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Frankie Randall, ‘The Surgeon’ dies, aged 59

Frankie Randall, the talented champ who ended Julio Cesar Chavez’s lengthy unbeaten streak, has passed, writes Derek Bonnett

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Frankie Randall and Julio Cesar Chavez
Frankie Randall and Julio Cesar Chavez

Frankie Randall aka “The Surgeon”, a three-time junior-welterweight titlist, passed away on December 23. Titles aside, Randall is famous for one bout primarily and that is his monumental upset of Julio Cesar Chavez in 1994. Randall snapped the Mexican’s 90-bout unbeaten streak with a much-deserved split decision. Randall was 59 at his time of passing.

Randall was born in Birmingham, Alabama on September 25, 1961, but resided for much of his life in Morristown, Tennessee. He built a very stalwart amateur record of 263-23 as a five-time Golden Gloves champion. Randall successfully rose through the professional ranks, stopping Freddie Pendleton in five rounds, before losing a narrow contest to Edwin Rosario at York Hall in east London in 1985. He remained steadfast to his dreams and fought on, enduring a rematch draw with Pendleton and a shock KO loss to Primo Ramos by 1987. He built a 17-fight win-streak until his 1994 challenge of Julio Cesar Chavez. This included a rematch stoppage of Rosario.

Against Chavez, Randall fought his greatest night as a competitor. He was faster, stronger and more accurate with his punches. He had the champion in ‘agua caliente’ from the first round on. To cement his win, Randall dropped the iron-chinned champion in round 11. It was a classic one-two with Randall’s right being on the money. The sound of the connect is so clear on the replay audio. Chavez’s own penalties for low blows in rounds seven and 11 paved the way for Randall to finally realise his dream to be world champion at the age of 32.

Randall would lose his title on somewhat dubious terms in the Chavez rematch, dropping a split technical decision due to a point deduction for an accidental head-clash. However, his championship days were not over. Randall fought an important trilogy with Juan Martin Coggi, which saw him win, lose and reclaim another version of the 140-pound title by 1996. After that, Randall’s career wound down quickly as he declined further away from his prime.

Randall fought on until 2005. However, his efforts mostly advanced the causes of younger fighters such as Khalid Rahilou, Oba Carr and Antonio Margarito. In 2004, Chavez and Randall did it one more time to complete their trilogy even though both were well past their best days. Chavez won a unanimous decision over 10 rounds.

Randall retired with a record of 58-18-1 (42). He fought on by necessity and many feel he sullied his reputation with unnecessary defeats. Make no mistake; Randall was a top competitor in his prime which came later in life than most fighters his weight. He respected the sport and carried his titles with honour as a responsible ambassador for boxing.

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