1977-08-03 Wilfred Benitez w rsc 15 (15) Ray Chavez Guerrero, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NY
1977-08-03 Wilfred Benitez w rsc 15 (15) Ray Chavez Guerrero, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NY. Referee: Arthur Mercante. Defending the NYSAC version of the title for the first time and having had to take off seven pounds on the day of the fight, Benitez (139½) started well enough with solid jabs and combinations, but Chavez Guerrero (139½) was a cagey customer with a tight defence who would not be drawn in to a fight. Occasionally Chavez Guerrero would land a sneak punch or two, but when he did come forward after being picked off by counters he was soon back in defensive mode, bobbing and weaving with a high guard. In the final round Benitez at last got the bit between the teeth, and a terrific left hook saw Chavez Guerrero up against the ropes being battered by the hardest blows of the fight before falling over the bottom two strands. Having taken the mandatory ‘eight’ count Chavez Guerrero went back into the fray, but on dropping his hands to his sides the referee pulled him out of the contest with just 1.19 remaining.
As the number one contender for the world welterweight title, following a six-round stoppage win over Randy Shields at Madison Square Garden on 25 August 1978 Benitez announced that in future he would only fight at the higher poundage.