1973-09-22 Jose Napoles w pts 15 Clyde Gray, Maple Leaf Garden, Toronto, Canada - WBA/WBC

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1973-09-22 Jose Napoles w pts 15 Clyde Gray, Maple Leaf Garden, Toronto, Canada - WBA/WBC. Referee: Jay Edson. Scorecards: 71-67, 71-67, 71-65. Although losing his unbeaten record, with Gray (147) running the champion relatively close there was not too much in it at the close after he really went for it in the 15th round when sending in some heavy, scoring blows. As was his way, Napoles (147) started well, connecting with hard shots to head and body, and had Gray down in the fifth with a cracking left hook to the jaw. Thereafter, although Gray did well when often beating his man to the punch it was not enough.

Despite being allowed time out to challenge Carlos Monzon (l rtd 6 at the Puteaux Circus Tent, Paris, France on 9 February 1974) for the world middleweight title, a few weeks later the WBC warned Napoles that they would strip him unless his next defence was against the leading contender, Hedgemon Lewis, to unify the title. It had been rumoured that Napoles was trying to arrange a match against either Angel Espada or Bruno Arcari, to which the WBC described as playing with fire. In mid-April it was announced that Napoles would be defending against Lewis, the provisional date given was 8 June prior to it being changed to 3 August due to Napoles requiring more time to take surplus weight off.