clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Frankie Randall, first man to drop and beat Julio Cesar Chavez, dies at 59

“The Surgeon” pulled off a stunning upset of the Mexican legend back in 1994.

Randall V Chavez

The man who shocked the boxing world by handing Julio Cesar Chavez his first professional loss has died.

Former WBC junior welterweight champion Frankie Randall passed away on Wednesday, according to his former trainer Aaron Sewell.

While no cause of death was revealed, Randall’s son Marcus confirmed earlier this year that his father was suffering from pugilistic dementia and Parkinson’s Disease, and was moved into a nursing home.

Nicknamed “The Surgeon” and often walking out in the appropriate garb, Randall racked up a record of 48-2-1 but had never competed for a major world title. He’d receive that opportunity in January of 1994 against Julio Cesar Chavez. Entering the contest, Chavez was undefeated (although he was more than fortunate to come away with a draw vs. Pernell Whittaker the previous year) and was predictably a heavy favorite to extend his record to 90-0-1.

In a back-and-forth thriller, Randall survived Chavez’s punishing body work (and low blows) to win a contentious split decision. The biggest moment of the fight came in the 11th round when Randall knocked Chavez down with a straight right hand, marking the first knockdown of Julio’s career. Combine the knockdown with the two points Chavez lost for low blows and Randall prevailed 116-111, 114-113, 113-114.

An immediate rematch was scheduled for May, with Randall losing by technical split decision after eight rounds. Randall was docked a point following an accidental clash of heads that led to a fight-ending cut on Chavez. Those two wouldn’t have their trilogy until they were both well past their prime, with Chavez winning a decision in 2004.

Randall would go on to have a great trilogy with Argentina’s Juan Martin Coggi, winning two of three but with the asterisk of testing positive for multiple banned substances in the third bout. His career would go into a tailspin and he eventually retired in 2005 with a record of 58-18-1 (42 KOs).

For one January night in Las Vegas, Frankie Randall was on top of the world after conquering one of the all-time greats. Unfortunately, the job he loved so much also led to the erosion of his mind and his body. Such is the unforgiving and cruel nature of boxing.

Frankie Randall was just 59 years old.