1979-03-04 Maurice Hope w rtd 8 (15) Rocky Mattioli, Ariston Theatre, San Remo, Italy - WBC
1979-03-04 Maurice Hope w rtd 8 (15) Rocky Mattioli, Ariston Theatre, San Remo, Italy - WBC. Referee: Ray Solis. Starting like a bomb, the challenger had Mattioli (152) on the floor from a southpaw left to the jaw within the first ten seconds. Although the latter responded well, having broken his right wrist when falling he was right up against it from there onwards. Following a frantic next couple of sessions, when both men landed heavily, Hope (154) came on strong to batter away at Mattioli in the fifth and sixth before the Australian-based Italian had an excellent seventh when forcing his man to the ropes with heavy lefts. However, it later transpired that the seventh and eighth sessions had been Mattioli’s swan song, and with the wrist in a bad way he was retired by his corner before the ninth could get underway.
When it was announced that Hope would be making his first defence against Mike Baker there was much surprise as he had never set the world alight, being an honest to goodness fighter. While Baker had won 34 of 47 contests, the only two wins of any note were against Leo Saenz and Casey Gacic. Regardless of that, the WBC had rated him at number eight.