On the 25th anniversary of Chavez vs Taylor I, we take a look back at that fight.
It’s one of the most famous fights of the last twenty five years. I remember exactly where I was at when Julio Cesar Chavez, on the brink of losing his undefeated record, came back in the 12th round to knock out Meldrick Taylor.
Taylor was very slick throughout most of the fight, beating Chavez to just about every punch. After the fight, Chavez said that he could only muster one punch for every three of Taylor’s.
Lampley was getting on Taylor’s case for low punches all night long, but even if you take out those punches, he looked to well on his way to a masterful victory. But even as early as the second round, Chavez would connect with a punch that made you believe that Taylor could be caught.
But as the fight went on, even though Chavez was hitting Taylor enough to make his face a mess, Taylor’s legs were still underneath him. Even throughout the first two minutes of the 12th round, Taylor was leading the exchanges. But instead of moving away from Chavez and dancing his way to victory, he decided to stay in the pocket. It’s not like he ever had Chavez in trouble. And it was exactly what Chavez wanted. Chavez took those three punches for every one of his because Taylor wasn’t really hurting him.
When the knock down happens, it’s on a beautiful right hand that just crushes Taylor. It was the best single shot of the night. I still had butterflies in my stomach at the end of the round. Taylor was surprised and out of his element as he’d never been in that situation before. Rather than give Richard Steele what he wanted, which was some recognition that he understood what Steele was asking, he simply looked like he wasn’t sure what to do. And that was all that Steele needed to know that Taylor may not have been there.
As a kid, I was desperately rooting for Taylor. I saw Taylor win the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics and simply wanted to see Chavez lose. I still wish deep down that Steele gave Taylor the benefit of the doubt, but after hearing his account of the event in the interview with Larry Merchant, you can’t blame him for doing what he did.