Boxing is a brutal sport, and few men in the past forty years have been more successful at it than Julio César Chavez. the six-time world champion is a national hero in his native Mexico, and his fame was so widespread that he even got his own video game… twice! How’s that for badass? Given that Chavez was such a master of the sweet science in the ring, it stands to reason that a game based on him would be great, right? Well, not really, and his second outing, the imaginatively named Chavez II, is a lesson in mediocrity. A reskinned version of Boxing Legends of the Ring, it does little more than add Chavez to the game.
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Evander Holyfield shocked the boxing world when he took the heavyweight championship from Buster Douglas. It was only Douglas’ first defense, and the defeat demoralized him so much that he retired from boxing. Holyfield, on the other hand, went to make history as the only man to win the belt four times. Along the way, he found time to endorse a Genesis game, which like his skills, was light years ahead of his predecessor. “Real Deal” Boxing featured great visuals and solid gameplay, and it had an interesting customization dynamic that is still fun to play today.
In 1990, Sega was riding high on the success of its licensed sports games. Joe Montana Football was a solid seller, and the company was ecstatic to have secured the license of the new heavyweight boxing champ – the man who defeated “Iron” Mike Tyson – James “Buster” Douglas. Unfortunately, Sega apparently made more of an effort to get Douglas’ moniker on the box than it did to make the actual game around it, as the licensed Final Blow game it used was mediocre at best. To add insult to injury, Douglas lost his championship belt to Evander Holyfield in his very first title defense a mere nine months later.
Boxing has been referred to as the “sweet science,” but its history in video games has been more sweet and sour. From gems like Punch Out! and Fight Night to duds like Buster Douglas Knockout Boxing, there’s been a bit of everything over the years. Sega threw its hat in the ring several times during the Genesis era, and one of its better tries was Greatest Heavyweights, which pitted many of boxing’s most famous legends against each other.