1965-12-10 Emile Griffith w pts 15 Manuel Gonzalez, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1965-12-10 Emile Griffith w pts 15 Manuel Gonzalez, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Arthur Mercante. Scorecards: 9-5, 12-3, 11-3. Although Gonzalez had outpointed Griffith in a non-title fight, there was no way that he was going to win this one as he continually clutched and grabbed the champion while doing little work. With Gonzalez (146) using hit-and-run tactics, the action was dull as Griffith (146) tried to catch up with him, and the left hook that landed in the ninth was the only solid blow the American-Mexican, who was cut over the left eye in the eighth, delivered all night. For his part, Griffith tried to make a fight of it but was ultimately unable to catch up with Gonzalez, having to settle for the points awarded for his aggression.

After Griffith had won the world middleweight title from Dick Tiger (w pts 15 at Madison Square Garden on 25 April 1966), the NYSAC asked him to immediately vacate his welterweight crown under a State ruling, only to be told by his lawyers that they had filed a motion in the State Supreme Court to have the ruling set aside.

A few weeks later, the Philadelphia promoter, Herman Taylor, announced that he was in the process of setting up an elimination tournament involving Luis Rodriguez, Percy Manning (who had recently beaten Rodriguez), Bennie Briscoe and Stanley Hayward, prior to it being reported that Griffith would be defending against Hayward on 30 September. Needless to say, the eliminating series proposed by Taylor failed to get support and never went ahead.

Then, in early June, it was reported that the WBA had stripped Griffith of the title for not defending within the six-month period and were setting up fights between Curtis Cokes and Rodriguez and Gonzalez and Hayward to find a new champion. Although Hayward declined because he was contracted to fight Griffith, after Cokes stopped Rodriguez in the l5th round at the Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana on 6 July 1966 he went forward to meet Gonzalez for the WBA version of the championship, with the NYSAC agreeing to recognise the fight as an eliminator. Cokes and Gonzalez had already met three times with score 3-1 in favour of the former. Prior to meeting Rodriguez, Cokes had won 40 of 50 contests, beating Rip Randall, Stefan Redl, Joe Miceli, Charley Tombstone Smith, Stan Harrington, Al Andrews, Fortunato Manca and Rodriguez. He had also been beaten by Jose Stable, Rodriguez and Hayward.

In September, the State Supreme Court rejected Griffith’s claim to be allowed to hold two world titles at once, which was followed by the news that the proposed Hayward fight was off. Meanwhile, with neither Charley Shipes nor Manning being involved in the WBA eliminators, the Chairman of the Californian Boxing Commission, Doug Hayden, stated that with California being the most important boxing centre in the USA the State had every right to stage its own world welter championship contest, especially as the weight class was without a fully recognised champion. He went on to say that the fight between Shipes, the Californian champion with 28 wins from 29 contests, and Manning, who had beaten the former world champion and number-one contender, Rodriguez (w pts 10 at The Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 11 April), would be recognised by California as a world title fight. Hayden also said, after not receiving a reply from the NYSAC on the subject, that California would now become independent of all other organisations.