Pernell Whitaker vs. Julio Cesar Chavez

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Sports Illustrated cover

1993-09-10 : Pernell Whitaker 145 lbs drew with Julio Cesar Chavez 142 lbs by MD in round 12 of 12

  • World Boxing Council Welterweight Title (Whitaker's 1st defense)
  • Weights: Whitaker 145 lbs, Chavez 142 lbs


In the early 1990s one of the fights brewing in the minds of boxing fans was Whitaker-Chavez. Both fighters were considered two of the sports most elite champions and both fighters were ranked within the top five pound for pound list. Whitaker was seen to be one slickest boxers at the time and Chavez was an undefeated fighter who had already won titles in three weight divisions. This bout marked Chavez's desire to win a title in a fourth weight class, a feat at this point that very few fighters had accomplished.

The Fight

The bout turned out to be no easy task for Chavez. The first few rounds were relatively even but after the fourth round Whitaker's elusiveness and quickness seemed to be befuddling Chavez. Chavez showed signs of fatigue throughout the fight and had difficulty cutting off the ring and catching Whitaker. In addition, Chavez's punch output dropped severely. Chavez's world famous inside game was ineffective as Whitaker, not known for his inside game, was beating Chavez in the inside exchanges. Whitaker was not known for his punching power but did stun Chavez a few times in the fight with hard left hands. The fight was held in front of thousands of Chavez supporters in San Antonio but even they became dead silent as they started to see Whitaker take force and dominate Chavez with little trouble.


Before the scorecards were announced the Showtime television commentators were in unanimous agreement that Whitaker had won the bout and didn't even consider it to be a close contest. Just later, the scorecards were announced and the fight was declared a draw. This prompted some boos even among some of Chavez's fans as they recognized that Whitaker was the true winner of the contest. Several members of the media, such as The Ring magazine and Sports Illustrated were disgusted with the decision. Later on several journalists complained of the fact that the WBC appointed the judges to the fight rather than the independent Texas Boxing & Wrestling Program. This promoted widespread calls of corruption for the world titles to banish this practice; however nothing was done and this practice is still in effect today.