The undefeated light welterweight champions Meldrick Taylor and Julio Cesar Chavez had a unification bout on March 17, 1990. Taylor possessed the speed and finess, while Chavez had the grit, muscle and chin. For the first nine rounds of the fight, Taylor was dominating, throwing multiple punches at a time and landing with ease.
Chavez was always in the fight, though, landing many fewer punches, but much, much harder ones. By the 10th round, Taylor looked far worse for wear, though he had been winning up through that point. Chavez would need a knockout to win.
In the 12th and final round, Chavez stalked Taylor, patiently waiting to land his best Sunday punch. The opportunity came with 17 seconds left in the fight, after he had backed Taylor into a corner. He landed a fierce straight right hand that put Taylor on his trunks.
Taylor got up midway through the count. Referee Richard Steele examined Taylor and asked if he was OK. Taylor looked to his corner and did not respond. In what would become the most controversial decision in boxing, Steele stopped the fight with two seconds left, giving Chavez a TKO victory.
Many believe Steele was right for stopping the fight, as Taylor was critically injured. Many others believe Steele should have let him finish out the two seconds to claim his victory.
Either way, Meldrick Taylor was never the same again. He continued to fight well after the loss to Chavez, but not well enough to compete at the championship level. He lost his prime in that one fight.