1976-10-16 Wilfred Benitez w rsc 3 (15) Tony Petronelli, Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico - WBA
1976-10-16 Wilfred Benitez w rsc 3 (15) Tony Petronelli, Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico - WBA. Referee: Ismael Quinones-Falu. Keeping the fight at distance and utilising his reach advantage the champion quickly took command. It was towards the end of the second that Benitez (139½) showed he was not going to hang about when he trapped Petronelli (139) in his own corner, crashing in solid head shots immediately prior to the bell. In the third it was more of the same when Benitez opened up with heavy-handed hooks to the head to drop Petronelli. Having surprisingly made it to his feet the Bostonian was again decked, this time by a left-right combination, and the referee called a halt with just 53 seconds on the clock.
After Benitez forfeited WBA recognition in December for failing to defend against Antonio Cervantes, due to not having enough time to prepare following a car accident, the latter would end up meeting Carlos Gimenez for the vacant title.
Meanwhile, Benitez continued to be recognised as the champion in New York by the NYSAC.