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|Posted: Tue Feb 19th, 2019 12:30 am||
|Sugar Ray Leonard
First world title Ray Leonard was a title bought against champion Wilfred Benitez. He fought Wilfred Benitez for the WBC Welterweight Championship on November 30, 1979, at Caeser’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. There was a capacity crowd of about 4,600. Leonard received $1 million and Benitez, a two-division champion with a record of 38–0–1, received $1.2 million.
It was a highly competitive and tactical battle. In the first round, Leonard rocked Benitez with a left hook that came off a jab and right cross. Late in the third, Leonard dropped Benitez on the seat of his pants with a stiff left jab. More embarrassed than hurt, Benitez got up quickly. Benitez started improving in the fourth, slipping numerous punches and finding the range with his right hand. "I wasn't aware I was in a championship early because I hit him so easy", Leonard said. "But then he adjusted to my style. It was like looking in a mirror".
In the sixth, there was an accidental clash of heads, which opened a cut on the forehead of Benitez. Blood flowed down his forehead and the bridge of his nose but stayed out of his eyes.
Leonard landed the harder punches and had Benitez hurt several times late in the fight, but Leonard couldn't put him away. Benitez was very slick. "No one, I mean no one, can make me miss punches like that", Leonard said.
Going into the final round, Leonard led by scores of 137–130, 137–133, and 136–134. The two went toe-to-toe in the fifteenth. Late in the round, Leonard dropped Benitez with a left. He got up, but after a few more punches, the referee stopped the fight. The time was 2:54 of round fifteen.
The Boxing Writers Association of America and The Ring named Leonard "Fighter of the Year" for 1979.
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Last edited on Tue Feb 19th, 2019 12:41 am by Papa Voo
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