Legendary former three-division world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. promised to come into his “Adios” fight with Ivan Robinson in top physical condition. He made good on his word, and delivered his best performance in years in nearly shutting out Robinson over ten rounds in the main event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA on SET-PPV Saturday night.

Robinson attempted to make a fight of it early, working behind his jab and offering occasional flurries. But the night was all about Julio, and the fight became all about his left hook and perfectly timed right hand over and over. Robinson had no answer for either, other than to simply absorb as much as possible in hopes that Chavez would eventually slow down.

That never happened, as Chavez fought to honor both the capacity crowd that turned out at the Staples Center, as well as his son, Julio Jr. who shared the card with his father for the third time in their respective careers. Such was proven in Julio Sr.’s conditioning, as he entered the ring at a trim and ready 143 lbs. Robinson came in at the same weight, though visibly fleshier. The difference in conditioning also reflected the difference in present-day skill level. Looking at the two, you would think that Chavez was the 34-year-old fighter, and Robinson the 42-year-old looking to say “Adios.”

Robinson nearly said goodnight late in the fourth round, courtesy of a picture-perfect right from Chavez. The shot sent Robinson straight back and down to the canvas for the bout’s lone knockdown. Robinson lay down on the canvas as if to suggest he was done, but sprung up on his feet well before referee Raul Caiz finished his mandatory eight count. Chavez looked to move in for the kill, charging out of his corner the moment action resumed. Chavez scored repeatedly upstairs, but Robinson would hold on until the round’s end to avoid the early exit.

From the fifth round on, Robinson lost his desire to fight competitively. A lot of it had to do with Chavez willing it out of him. Whatever the case, Robinson began taking advantage of the 20 foot ring, using nearly every inch of it while Chavez went on the attack. Body shots repeatedly found their mark, and Robinson was showing signs of wearing down midway through. Ivan looked to steal some time in losing his mouthpiece in the sixth round, drawing a warning from Caiz.

The threat didn’t last long, though, not before Robinson was urged by his corner to get going. Ivan responded by flurrying to start the seventh round, but began covering up with no return once Julio looked to counter and take over. A left hand by Chavez would again eject Robinson’s mouthpiece. Caiz made good on his promise from the round prior, taking a point from Ivan, who bowed to the crowd as Caiz signaled to each judge. Upon reinserting the mouthpiece, Caiz warned Robinson that further infractions would result in a disqualification.

Robinson looked every bit the beaten fighter by the eighth round, as it was all Chavez from beginning to end. Chavez started the round doubling up on his jab, and was doubling and tripling up on his left hooks as the round went on. A straight right from Chavez toward the end of the round once again sent Robinson’s mouthpiece flying, though Caiz had mercy on his soul and let the instance go unpunished. It hardly mattered; Robinson had no shot at winning the fight at that point.

Chavez dominated round nine, but managed to hurt his hand before round’s end – so much that he could be seen grimacing in pain on his stool between the ninth and tenth round.

So how does the 42-year-old veteran of 25 ring years respond? By fighting the tenth and final round with just his left hand. Robinson was such a beaten fighter, that he couldn’t even solve an attack primarily of left hooks to the head and body. To his credit, Robinson ate two dozen or so body shots in the final round alone, but managed to crawl to the final bell without once again hitting the deck.

Scoring became a formality, though judges David Mendoza and Lou Fillipo surprised many by scoring a round for Robinson (32-10-2, 12 KOs) with scores of 99-89 each. Judge David Denkin scored the contest 100-88, which is how TheSweetScience also saw the bout (at least on television).

Afterward, Chavez said goodbye to the city of Los Angeles, though offered no real hint as to whether or not it was the definitive end to his career.

“I just want to thank everyone in Los Angeles,” said Chavez (108-5-2, 87 KOs) after the fight through translator Ricardo Jiminez. “I tried to do a better job, but I hurt my right hand. Thank you Los Angeles … I now leave you my son. Please take care of my son.”

In the meantime, Julio will be taking care of his right hand. Whether or not he’ll need it again in the ring remains to be seen. After tonight, he gave plenty of reason to justify a farewell tour instead of simply saying farewell.

El Matador earns split decision over Famoso

It wasn’t quite the Fight of the Year many anticipated, but former super featherweight titlists Jesus Chavez and Carlos “Famoso” Hernandez did all they could to give a sold-out Staples Center their money’s worth in the chief support. When all was said and done, Chavez would prevail by split decision, earning his first win in nearly two years and the WBC 130 lb. mandatory slot along the way.

