1968-06-29 Carlos Teo Cruz w pts 15 Carlos Ortiz, Quisqueye Stadium, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - WORLD

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1968-06-29 Carlos Teo Cruz w pts 15 Carlos Ortiz, Quisqueye Stadium, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - WORLD. Referee: Zack Clayton. Scorecards: 145-142, 146-121, 130-131. Floored for an ‘eight’ count in the opening round after taking a hard right to the jaw, the champion fought back strongly at times but was unable to stem the aggression coming his way. Although Cruz (134½) was cut over the left eye in the fourth, an injury which bothered him throughout, it did not stop him from taking the title from the 31-year-old Ortiz (135), who was but a shadow of his former self as he struggled to keep in the fight. Despite the decision being split, Ortiz was unable to find the room and time to get his punches off and ultimately slumped to defeat against the willing Cruz.

Tough and game, and ranked at number four by The Ring magazine, Mando Ramos would be Cruz’s first challenger. Not yet 20, Ramos had won 22 of 24 contests and beaten Ray Echevarria, Frankie Crawford and Hiroshi Kobayashi, and was viewed as a real comer.