th, 1993.
A classic contest then – Mexico vs America, attack vs defense, Don King Promotions vs Main Events for Whitaker’s WBC Welterweight title.
I should note I will be watching this fight with no volume so as not to be swayed either by the crowd or by the commentary. Let’s take a look at this historic contest known as “The Fight”.
Your standard cagey opening round, but I would give it to Whitaker for being busier but also landing the more quality shots. I also note the presence of Joe Cortez, who I always thought was an awful referee. Whitaker 10 Chavez 9.
Very similar to round one with Whitaker landing more whilst Chavez stalks away, what is surprising to me is how willing Whitaker is to trade on the inside with Chavez. Even in 1993 Joe Cortez is breaking up inside fighting as quickly as he can. Whitaker 10 Chavez 9.
If you want a visual definition of the sweet science please watch Whitaker’s performance in this round. Elusive but aggressive, hitting the target with a laser-like jab and some beautiful right hands, his performance was a masterclass in boxing. He made an all-time great in Chavez look absolutely lost in there. Whitaker 10 Chavez 9.
A better round from Chavez, after a lackadaisical start he came out aggressively and did land some good shots, but Whitaker is just outworking him in every department. Pernell threw a lovely two punch combination whilst Chavez was in a corner, and was teeing off on him at points. Another Whitaker round, Whitaker 10 Chavez 9.
This was definitely Chavez’s best round of the fight. His aggression paid off and he landed some good, clean shots and an argument could be made that he won it, but Whitaker was still able to tag him at will and restrict him to single shots. Whitaker 10 Chavez 9 (but I wouldn’t argue with anyone who said Chavez won).