LAS VEGAS — It was, more than anything else, decisive. No quirky judges' scoring logic. No bizarre moments of intrigue.
First Julio Cesar Chavez went down to the canvas, victim of a perfect right cross by unheralded Frankie Randall, then he went down in defeat for the first time in his long career.
In a split-decision that rocked the fight world, Randall, the No. 1 challenger, defeated Chavez and took his World Boxing Council super-lightweight title.
One judge, from Mexico, scored it 114-113 for Chavez. Another, from Puerto Rico, had it 114-113, and a third, from Las Vegas, had it 116-111, both for Randall of Morristown, Tenn.
The fight turned on a momentous 11th round, one that will change Chavez's career forever.
First, Chavez was penalized a point for the second time by referee Richard Steele for a low blow. Then, with about 45 seconds to go in the round, Randall caught Chavez flush with a sharp right hand, dropping him instantly. Chavez got up at the count of three, but the fight was lost.
The two points that were deducted from Chavez would have given him a victory.
Chavez's longtime promoter Don King attempted to console the fighter immediately after the decision was announced.
"Not this time," King said.
" . . . you, King!" Chavez shouted at King before leaving the ring.
"He never hurt me," Chavez said. "How could he win the fight? I'm very upset with Richard Steele. The knockdown surprised me, but you can't judge a fight by one fall. I want a mandatory rematch. I'm going to take Richard Steele and argue this to the (boxing) commission."
Chavez (89-1-1), merely outclassed by Pernell Whitaker five months ago, was shockingly out-punched and out-worked by Randall (49-2-1) before a stunned crowd of about 11,000 at the MGM Grand.
"I can win a decision, that's what I have to believe," Randall said before the fight. "If I'm the better man, I'll win."
Randall looked sharp in the early going, answering every Chavez attack with quick combinations to the head. Chavez scored with a couple of hard left hooks to the body in the first, but in the second and third, Randall seemed to frustrate him the same way Pernell Whitaker did last September.
Randall is listed as having only a one-inch reach advantage, but through three rounds, appeared to get the best of every outside exchange.
But after the early rounds, Chavez seemed to take control of the fight.
The fourth round was vintage Chavez. He absorbed several shots as he worked inside, then delivered powerful hooks to Randall's body. A double-hook combination, first to the head and then to the body, rocked Randall in the middle of the round.
By the sixth round, Chavez was teeing off on the retreating Randall, and the challenger's counter-punches had lost much of their early zip. Chavez stunned Randall with a left hook to the cheek with about a minute left in the sixth, then rocked him with several blows when he trapped him in the corner with about 10 seconds remaining.
Steele deducted a point from Chavez near the end of the seventh for a low blow. After Randall took about 10 seconds to recover, he came out swinging to finish the round in the best action of the fight.
The seventh seemed to energize Randall, who caught Chavez early in the eighth with a wild right to the chin. Chavez didn't regain his aggression in the round and took 15 consecutive punches late in the round.
By the time the flurry was stopped by the bell, Randall had opened up a cut on the bridge of Chavez's nose.
Earlier on the card, International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Felix Trinidad won an unanimous decision over Hector (Macho) Camacho.
In the third round, and then in the 10th, Trinidad landed left hooks and right uppercuts and had Camacho (44-3) ready to fall for the first time in his career. The only thing that kept him up was his ability to grab the taller Trinidad, for which Camacho was penalized a point in the 10th.
The 21-year-old Trinidad (23-0, 19 knockouts) suffered a small cut over his left eye in the second and was penalized a point in the fifth for holding the back of Camacho's head, but neither seemed to bother him as he piled up the points.
The judges' scoring was 116-110, 117-109 and 119-106.
Simon Brown, who won the WBC super-welterweight title in December, retained it in a 12-round majority-decision over Australian Troy Waters (21-4).
Heavyweight Donovan (Razor) Ruddock (28-4-1) made an inauspicious return to action, taking a sluggish 10 rounds to win a unanimous decision over 290-pound Anthony Wade (22-4).
In the first televised bout, six-time former champion Thomas Hearns stunned little-known cruiserweight Dan Ward with a roundhouse right midway through the first round, then knocked him down 20 seconds later with another.
Meldrick Taylor (31-3-1, 17 KOs) battered Craig Houk (42-3) with two crisp right hands and was awarded a technical knockout in the third round.