PERNELL “Sweet Pea” Whitaker’s welterweight world title bout with the legendary Mexican, Julio Cesar Chavez, was controversially declared a draw in front of a pro-Chavez crowd at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The eagerly anticipated clash between the division’s brightest lights left a bitter taste in the mouth of Whitaker, who nullified Chavez’s relentless aggression with a perplexing style for much of the contest.
Whitaker, a former Olympic gold medallist, had fallen victim to arguable scorecards once before. On March 12, 1988, he challenged Jose Luis Ramirez for the WBC lightweight title in Levallois, France. Most in attendance had the American winning comfortably; the judging, however, did not reflect the action with Whitaker down on two of three cards.
Chavez triggered a riotous atmosphere as he entered the arena. A traditional Mariachi band tried in vain to compete with the thunderous noise generated by a sea of green, white and red, as the partisan crowd welcomed their unbeaten idol into the ring.