The following interview was conducted January 5, 1999, it was
a interview thats could not have been done at all without the help
of Alex Ramos and Jacquie of the Retired boxers Foundation.
The Retired Boxers Association:
Despite some of the rumors Bobby Chacon still remembers. He remembers every fight and every punch he threw and took. He is a man that Loved to fight, loved being a boxer, and a champion. He was a man that as he said would still be fighting today if the California State Athletic Commission hadn't stopped him. In 1989 he passed all the California physical and mental requirements to continue to fight, yet was still denied a boxing License. As you will see in some of Bobby's responses to the questions, he was not ready to retire. He was devastated and I am not sure that the void it left in his life will ever be filled. It was a honor to be able to ask him questions and hear his responses, If I ever had a "Idol" Bobby was it.
Frisco: Bobby, first it's a pleasure to be able to ask you questions. You are my all time favorite fighter. I frequent a lot of boxing chat rooms and message boards and your name is constantly coming up when people talk exciting fights and boxing warriors. I wonder, are you aware that in 1999, you are still as popular as you were in your hey day, and just how much you still mean to fight fans? Bobby Chacon: I love it! I love the fans! Frisco: You turned pro in 1972, and by '73 were already selling out arenas and fighting the top fighters like Frankie Crawford and Chucho Castillo. Did you know at that time that you were destined to leave the kind of mark you did on the sport? I would say the first time I saw you and I knew you would be champ, was when you beat Chucho Castillo. Bobby Chacon: My trainer knew! He wouldn't let me fight anyone but the best! That's how he trained me. I trusted him. Frisco: In June of '73, you fought Ruben Olivares for the first time for the NABF title. I thought you would win that fight. Why didn't you and what are your memories of that night? Bobby Chacon: Very simple. My trainer worked me like a dog and wouldn't let me take a rest. I couldn't keep his (Olivares) pace. I was just worn out...burned out. Frisco: Did that first lost make you doubt yourself as a fighter? Bobby Chacon: No! It made me madder than ever! I trained harder and longer and was ready to go again in 2-3 months. Frisco: After that, you reeled off four straight KO's, and then signed to meet Danny "Little Red" Lopez. I saw the fight, and considering that at the time you were being mentioned for a title fight, why did you decide to meet a young, strong, undefeated Big puncher like Lopez? These days, a guy in your position would sit on his ranking afraid to risk the payday, yet you, in my opinion, chose the toughest young guy out there! Bobby Chacon: Joe Ponce, my trainer, trained me so that I was ready for ANYBODY. As a matter of fact, I sparred with Lopez and he beat me day in and day out in the gym. I would lose, but every time I did, I learned something. By the time we were fighting for real, I proved that I learned how to beat him. My trainer never let me fight anyone but the best! Frisco: Does it bug you seeing fighters today take the easy route and get title shots they didn't earn the way you did? Bobby Chacon: No. I look at the fighters today and say, when I was fighting, they said the same things. Look back from my era and see how tough it was for the fighters in the '30's. Every generation of fighters can look back and say the same thing. Frisco: What about the deal with all these titles today? Back when you fought, there was a WBA and a WBC. Today there is enough world titles that everyone in the Top Ten and then some, could conceivably have a title. Do you think that devalues boxing? Bobby Chacon: Alphabet titles (he laughs). Actually I think its good. The old-timers fought like crazy and didn't get anything. That's life. That's money and the thing in boxing IS money. It (the titles) just gives more fighters a chance. The fans will always know who the real champions are. Frisco: You finally became World Featherweight Champion on September 7th, 1974, knocking out a former champion, Alfredo Marcano. What do you remember about that fight? Bobby Chacon: I remember that I boxed his ears off! I was good that day! I was strong and feeling great! Frisco: I have the fight on tape, and personally it seemed like he was no match for you in speed or power, despite being a bigger fighter naturally. At any time in that fight, did you feel like you were not in control? Bobby Chacon: Never. I always felt I was in control. He had more experience than I did, but I never felt like I was not in control. Frisco: After winning the first title, did it seem like everyone wanted a piece of you? Friends and relatives, promoters, etc.? Bobby Chacon: Yeah! They all did! Everyone wanted to shake my hand like this (shows his hand with the palm up)! Frisco: I was lucky enough to meet you in 1983. You were outstanding relating to the fans, signing autographs and talking. Was that something that you truly enjoyed doing, or is it something you did because you felt it was part of the job? I have heard boxers tell me both things. Bobby Chacon: When I grew up, I had nothing but punishment! I loved the street and I loved the people. I loved that people were good to me and they had nice things to say to me. The people...the fans....were always good to me and I loved it. I still love the fans. Frisco: In 1975 you lost your featherweight title to Ruben Olivares again. He stopped you. Why was he so hard for you to beat the first two times you fought him, because the third time you fought him, you beat him in a way that you made look easy. Why was he so tough to beat the first two times, but not the third? Bobby Chacon: The first time I lost because I was inexperienced. The second time I lost because I just thought it was a lot of fun and a lot of money. I was too busy having fun to train like I should have. The third time, I was experienced and I was in better shape. I was more serious about the fight and I knew how to beat him. Frisco: After Olivares, you began a series of fights that I think defined your career when you fought Bazooka Limon. These fights-particularly the fourth were great, great fights. In fact, in my opinion, Chacon vs Limon 4, is the greatest fight in boxing history. What are your memories of the Bazooka fights? Bobby Chacon: Oh boy! I got myself in shape. I worked hard! I trained fifteen weeks straight. I was determined and dedicated, more so than ever in my life. All he could do was run, and boy, did he! Frisco: The second and third fights seemed pretty