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For Frankie Randall, Defeating JC Superstar Had Harsh Consequences

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  • For Frankie Randall, Defeating JC Superstar Had Harsh Consequences

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    By Ted Sares

    On January 29, 1994 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, longstanding WBC super lightweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez, from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, defended his title against 15-1 underdog Frankie “The Surgeon” Randall, from Morristown, Tennessee in what would be the first of their three meetings. Chavez, already a legend, was undefeated at 89-0-1 going in. (There were rumors that he had been DQd in an early fight in Culiacan, rumors that were true, but the local commission overturned the ruling in his favor.) Randall was 48-2-1. The combined records were 127-2-2.

    From 1984, when he won his first title at 130 pounds, through 1993, Chavez had mostly run roughshod over three divisions, defeating such notables as Ruben Castillo, Roger Mayweather (twice), Rocky Lockridge, Juan Laporte, Edwin Rosario, Rafael Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez, Alberto Cortes (44-0 going in), Meldrick Taylor (24-0-1) in a savage controversial thriller, Angel Hernandez (37-0-2), Hector Camacho (40-1), and Greg Haugen before an astounding 132,000 fans at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. His Majority Draw with Pernell Whitaker in a recent fight was viewed by many as a gift decision but whatever the case, it kept his remarkable undefeated streak intact.

    Frankie Randall fought on undercards and away from the limelight for most of his career although he had a few high-profile scalps, splitting a pair with Edwin Rosario and going 1-0-1 with Freddie Pendleton. His other loss coming into the Chavez fight was against KO artist Primo Ramos aka “Kid Durango.”

    Frankie, 32, was ranked No. 1 by the WBC and was on a 17-fight win streak and while his record was outstanding, his level of opposition was suspect. He was a very fine boxer with solid and documented power, but the prospect of his fighting Chavez brought some to laughter. “Don [King] laughed in my face when I asked for Frankie to take on Julio,” recalled Aaron Snowell, the Surgeon’s trainer.

    "Snowell had spent hours drilling precise attacks into Randall's artillery and time away from his charge studying various tapes of Chavez performances, with his stunning last-second victory over Meldrick Taylor, and his controversial draw with Pernell Whitaker dominating the television set. Snowell, a student of Jim "Slim" Robinson...was in a position to cause a seismic shock and he believed his game plan was destined to succeed," wrote Chris Walker in The Sporting News.

    Snowell’s work paid off.

    The Mexican legend opened up with his signature relentless attack to shouts of “Mexico” “Mexico” “Mexico” and proceeded to bomb Frankie’s body with smashing hooks from both sides hoping to break The Surgeon down, but Frankie’s resilience and stamina were uncommon. Every time the champion upped the pressure, Randall answered back, also attacking J.C.’s body and using great footwork to keep things at an even keel.

    The fight itself showcased Randall’s superb boxing ability, power, and tremendous stamina as he performed surgery on J.C. over much of the 12-round distance including a shocking knockdown in the eleventh compliments of a perfect straight right that hurt a stunned Chavez who had been penalized by referee Richard Steele for a low blow earlier in the round. (Steve Albert yelled, “Oh! Down goes Chavez for the first time in his career. Flush on the face!” Added his TV partner Ferdie Pacheco, “And now it’s goodbye title!”

    Steele had previously docked Chavez a point for a low blow near the end of the seventh round. When Chavez was called for a second infraction, he became furious.

    After the scorecards were tallied, ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. read them slowly, milking as much drama from them as possible --116-111, 113-114, and 114-113. Frankie Randall had done the impossible and was the new WBC super lightweight champion. The fans had been won over and were in complete agreement, and even booed the card that had Chavez winning. Randall won it the old fashioned way; he earned it.

    Later

    The future belonged to Frankie, or so it seemed, but things didn’t quite work out that way. Frankie lost an immediate rematch to Chavez who was awarded a controversial decision after sustaining a cut from an accidental clash of heads. Frankie then won two of three against the great Argentinian Juan Martin Coggi (who finished with a 75-5-2 mark) and in the process won the WBA version of the 140-pound title (though there were charges that Randall had juiced up against Coggi for their third bout. The Argentine Boxing Federation said that Randall tested positive for a cocktail of drugs, including cocaine and theophylline.)

    At any rate, it appeared The Surgeon was back on his way, but then he was shockingly stopped by tough Moroccan Khalid Rahilou in 1997 in, of all places, Nashville, Tennessee.

    After two wins in 1998, things fell totally apart as Randall lost seven in a row before two more uneventful wins in 2002. He then lost six of his last seven before retiring in 2005 with a 58-18-1 record. However, after his career defining win against Chavez, he finished with a 9-16 slate with 11 losses coming inside of the distance. Whether that can be attributed to the war he waged against the great Chavez or to something else, numbers don’t lie and in this case they suggest an affirmative answer to “something else” is not out of the question.

    There have been rumors that Frankie’s personal life was riddled with various problems and this too might have impacted his bad run at the end of his career.

    For his part, Julio Cesar won seven straight against stiff opposition before losing to Oscar De La Hoya in 1996. He then went five straight before again losing to a prime De La Hoya in 1998. He finished out his career by winning seven of his last 10 for a Hall of Fame record of 107-6-2. Oh yes, one of those wins came against Frankie Randall, but by then, any drama that could be extracted from this so-called “rubber match” had long since dissipated.

    Ted Sares is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and Strongman competitors. He is a lifetime member of Ring 10, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA).

  • #2
    I remember their fights very well. Another superbly written and researched article, always enjoy them.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ron Lipton View Post
      I remember their fights very well. Another superbly written and researched article, always enjoy them.
      Many thanks Ron. Makes it all worth while.

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      • #4
        Not to get off topic, but I remember Greg Haugen's famous line after his fight w/ Chavez in Mexico City: "They must have been tough taxi drivers"! Haha!

        I remember this and the rematch well, Ted. I can't believe it's been 24-years! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JohnnyTango View Post
          Not to get off topic, but I remember Greg Haugen's famous line after his fight w/ Chavez in Mexico City: "They must have been tough taxi drivers"! Haha!

          I remember this and the rematch well, Ted. I can't believe it's been 24-years! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
          Greg always had a great sense of humor and very dry wit. I knew him pretty well back in the day. Mutt. One tough little guy. Thanks for the prop Johnny.

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          • #6
            In Seattle

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