It wasn’t an official fight, but the four-round exhibition between Julio Cesar Chavez and Hector Camacho Jr. atop the Tribute to the Kings pay-per-view show at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico had all the elements of a classic Mexico vs. Puerto Rico showdown.
The event was billed as a tribute to the 58-year-old Chavez, who said it would be his last competitive appearance in a ring, and to Camacho’s father, Hector Sr., whom Chavez beat by decision in 1992.
Camacho Sr. died in Puerto Rico in 2012, two years after his final professional fight.
Unlike recent high-profile exhibitions involving Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather, Chavez and Camacho Jr. fought just four two-minute rounds and wore colorful headgear.
But the sustained action in the ring for this one far exceeded its predecessors, as the rivals engaged in frequent exchanges and dished out extracurricular blows after the bell in a few rounds as well.
There were no judges scorecards, but Chavez Sr. appeared to get the better of the action with a focus on body work that forced Camacho Jr., 42, to either move around the ring or go for frequent clinches.
Boxing Scene unofficially scored it for Chavez, 39-37, or three rounds to one.
The enmity between the men was clearly enhanced for crowd reaction, but the friction at least appeared real when a frustrated Chavez removed his headgear after the third round and challenged Camacho Jr. to do the same for the final two minutes. Camacho initially removed his as well, but then refused to re-engage unless both fighters put the protection back on.
Chavez called Canelo Alvarez from ringside to work his corner for the fourth round, symbolically passing the torch to the man now widely recognized as the sport’s pound-for-pound king.
“Chavez will always be the greatest Mexican fighter ever,” Alvarez said.
Camacho Jr., who was 59-7-1 with 33 knockouts in a career that’s featured just two official bouts since 2014, went Alvarez better by saying Chavez was not only the greatest Mexican boxer ever, but the greatest boxer ever, period.
“It was an honor to do this,” he said. “I wish my dad was here with me.”