Julio Cesar Chavez: The Night He Quit

Julio Cesar Chavez, known as the greatest Mexican boxer of all time, cemented his place in the record books on February 21st 1993 in San Antonio, Texas when he called it quits after twelve rounds with fellow Mexican boxer Greg Haugen. That night has come to be known as “The Night He Quit” and is remembered as one of the most controversial moments in boxing history. It marked the end of an illustrious career for Chavez who had gone on to win 11 world titles in three weight divisions and was widely considered to be one of the best boxers pound-for-pound of his era. Although there was heavy criticism from Chavez’s fans and opponents alike, he emerged from that fight unscathed and with his legacy still intact. In this article we will look at what happened on “The Night He Quit”, examine why it caused such a stir, and reflect on what it meant for Chavez’s legacy.


Julio Cesar Chavez: The Night He Quit

Julio Cesar Chavez was one of the greatest boxers of all time. He was born on July 12, 1962, in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico. He began boxing when he was just six years old and went on to become a seven-time world champion in three different weight classes. Despite his many successes, there is one fight that stands out as a disappointment: the night he quit against Oscar De La Hoya.

The Fight

On June 7, 1996, Chavez and De La Hoya faced off at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas for the WBC welterweight championship. The fight was highly anticipated as both fighters were at the top of their game. Chavez had a record of 96 wins (82 knockouts), 1 loss, and 1 draw while De La Hoya had a record of 21 wins (18 knockouts) and no losses.

In the first round of the fight, Chavez suffered an accidental headbutt from De La Hoya that opened up a cut above his left eye. Despite this setback, Chavez continued to fight hard through rounds two and three but by round four it was clear that something wasn’t right.

The Quit

In round four, with only seconds remaining on the clock, Chavez waved his hand indicating to referee Joe Cortez that he didn’t want to continue fighting.

Many fans were shocked by this decision as it went against everything they knew about Chavez’s character. He had always been known for his toughness and determination in the ring. However, after the fight ended it became clear that there were extenuating circumstances that led to his decision.


Chavez’s team claimed that he was suffering from dehydration and exhaustion prior to the fight. They also claimed that he had injured his hand during training which had affected his ability to throw punches. These factors, combined with the headbutt and subsequent cut, led to Chavez’s decision to quit.

Despite the circumstances, Chavez was heavily criticized for quitting. He received a lot of backlash from both fans and fellow boxers who felt that quitting went against the spirit of the sport.

Chavez himself has spoken about his regret surrounding the fight. In a 2016 interview with ESPN, he said: “It’s something that haunts me…I wish it would have never happened.” Despite this regret, Chavez’s legacy in boxing remains strong. He retired in 2005 with a record of 107 wins (86 knockouts), 6 losses, and 2 draws. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time.


Julio Cesar Chavez may have quit during his fight against Oscar De La Hoya but that one moment does not define his career. He had an incredible run as a boxer and his contribution to the sport cannot be underestimated. While many may never forget “The Night He Quit,” it is important to acknowledge all that he achieved throughout his career.

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