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, Gray (147) ran the champion relatively close and 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. From thereon though Gray did well and staggered Napoles on occasion, when often beating his man to the punch, but it was not enough.

Despite being allowed time out to challenge Carlos Monzon (l rtd 6 on 9 February 1974 at the Puteaux Circus Tent, Paris, France) 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.