Bobby Chacon, one of the most popular fighters to ever come down the pike in Los Angeles, passed away today, Sept. 7, at the age of 64 at a state health facility in Hemet, California where he was institutionalized. A hell-for-leather fighter who gave and received a terrific amount of punishment during a 16-year career full of peaks and valleys, Chacon was a world champion in the 127- and 130-pound divisions. He retired with a record of 59-7-1 (47 KOs).
Although he was an indifferent student, Chacon was grafted with the nickname “Schoolboy” when he entered the professional ranks in 1972 at the age of twenty. He had only 19 pro fights under his belt when he was thrust into the lion’s den, sent to post against former bantamweight and future featherweight champion Ruben Olivares whose record then stood 71-3-1.
Chacon was stopped in the ninth frame, but that didn’t diminish his popularity. There was nothing at stake but LA Area bragging rights when he opposed unbeaten Danny “Little Red” Lopez in 1974, but their match took the city by storm. When the fight sold out the LA Sports Arena, promoter Eileen Eaton arranged a closed-circuit telecast at the Olympic Auditorium.
Chacon stopped Lopez in the ninth frame in a fight that was as good as advertised. That bumped him into his first title fight. He stopped Venezuela’s Alfredo Marcano at the Olympic Auditorium to win the WBC featherweight title.
Chacon won his second world title in spectacular fashion, rallying from a deep deficit to score a 15-round decision over four-time rival Rafael “Bazooka” Limon. Chacon floored Limon with 10 seconds remaining in the final round and that was the margin of difference. His improbable triumph came nine months after his wife committed suicide.
That fight was named the 1982 Fight of the Year by The Ring magazine. Six months later, Chacon overcame multiple cuts to gut out a 12-round decision over Cornelius Boza-Edwards, avenging a loss to “Boza” the previous year. Chacon-Boza-Edwards II was also named The Ring’s Fight of the Year!
Chacon wasn’t the same fighter after those two violent skirmishes. In his next outing after upsetting Boza-Edwards, he was stopped in the third round by Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini in a bid for Mancini’s lightweight title.
It was inevitable that all those wars would take their toll. In 1995, Chacon pleaded no contest to selling cocaine from his home. According to the news report “Chacon, 44, was not ordered to serve time in prison because he was found to be suffering from dementia.” The illness may have contributed to the bad fall that Chacon reportedly suffered on the morning of his death.
Bobby Chacon was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005.
Rest in peace.