rough and dirty and all the magazines at the time said you two hated each others guts. Was it really hatred between you and Bazooka? If so, why did you guys hate each other? Bobby Chacon: We didn't really like each other because of the first fight. After that, because the papers said we hated each other so much, we just figured, why not? It was more the papers doing than ours. Frisco: Now the fourth fight....most boxing fans who have seen that fight call it the greatest fight ever. Are you aware of how many 20-something kids and collectors have such a high opinion of the fight? Bobby Chacon: I've heard so much about this fight. I was in top shape and so was he. I was not a fool, but a fighter and he gave me a damn good fight. I loved it! Frisco: Was there anyone else in your career that you just couldn't stand that you really wanted to not only beat, but beat up bad? Bobby Chacon: Yes! Of course! Ruben Olivares! Frisco: In 1977, you fought tough Arturo Leon. Why was he able to beat you, and did you think you deserved to lose the fight? I have heard from people that you said you should have gotten the decision in that one. Bobby Chacon: In 1974, I was a Champion and by "77 I hadn't recovered yet. Yes...because I was recovering from my success (1974), things weren't quite right yet in this fight. I got my head back straight after that fight. Frisco: You had two title fights over the next couple of years, losing to both Alexis Arguello and Boza Edwards. I believe both were stopped on cuts. At this time, a lot of the boxing public and family and friends started asking you to quit. Why or how did you know that you still had enough to become champion again? At any time, were you tempted to say the heck with it all and walk away? Bobby Chacon: I was in no good shape. Shame on me. In 1982, I got myself back together to win another title. This was a very bad time in my life. I lost my wife. I remarried. I had a lot to deal with during this time. I made some mistakes. Frisco: You fought the night after your wife's death and won. Everyone I know says that was the night that Bobby Chacon made time stand still. For that one moment in time, after you had won the fight and walked out to the center of the ring and broke down, everyone in the arena seemed to feel your pain. Everyone at that moment was in tears. Was that the most emotional moment of your life? Bobby Chacon: Yeah. I loved my wife. A time of my life that I regret. (Bobby was clearly touched by the memory of his wife and her suicide. He deeply regrets her death and was very remorseful about decisions he made back then. He fought the night after her death because that was his job. He did not allow himself to really think until after the bout. He spoke about his remarriage which he termed a big mistake. It was a marriage about money and how much he could give her. He repeatedly said how sorry he was about his first wife dying and what bad decisions he made by remarrying after. He was hurting then and it hurts him now to think about it.) Frisco: From that fight on, a story unfolded that couldn't have been written better by Hollywood. You went into the 4th Bazooka fight, not expected to win. It was back and forth and a last round knock-down secured the victory for you. You faced Boza Edwards in a title fight, close fight, great fight, but at the end, you were so close that had you knocked him down again in the last round, you might have lost, yet you did. Amazing stuff. Both of which, by the way, won Ring Magazine's Fight of the year award, back to back. When you were fighting a fight, no a War like you fought against Boza Edwards and Bazooka Limon, do you know while you are in it that its that great or are you so focused on winning that you are unaware of whats going on? Bobby Chacon: I just knew I had to fight my heart out. I wanted to win and I fought the best I could. Frisco: Your fight which has me upset to this day against Ray Mancini, who got a fast start and was winning the fight, but it was early. In my opinion, the ref stopped the fight as you began to come on, rather than a round earlier when he had you in trouble. Did you think you were robbed of your chance to win the Lightweight title, or am I wrong and it was stopped correctly. Bobby Chacon: I lost because one wife died and one entered. I was preoccupied with problems. Wrong words before the fight (new wife). Everything was wrong. Frisco: After that, you were pretty much written off (again), yet you went on to fight a few more fights that are considered classics by fight fans, against Art Frias and Rafael Solis, Freddie Roach. You were still winning and drawing crowds. So what made Bobby Chacon finally decide he had enough of boxing and retire? Bobby Chacon: I was stopped in 89. They wouldn't let me fight no more. I Passed all the tests and the Athletic Commission stopped me from fighting. I'd still be fighting if they let me. Frisco: You fought a lot of tough guys and a lot of tough fights. Who was the hardest hitter you ever faced and what win are you most proud of? Bobby Chacon: The hardest hitterss were Arguello and Olivares. My proudest win was against Danny Lopez. Frisco: I'd like to name some of the opponents you faced and maybe you could tell us a little about what you thought of each man. Bobby Chacon on his opponents: Danny Lopez: He was favored to win. His clock needed cleaning. Great fighter. Ruben Olivares: The best fighter there was. He knew what he was doing. Alexis Arguello: Excellent fighter. Hit hard. Had good range (reach) and he knew how to use it. Beat him on scorecards. Boza Edwards: Tough! He didn't give up anything. He kept coming at me. More "box and punch" that guy, then split! Ray Mancini: Wrong place at the wrong time. I couldn't fight anyone that year. Frisco: There's a lot of rumors about Bobby Chacon today, how he's not happy, and he's in bad shape. A lot of people will probably see this interview as its going to be up on two different web sites. Maybe you can tell us the truth, set the record straight from the man himself. How is Bobby Chacon really doing these days? Bobby Chacon: Bobby is sharp as a tack. He looks good and he clearly treasures the fans and the writers who wrote about him. He has good memories of his career. He says he's not happy but he's always smiling. How can you be happy when you live with your mother and your stepfather? The Commission (California State Athletic Commission) hurt me, not the fans. Frisco: I'd like to thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions and give us boxing fans a chance to hear what one of the most exciting fighters of all time had to say. Bobby, you were one Hell of a Fighter!