"El Gran Campeon Mexicano." The words are enough to show what his country thinks of Julio Cesar Chavez. Simply put, he is far and away the greatest Mexican fighter of all time, and one of the best to ever set foot inside a boxing ring.
Chavez (107-6-2 86 KO) won six world titles in three weight classes during his illustrious career. He would begin his career with 87 consecutive victories and would not taste defeat until his 91st professional bout.
In 115 professional bouts Chavez would face and defeat 15 world champions.
Known for his devastating power and ability to decimate opponents to the body, Chavez was considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world for for several years. He would win world titles at super featherweight, lightweight and junior welterweight.
Chavez won the first of his world titles at super featherweight, by knocking out Mario "Azabache" Martinez in 1984. He would successfully defend the title against notables Ruben Castillo, Roger Mayweather and Juan LaPorte.
Moving up to lightweight, Chavez would challenge and knockout WBA champion Edwin Rosario. Coming into the fight many felt that the Mexican fighter would be overwhelmed by the champion's power. Rosario even threatened to send his challenger back to Mexico in a coffin.
But Chavez turned in what may well still be the performance of his life en route to an 11th-round stoppage victory. At lightweight he also scored victories over Rafael "Bazooka" Limon, and unified the WBC and WBA titles with a technical decision win over Jose Luis Ramirez.
Moving up again in weight, this time to junior welterweight, Chavez again became a world champion by defeating Roger Mayweather for a second time to claim the WBC title.
This would setup a unification fight with IBF champion Meldrick Taylor, and one of the most impressive, controversial moments of Julio's career.
Entering the 12th round, and behind on two of the three judges scorecards, Chavez knew he needed a knockout to win. With literally seconds remaining in the fight Chavez did just that, flooring Taylor, who was up by the count of six.
Taylor, however, was holding on to the ropes and was unresponsive to referee Richard Steele who stopped the fight with less than five seconds remaining. It was one of the most shocking and controversial stoppages in the history of the sport.
In his next notable fight Chavez would add the WBO junior welterweight title to his resume when he defeated then-undefeated Hector "Macho" Camacho by wide unanimous decision. The fight was highly anticipated but failed to live up to the hype as Chavez was dominant.
Chavez would make a record 20 successful defenses of his junior welterweight championship before moving to welterweight and a superfight with Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker in 1993. In a fight that Whitaker appeared to win clearly, a draw was announced to the derision of most in attendance and the boxing media.
Moving back down to defend his junior welterweight title, Chavez would taste defeat for the first time in a professional ring at the hands of Frankie Randall. In the fight, Chavez was dropped to the mat for the first time in his career and had two points deducted for low blows.
Ironically it was the point deductions that would prove the difference on the scorecards as Randall would win a split decision.
Chavez would regain his title with a technical decision after Randall was deducted a point for an accidental headbutt. The point deduction would prove the difference. Chavez would also defeat Randall in a rubber match by unanimous decision in 2004, when both fighters were well past their best.
After defending his title several more times, the world demanded a superfight between Chavez, the Mexican icon, and Oscar de la Hoya, an American-born fighter of Mexican descent who was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport at the time.
Chavez would fight valiantly in two bouts against the younger Oscar de la Hoya, losing by 4th-round TKO, due to a deep gash over his left eye which he suffered in training, and 8th-round TKO in the rematch. Many felt at the time that Chavez would have been too much for his opponent if the two had met in their primes.
Chavez would also go on to lose his last really meaningful fight, a challenge of Kostya Tszyu, for the junior welterweight title via sixth round TKO.
Julio Cesar Chavez would retire after retiring on his stool in a fight with unknown Grover Wiley in 2005. His son Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. would later avenge this loss by knocking out Wiley in three rounds.
Finally retiring from the ring after the fight with Wiley, Julio Cesar Chavez had amassed an impressive 106 wins and several boxing records. Chavez holds the record for most consecutive successful title defenses with 27, most career championship fights with 37 and most championship fight victories with 31.
Chavez also holds the longest undefeated streak in the history of the sport, having won his first 87 fights and not being defeated for 13 years. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010 and is the greatest warrior the country of Mexico has ever produced.