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Rafael Limon-Original Bazooka


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His career can be summed up like this: early promise and success, later demise. Rafael "Bazooka" Limon was the first known boxer to use this alias and sure enough, he could punch and was durable, like most Mexicans. He was known for his intense rivalry with Bobby Chacon, a "Mexican vs Chicano" rivalry you might say. Limon had a long career but his prime was rather short, already at the end of his 20's he was a spent force you might say. That is probably because he started his pro career at 18. He has defeated fighters such as Bobby Chacon, Rolando Navarrete, Lionel Rose, Chung Il Choi and Idelfonso Barthelemy and won the WBC title twice, also giving Alexis Arguello and Cornelius Boza Edwards good fights. This is the story of Rafael Limon-THE OB!


Rafael Limon Burgos was born 12 January 1954, in the town of Tlaxco, the municipality of Tlaxcala, in the southeast of Mexico. He never knew his father or his identity as a child and thought his father was a soldier who lived with his mother and his siblings and himself. The soldier drank and beat his mother. They moved to Mexico City when he was 4 and at the age of 15, he met his real father on the street. His father tried to snatch his purse but Rafael punched him and ran home. The man followed him and then his mother introduced him as Rafael's biological father. He joined the army in 1972 and it was there he discovered boxing. He was then introduced to the noted trainer Kid Rapidez and turned pro in December same year. Standing at 5'5 1/6 (166 cm) and with a 66-inch reach (168 cm), he at first fought as a super bantam. He lost several fights early on, before he matured as a fighter. On 7 December 1975, he fought Bobby "Schoolboy" Chacon for the first time, at Plaza del Toros (bull ring) in Mexicali. Although Chacon at 27-2 had a far better record than the 20-7 Limon, Limon surprised by winning by UD10. He started winning regularly after that and in August 1976, he went to Inglewood for the second time and beat the faded former bantam world champion Lionel Rose by TKO3. After that, he started fighting at 130, because that fight was fought at that weight limit. Aside from suffering one loss by disqualification, he went undefeated in the next 18 fights and won the NABF title by TKO10 against Ernest Bing, 4 March 1978. After having 7 non-title bouts, he again faced Chacon in his first defense of the title, 9 April 1979 at Sports Arena in Los Angeles. Despite Chacon being ahead after 7 rounds, the fight was proclaimed as a technical draw after Limon suffered a bad cut after an unintentional clash of heads. Following this fight, Limon received an offer to fight the WBC champion Alexis Arguello and took it. They fought at Felt Forum in New York on 8 July and both guys sustained some damage, but Limon got the worst of it. In the 11th, the fight had to be stopped, once again because of a clash of heads which cut Limon badly over the right eye. This time, he lost by TKO. Arguello was clearly ahead on all scorecards. He however managed to last longer than his nemesis against the Skinny Explosive Man: Chacon succumbed after 7 rounds.


On 21 March next year, he lost the rubbermatch with Chacon by split decision, despite knocking him down once and breaking his nose. Chacon won by the slighest of margins, likely also because the fight was in his turf in California. Limon on the other hand was unmarked. After this setback, Limon recaptured the NABF title by beating the 27-1 Frankie Baltazar by TKO4. In his next fight on 11 December, he fought Idelfonso Barthelemy of Venezuela for the vacant WBC title, vacated by Arguello who was moving up. It was a harder fight than expected but Limon in the end prevailed and stopped Barthelemy by TKO15, after being ahead on all scorecards. He thus became the world champion for the first time. He would however lose the title in his very first defense, taking on the taller and slicker Cornelius Boza Edwards, 8 March 1981 in Stockton, CA. Edwards dropped him in the fifth and went on to win convincingly on all scorecards, one of them however only by two points. Limon was unable to land enough while the taller and rangier Edwards outjabbed and outboxed him in many rounds. He came back to recapture the title against the man who shocked the world by knocking out Boza Edwards-Rolando Navarrete of The Philippines. They fought on 29 May 1982 in The Aladdin, Las Vegas and Navarrete was ahead going into round 12, when Limon first sent him into a corner with a left hand and then him him with 12 more punches before the fight was over. He made one successful defense this time, against the guy who Navarrete also beat in his first defense-Korean Chung Il Choi. Once again, after being behind on all scorecards, Limon came from behind to stop Choi by TKO in the 7th round. He then fought his fourth fight against Chacon, 11 December that same year, at Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento. It would be an unforgettable war and made the FOTY in The Ring. Limon put Chacon down in round 3 with a left hand and then by a looping right in round 10. Chacon was however able to land the lead right more and more as the fight went on and he put Limon down with only seconds to go of the fight, after hitting him with two of those lead rights. In the end, all judges gave the fight to Chacon, but by very close scores of 143-141, 141-140 and 142-141. After this fight, Limon was a spent force, pretty much.


He was easily blown out by the super-fast and slick Hector Camacho in August next year, in 5 rounds in a fight for the same vacant WBC title. Limon was down thrice before being stopped on his feet. He retired after this merciless destruction, but came back in 1986-which proved to be unwise. In his very first comeback fight, he was stopped by Oscar Bejines by TKO4. After beating the 17-15 Santos Moreno by KO4 next year, in 1988 he got stopped by Julio Cesar Chavez by TKO7. He also lost the rematch with Navarrete on points in December that year. In 1990, he became infamous by pulling down the trunks of Sharmba Mitchell in a fight where he was taking a steady beating and in the end lost by UD8. He finally retired in 1994, after losing to John Armijo by KO7. His record is therefore 53 wins and 23 losses and he has scored 38 ko's, and had 2 draws also. At the same time as having a boxing career, Limon served in the army for 30 years before retiring in the late 90's. He became good friends with Bobby Chacon after they both retired, until Chacon's passing in 2016. Limon remembers him with a lot of "joy, love and affection". He now lives in Mexico City and has 5 children and has been married 5 times. He is currently married and has invested in real estate. Rafael Limon was as tough as they come and hard-hitting fighter who was pure blood and guts, just like his professional rival Chacon. He was slightly less polished technically, but still very capable. Thank you.



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