There is always room for an inspirational rags to riches story, and that narrative certainly describes the progression of legendary Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez. He overcame a lot of adversity early on by working hard and becoming one of the greatest competitors to ever put on a pair of boxing gloves.
Background Info and Early Life
The story of Julio Cesar Chavez starts on July 12, 1962 in Obregon, Sonora, Mexico. He was one of ten children in his family. According to reports, the Chavez family did not live in an actual house or apartment for much of Chavez’s life. His father worked for the railroad, and everyone had to make do living in an unused railroad car. Chavez’s mother would wash and iron clothing to bring in additional money. Both of young Julio’s parents put in long hours to ensure that they could all get by.
Although it was a challenging way to live, Chavez and his siblings persevered. He had four other brothers, most of whom were into boxing as well. They would all train together, but young Julio seemed hellbent on creating a better life for himself, and poured his heart and soul into his craft.
Making A Name For Himself
In order to take the next step in his athletic pursuits, Julio Cesar Chavez moved to Culiacan in the northwest part of the country. He would become an amateur fighter at the age of sixteen, seasoning himself up against more formidable competition. After one year, he would officially turn professional.
It became pretty clear from age 17 that Chavez would have a chance to be something truly special in boxing. He knocked out his opponents in his first twelve fights, and in 17 out of his first 18 matches. The first time Chavez fought professionally outside of his home country was in December 1984 in Sacramento. The fight turned out to be a bit anticlimactic, as opponent Jerry Lewis(whom he knocked out a couple months before) was disqualified for spitting out his mouthpiece multiple times.
Biggest Career Fights
Even though Chavez ended up winning the Lewis fight because the latter was disqualified, he did not lose his motivation or his edge to become one of the premier boxers. His first chance to become a champion came in September 1984 in Los Angeles. He did not squander the opportunity, as he defeated Mario Martinez by TKO to capture the World Boxing Council Super Featherweight Title.
Chavez would hold on to the belt until 1987, defeating every challenger that came his way in large arenas like Madison Square Garden in New York, Stade Pierre-de-Coubertin in Paris, and Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
One of his biggest rivals early on in his career was Roger Mayweather, who is the uncle of boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Chavez would beat Roger Mayweather in their two career fights.
Perhaps his highest profile moment came in 1990 against Meldrick Taylor. The two fighters went the distance in a 12 round classic, which ended up being chosen as “Fight of The Year” by Ring Magazine. With two seconds remaining in the final round, Chavez finally broke Taylor, knocking him out before the fight ended. It was about as clutch an ending as any fighter could have. Julio Cesar Chavez would end up earning $1.4 million for the fight.
In 1993 he would fight to a contentious draw with Pernell Whitaker, which earned him $5 million.
Boxing Career Earnings
Julio Cesar Chavez’s net worth stands at $20 million at the present day. This seems like it might be a little low considering that he was one of the most successful fighters of the 1980’s and 1990’s. However, payouts were not as large back then as they are now, although he did make a pretty penny in a fight in 1996 against a young Oscar De La Hoya.
The matchup was billed as a passing of the torch between the aging Chavez and the up and coming De La Hoya. The Mexican legend reportedly earned $9 million from that fight alone. The rematch, which took place two year later earned him $6 million.
After he retired, he remained close to the sport by joining the boxing media. He spent time working for ESPN and Azteca as an analyst, where he was also able to earn income while staying relevant in boxing.
It is possible that at one point Julio Cesar Chavez’s net worth could have been notably larger than $20 million. However, he had some personal demons to deal with during and after his professional career. He admitted that he became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and would sometimes fight at less than 100% as a result. It seems very likely that a solid sum of his money went to purchasing these personal poisons, as well as going to rehab to recover from them.
From a tangible purchase perspective, Chavez reportedly has a five bedroom, six bathroom home in Mexico.