During this time of stacked cards and a ‘you’ve never had it so good’ outlook from boxing promoters, it’s worth remembering some of the great cards we fight fans were treated to back in the 1980s. On this day in 1986, at Madison Square Garden, boxing fans got to see Hector Camacho go up against Edwin Rosario, with Julio Cesar Chavez and Mike Tyson also in action on the card.

It proved to be a memorable night. Tyson, still just 19 years of age, wiped out Reggie Gross in a round, the future heavyweight champion and absolute superstar going 22-0. Chavez defended his WBC junior lightweight title with a win over Refugio Rojas, “J.C Superstar,” scoring a seventh-round stoppage win to improve to improve to 52-0. Like Tyson, Chavez would go on to enjoy real stardom and acclaim.

In fact, in time, Chavez would fight both headlining fighters – Camacho and Rosario, with the Mexican legend beating them both. But on this night, Camacho was the star, even though he had a real scare of a tough time with his countryman, fellow Puerto Rican Rosario. The flashy and cocksure southpaw, known as “The Macho Man,” was perfect at 28-0, and he was the reigning and defending WBC lightweight champion.

Camacho was being looked at as the next lower weight king, yet on this night, he was forever changed as a fighter. Former WBC champ Rosario hit and hurt Camacho like nobody else had ever done, with Camacho barely surviving the fifth round and being hurt by another powerful hook late in the fight. Camacho walked away with a controversial 12-round split decision win, the crowd booing the decision and cheering “Chapo” in support of challenger Rosario.

Camacho would never be quite as sure of himself in his future fights, his reluctance to engage apparent, his swagger diminished in a quite noticeable manner. Camacho would remain unbeaten for almost five more years before he was upset by Greg Haugen, but he was never the same “Macho Man” after being so badly rattled by Rosario. It wasn’t until September of 1992 that Camacho fought Chavez, with Julio administering a punishing decision win over his bitter rival.

Rosario went on to halt Livingstone Bramble to win the WBA lightweight title, with “Chapo” then being stopped late in a great fight with Chavez the following year. Rosario was a genuine banger, and he thrilled fans with numerous action fights. Sadly, Rosario passed away at the young age of 34 in December of 1997. Equally as tragically, Camacho died after being shot while sitting in a car outside a bar in Bayamon in November of 2012, with Camacho passing away four days after being shot in the head.

Back on this day in 1986, Camacho was a fighter on the verge of greatness, while Rosario was a warrior who pushed him harder than anyone else ever had. Madison Square Garden was really rocking on this night. What a shame Camacho never granted Rosario a rematch.

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