Bobby Chacon passed away yesterday after a fall at the age of 64.
Chacon won WBC titles at featherweight and junior lightweight and was known for his exciting toe to toe wars in the latter half of his career.
The unusual part of Chacon's career was the change in styles as he aged.
Chacon was a smooth boxer/puncher as a featherweight,but lots of hard living cost Chacon many of those skills,so after his move to 130 pounds,Chacon became a fan friendly swapper of punches and became a staple of network broadcasts in the final heyday of boxing on the airwaves.
Chacon lost to the great champion Ruben Olivares after winning his first 19 bouts as he was stopped in the ninth round by Olivares,but the loss didn't derail Chacon,who faced future featherweight champ Danny "Little Red" Lopez in a crosstown rivalry bout that was demanded by the local fans.
Promoter Don Chargin said had they been able to wait another six months-Chacon-Lopez could have drawn 45,000 at the LA Coliseum.
Instead,the fight sold out the Los Angeles Sports Arena with its 16,000 capacity,the fight being too big for the normal home for big time boxing in Los Angeles,the Olympic Auditorium with Chacon scoring a ninth round KO.
It was at the Olympic,where Chacon won the vacant WBC featherweight title as he knocked out Alfredo Marcano in nine,but even as the future looked brightest for Chacon,the outside the ring activities would slow the in ring as Chacon was blasted out by old rival Olivares dropping the title in just two rounds.
Chacon would never return to the quality of boxer that he once was,but would enter the stage of his career where his national fan base would remember him best for next.
Chacon would fight what most would consider his greatest rival ( if not the best boxer) in Rafael "Bazooka" Limon for the first time as he lost a surprising decision on the road in Mexico.
Limon took a tremendous punch and his free swinging style meshes perfectly with that of Chacon's to make great fights...
Chacon then ripped off wins in 14 of his next 16 fights (only a controversial split decision loss to Arturo Leon and a draw with Limon in the second fight between the two marred the record) to become the number one contender to the great Alexis Arguello for his WBC junior lightweight title.
In the 1979 title fight,Chacon fought on even terms with Arguello for six rounds before a severe cut forced a stoppage of the bout.
Chacon would finally defeat Limon in his only fight of 1980 and the victory would give him another shot at the WBC 130 pound belt,this time vs Cornelius Boza-Edwards,who had won the title vacated by Arguello.
Chacon was stopped in another gutsy performance that saw his face chopped up by the punches of the Ugandan Boza-Edwards and looked to be a higher level of the present day Gabriel Rosado,which translates to his face just wouldn't hold up against top level opposition.
Chacon succumbed in 14 (yes,still the days of the 15 round title fight) and looked to be finished as a championship level fighter.
However,this is boxing and there is always a promoter willing to use a name and after Chacon won five bouts against lesser opposition (including avenging the loss to Arturo Leon),Chacon was set to fight one more time for the WBC title against old rival Limon,who had won the title in a tremendous bout against Rolando Navarette.
This bout would decide the series since the set stood at one win apiece and a draw and in what was the most memorable bout of the rivalry,Chacon got off the floor in the 3rd and 10th rounds to drop Limon with seconds remaining in the 15th to win the championship in front of a raucous crowd in Sacramento.
Had Chacon not dropped Limon,the bout would have ended in a majority draw.
Chacon would make one defense winning another gritty action fight with a decision over Boza-Edwards to avenge another previous loss.
Chacon would vacate the title in order to avoid the challenge of Hector Camacho and instead moved up to lightweight,where the smaller Chacon was overpowered in three rounds vs Ray Mancini in an attempt to win a world title in a third weight class.
Chacon wasn't through yet as he won a series of decisions against former champion Arturo Frias,former title challenger Rafael Solis,faded prospect Carlton "two gun' Sparrow and journeyman (and now trainer) Freddie Roach before a two year retirement.
Chacon would beat two overmatched foes (including one making his pro debut) before his neurological issues caught up with him and he was unable to be licensed to continue his career.
Chacon made a nice story with his comeback in the early 80's as he won the title 9 months after his wife committed suicide,but the story wasn't always so nice as he was married four times,battled alcohol and drug addiction and in the end suffered from pugilistic dementia.
The end might not have been great and showed the type of damage the sport can do,but Bobby Chacon created a lot of great memories in the ring.
It's too bad with the talent that he possessed that there wasn't more of them made....