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Rediff.com  » Sports » Chavez bows out with victory

Chavez bows out with victory

May 23, 2004 16:09 IST

Mexico's Julio Cesar Chavez beat Frankie Randall before a roaring home crowd, bringing an end to his 24-year professional boxing career.

Once rated one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Chavez, 41, attacked Randall with the rising uppercuts and chopping overhand rights that made him a champion across three weight divisions to win by unanimous decision.

"Thank you for so much love and so much affection and so much applause," an elated Chavez told the crowd on Sunday at the open air Plaza Mexico bullring.

The victory settled an old score between the fighters, each of whom had a bruising, points win in two encounters in 1994.

Chavez suffered the first of just five losses in a 113 fight career to Randall in a Las Vegas title defense in January 1994, only to win it back four months later.

Now a grandfather, Chavez has retired before only to make a comeback. This time he has vowed to hang up his gloves for good.

"No Mexican has gone further than Julio Cesar Chavez," Pedro Castillo, a 76-year-old retiree said after the bout, which had been billed by promoters as 'Goodbye, Mexico ... Thanks.'

"He's a boxing idol."

Making his professional debut in February 1980, Chavez won World Boxing Council titles in the super featherweight, lightweight and light welterweight divisions.

Dubbed "J.C.," Chavez has a loyal following among millions of fans across Latin America, and among the Mexican community in the United States.

Among those paying tribute to the fighter were his sons, Julio Jr., who scored his eighth professional victory in the first round on the undercard on Saturday, and Omar, who fought an amateur exhibition match.

"I feel very proud of my father," the 18-year-old Julio Jr. told Reuters. "I wanted to win by knockout tonight to honor the family name," he added.

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