1954-10-20 Johnny Saxton w pts 15 Kid Gavilan, Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - WORLD
1954-10-20 Johnny Saxton w pts 15 Kid Gavilan, Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - WORLD. Referee: Pete Pataleo. Scorecards: 9-6, 7-6, 8-6. Hampered by a novice-like referee, who continually warned him not to hold and pushed him off at times while taking no notice of low blows perpetrated by Saxton (146½), it was hardly surprising that the champion failed to perform at his best level. Although Gavilan (145½) appeared to be well in control, it was only in the last two sessions that he started putting punches together, landing several hard rights. However, it was too little and too late according to the judges.
Nat Fleischer, writing in The Ring magazine, stated that Saxton won only three rounds and Gavilan was robbed, and years later when it came to light that the new champion’s connections were people who boasted that they had controlled the welterweight division the result has to be seen as highly suspicious. As it was, both men were hauled before the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission the next day to explain their conduct, but the result stood regardless of the fact that virtually every boxing scribe present gave the fight to Gavilan.
Saxton's first defence would be against Tony DeMarco, a walk-in banger who was rated at number three in The Ring magazine. Despite losing five of 51 contests, DeMarco had drawn with the lightweight champion, Jimmy Carter, last time out and was undefeated in his last 16 contests.