1965-07-10 Carlos Hernandez w co 3 (15) Percy Hayles, National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica - WBA/WBC

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1965-07-10 Carlos Hernandez w co 3 (15) Percy Hayles, National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica - WBA/WBC. Referee: Willie Pep. Although Hayles (136½) made a bright start in the opening two rounds it was clear that the big-punching champion was merely biding his time while feeling his way into a contest that was being watched by 17,000 excited fans. That all changed in the third session as Hernandez (137½) finally decided that Hayles was no danger to him and started to let his punches go. Driving Hayles around the ring under a stream of combinations to head and body, Hernandez ended the contest with a smashing left hook that saw the referee count the local out with seven seconds of the round remaining.

On 3 August, Jose Napoles outpointed Eddie Perkins over ten rounds at the Monumental Bullring, Juarez, Mexico, in what the WBC considered to be an eliminating bout.

Meantime, Hernandez, having failed to make a fight with Ismael Laguna for the lightweight title, found himself suspended for ‘Drunk Driving’ and then charged with ‘Assault’ in October. Unable to leave the country, the charges were later dropped and Hernandez got back into action early in 1966 after his suspension at the hands of the Venezuelan Boxing Commission had ended on 31 December.

Having turned down an offer to defend against Napoles, Hernandez then suffered a bad non-title defeat in Panama at the hands of Laguna (l rsc 8 on 19 February at the Juan Diaz Stadium, Panama City), prior to signing for a defence against the European champion, Sandro Lopopolo. A former Olympic silver medallist, the southpaw Lopopolo had lost just twice in 44 pro contests, to Piero Brandi and Juan Albornoz, and had beaten J. D. Ellis, Doug Vaillant, Giordano Campari and Brandi. While there was no doubt that he was a clever, compact box-fighter with a future, Lopopolo was rated ninth in the division by The Ring magazine and appeared fortunate to get a title shot ahead of others, especially the European champion, Albornoz.