The bout was fought at close quarters for the entire twelve rounds, and offered two “Round of the Year” candidates along the way. Chavez dominated the first two and a half rounds before Famoso looked to make a fight of it in a back-and-forth third. A left hook by Hernandez midway through got Chavez’s attention before “El Matador” countered with two left hooks of his own. The two went toe-to-toe for the remainder of the round, which drew a standing ovation from the crowd at rounds end.

Chavez regained control soon thereafter, and by the end of the fifth round managed to produce a cut over Hernandez’s right eye. The sight of his own blood motivated Famoso to pick up the pace in the sixth, and he did all he could to keep the fight at phone booth’s distance the rest of the way through. Chavez did his best to not cooperate, and enjoyed his best moments when he boxed in and out behind his jab.

With the two being such close friends, Chavez managed to accommodate Famoso’s demands for a war once too often. Whenever he did, he let Hernandez right back into the fight. Jesus, responding to his corner’s demand to pick up the pace, attempted to change that once the rounds hit double digits. Both enjoyed plenty of success to the body, but it was Chavez who was getting there first; he was also able to box and come in whenever he pleased. Hernandez had plenty of success, but never while leading.

That changed in the final round, though not before the two embraced. After a brief hug, Hernandez let his hands fly in initiating the bout’s second Round of the Year candidate. Chavez obliged, but for the first time in the fight was forced to fight on Famoso’s terms. Every time Chavez would back off and look to box, Hernandez would bang his own midsection and demand the action be fought toe-to-toe. Carlos flurried to the bitter end, even in getting slightly staggered at the end of the fight by a Chavez right. The two once again embraced at the end of the fight, which was not a classic, but still featuring plenty of bang for your buck.

The scores were as close as the phone booth distance maintained for much of the bout. Hernandez won on Lou Fillipo’s scorecard by 115-113. Chavez won by the same score on David Denkin’s scorecard, and by two rounds more on the card of Max De Luca to earn a split decision and the top ranking among the WBC super featherweight ranking, as he is now mandatory challenger to Marco Antonio Barrera.

Chavez is now 41-3 (28 KOs) earned his first win since winning the WBC title in August 2003. He lost in his first title defense, to Erik Morales in February 2004. That was Chavez’s last fight, as he suffered a torn rotator cuff early in the fight and spent the next year nursing that and a knee injury. Hernandez falls to 41-5-1 (24 KOs) in suffering his second loss in his last three fights.

More results: IBF bantamweight champ Rafael Marquez successfully defended his crown for the fifth time with a twelve round decision over battle-tested Ricardo “Chapo” Vargas. Marquez dominated early before getting rocked with a left hook late in the fourth round. The shot temporarily changed the course of the fight, as Vargas managed to work his way back into the fight by the end of the sixth round. Nacho Beristain urged Marquez to pick up the pace in the seventh, and the fight ceased being competitive from that point forward. Marquez unloaded on Vargas in the tenth in nearly earning a two-point round. A knockdown late in the twelfth provided just that, though it proved to be window-dressing at that point. Scores were 118-109 and 116-111 (2x) for Marquez, who improves to 34-3 (30 KOs). Vargas falls to 37-11-3 (12 KOs) … Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is now 3-0 (3 KOs) in cards where he and his father appear together. Tonight he needed a mere forty-two seconds to dispatch Adam Wynant. A left hook early in the fight stunned Wynant. A follow up left uppercut and combo downstairs and up had Wynant stunned and searching for a safe spot on the canvas to collapse and cover. He did just that, and referee Jack Reiss had no choice but to cease matters 0:42 into the fight. Chavez Jr. improves to 19-0 (14 KOs), while Wynant falls to 9-4-1 (3 KOs) … Unbeaten middleweight prospect Jesus Gonzalez scored an uninspired eight round decision over Dewey Welliver in an eight round bout to start the pay-per-view telecast. No knockdowns, no cuts, no threat of either fighter ever being hurt. Each round was a repeat of its predecessor. Gonzalez is now 17-0 (11 KOs), while Welliver dips to .500; he is now 16-16-1 (5 KOs).

The promoter for the ten-fight card, including five non-televised bouts, was Top Rank Promotions in association with Sycuan Ringside Promotions.