10: Julio Cesar Chavez’s greatest performances
December 16, 1989 — Palacio de Deporte, Mexico City — KO 3 Alberto Cortes
Setting the Scene: Just 29 days after a punishing 10th-round corner retirement over Sammy Fuentes, Chavez was at it again, this time before his adoring home fans. On the surface Cortes looked to be a challenging opponent because he boasted a 44-0 (21 KOs) record, which helped create an eye-popping 111-0 ledger between the two. But further examination revealed that Cortes’ wins came against obscure opponents and that the Chavez fight was only his second trip outside his native Argentina. Still, with the Meldrick Taylor unification looming and the obvious stylistic comparisons to WBA counterpart Juan Martin Coggi, Chavez-Cortes carried some intrigue.
What Happened: Chavez spent the first round stalking his prey and landing half-speed hooks to the ribs and lead rights to the face, just to make sure he could connect with harder ones later on. Meanwhile Cortes sporadically scored with soft left crosses to Chavez’s iron chin. Satisfied with his progress, Chavez shifted gears in the second by putting more mustard behind his blows while also deftly slipping and blocking Cortes’ volleys. A pinpoint right to the nose instantly produced blood from Cortes and from that point forward Chavez seldom missed with his lead rights.
A left uppercut-right cross to the jaw in the third caused Cortes to wince and reach out with his gloves and a final left uppercut dropped him to his knees along the ropes. Though he rose just before Arthur Mercante’s 10 count the veteran official wisely intervened.