DESPITE going in to the August 3, 1986 fight with Julio Cesar Chavez as an underdog, Rocky Lockridge had thrived in that role before in his first notable victory, when picking up the WBA super-featherweight title, knocking out Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s uncle, Roger Mayweather. Roger had also been defeated by Chavez, in two rounds in July 1985.
PRIOR to the Lockridge fight, Chavez had amassed 52 victories. He had also suffered a disqualification defeat against Miguel Ruiz in 1981. But it was changed to a knockout victory for Chavez, when the verdict was altered the following day, by the local boxing commission in Culiacan. Chavez’s manager happened to be a member of the commission at the time.
LOCKRIDGE’S camp believed that their man would be at an advantage going into the fight, due to the contest being scheduled for 12 rounds, as opposed to 15, as they admitted that Lockridge appeared to fade towards the latter part of his first two 15-round point’s defeats, against Wilfredo Gomez and Eusebio Pedroza.
IN an attempt to avoid fading in his fight with Chavez, Lockridge recruited Tim Hallmark, the Houston fitness specialist who contributed to Evander Holyfield’s tremendous conditioning in his 15-round points victory over Dwight Muhammad Qawi.
DESPITE that, and having the fight cut from 15 to 12 rounds, Lockridge only had one fight in 1986 going into the Chavez fight, whereas the latter had had three, including two world title defences in the space of 30 days.
LOCKRIDGE’S conditioning training may have prevented him from getting knocked down in the contest, as Chavez landed a lot of eye-catching punches – left uppercuts and right-handers had the Washington man in trouble in the second-round. Lockridge managed to survive the onslaught, and even fought back well by the fifth, as he appeared to be getting back into the fight, but the cool, calm Chavez’s crisper, cleaner punches managed to catch the eye of two of the three judges, who scored it to Chavez, with one deciding on a draw.
AFTER the fight, Chavez admitted that Lockridge had given him his most difficult fight to date, but claimed that the challenger didn’t hurt him, despite appearing shaky in the eighth-round, after Lockridge landed his biggest punch of the fight, a huge right-hander.
CHAVEZ added he had hurt his right hand in the fight, preventing him from taking the decision out of the judges’ scorecards. He also claimed that he had had problems in camp, due to the fight being on and off. Lockridge, meanwhile, insisted he had done enough to win.
TWENTY SEVEN years after the Chavez defeat, Lockridge displayed his punching power again, this time out of the ring, when he knocked out an aggressive man in the streets, who approached Lockridge, and started shouting abuse at him. Rocky claimed that the fight with Chavez was the highest payday of his 53-fight career, receiving $200,000. Despite being a two-time world boxing champion, alcohol and drug abuse, along with a divorce, resulted in Lockridge eventually becoming homeless, on the rough streets of Camden, in the U.S.
AFTER beating Rocky, Chavez remained unbeaten in his next 37 contests. His first defeat came against Frankie Randall. Chavez had a point taken off for a low-blow, a point that resulted in a split-decision defeat. In the same year, a rematch was set-up, where, as in the first fight, a point-deduction decided the winner of the fight. Chavez was declared the winner, after Randall lost a point due to a clash of heads.