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DE LA HOYA vs. CHAVEZ

Chavez's Corner : Chavez Says He Brought Cut With Him Into Ring

Boxing: Vanquished former champion says that De La Hoya reopened a wound suffered in a sparring incident five days before the fight.

June 08, 1996|STEVE SPRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It ended in the fourth round, Julio Cesar Chavez unable to continue because of a deep cut over the left eye.

It began with the very first solid jabs landed by Oscar De La Hoya, twin punches that first caused the blood to trickle and then flow.

But in reality, it really began five days ago.

At least that's the way Chavez was telling it after losing his World Boxing Council super-lightweight title to De La Hoya on Friday night at Caesars Palace.

Chavez said he first suffered the cut in a sparring session five days ago, the blow struck by sparring partner Lalo Mendoza.

Chavez described it to a Spanish language television station as a "nick."

Chavez said he had hoped it wouldn't prove to be a problem in Friday night's bout, but that it "didn't heal properly."

But, healed or not healed, Chavez said he never thought about postponing Friday night's fight.

"I didn't consider not fighting," he said. "It was too big of a fight."

If there was a cut, it wasn't noticeable to those who had been around Chavez in the past few days. And he certainly didn't exhibit any signs of concern, laughing and smiling his way through two news conferences this week along with Thursday's weigh-in.

But there was no question that Chavez was cut after De La Hoya split his skin with the jabs.

The cut was bad enough for referee Joe Cortez to temporarily halt the fight in the first round so that ringside physician Flip Homansky could take a look at it.

"I felt the punch in the first round," Chavez said. "My corner tried to fix it, but the area was very delicate to start with."

By the fourth round, there was blood everywhere--running down Chavez' face, pouring from his nose, spread across his once white trunks and even smeared on De La Hoya's left shoulder, the result of clinches between the two fighters.

Again Cortez stopped the fight and called Homansky over.

According to Cortez, when Homansky inspected the gaping wound and said he was going to stop the fight, there wasn't a murmur of protest from the Mexican legend.

"There was no question about it," Cortez said. "Not a word. He [Chavez] accepted it."

But afterward, before heading for the hospital to receive medical care for the cut, Chavez seemed to have trouble accepting the defeat, only the second in his 100-fight career, along with one draw.

"I did not feel Oscar's punches," Chavez said. He would not give any credit to unbeaten De La Hoya, solely placing the blame for the loss on the cut.

"If it wasn't for the injury, I would not make it easy for Oscar to win," Chavez said.

Although De La Hoya was the aggressor from the first round on, Chavez seemed to see a different fight through his partially obstructed eyes.

"I got into a groove against Oscar in the first round," Chavez said. "Then, I couldn't see."

Chavez, 33, also can't see ending his career with this loss.

"Definitely I want to come back because I can't lose this way," he said. "I'm going to do two more fights and after that, I will see."

Chavez also said he would like another shot at De La Hoya, 10 years his junior.

"I really want the revenge," Chavez said.

Though Chavez did not have the class to give credit to De La Hoya, the same could not be said on the other side.

Said De La Hoya of Chavez: "He is still my idol."

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