1962-12-08 Emile Griffith w rsc 9 (15) Jorge Fernandez, Convention Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WORLD

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1962-12-08 Emile Griffith w rsc 9 (15) Jorge Fernandez, Convention Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WORLD. Referee: Harry Krause. After what had been a tough and hard-fought contest for six rounds, with both men sending in solid punches, the champion got on top in the seventh session when dropping Fernandez (147) with a right swing to the jaw. Forced to take the mandatory ‘eight’ count, having bounced up immediately Fernandez battled on strongly until being floored by a hard right below the belt in the ninth. At that point there was chaos as Fernandez’s handlers jumped into the ring, and when the Argentinian was unable to continue, having been given five minutes to recover, following an inspection by the doctor the fight was halted. At that juncture, Griffith (145) was deemed to have retained his title. The announcement came after officials went to the Nevada State rule book, which stated that when a bout was ended by a questionable or accidental blow the man ahead on points at the time should be declared the winner.

Before taking on the top-rated Luis Rodriguez, Griffith fitted in another defence of his junior middleweight title, beating Chris Christensen on a ninth-round retirement at the KB Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark on 3 February 1963. Wishing to stay among the welters, Griffith relinquished the junior title immediately after the fight.

A pro since 1956, Rodriguez had an outstanding record, having lost just twice, against Griffith and Curtis Cokes, in 53 contests. Resilient, very fast and skilful, he numbered Gomeo Brennan, Benny Kid Paret (twice), Charley Scott, Joe Miceli, Cecil Shorts, Virgil Akins (twice), Rudell Stitch, Larry Baker, Isaac Logart, Garnet Hart, Chico Vejar, Yama Bahama (twice), Johnny Gonsalves (twice), Guy Sumlin, Cokes, Federico Thompson, Gene Armstrong and Joey Giambra among his victims.