A multiple-time world champion in three weight divisions, Chávez was listed by The Ring magazine as the world's best boxer, pound for pound, from 1990 to 1993. During his career he held the WBC super featherweight title from 1984 to 1987, the WBA and WBC lightweight titles between 1987 and 1989, the WBC light welterweight title twice between 1989 and 1996, and the IBF light welterweight title from 1990 to 1991. He also held the Ring magazine and lineal lightweight titles from 1988 to 1989, and the lineal light welterweight title twice between 1990 and 1996. Chávez was named Fighter of the Year for 1987 and 1990 by the Boxing Writers Association of America and The Ring respectively