1979-11-30 Sugar Ray Leonard w rsc 15 (15) Wilfred Benitez, Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBC
1979-11-30 Sugar Ray Leonard w rsc 15 (15) Wilfred Benitez, Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla. In a contest between undefeated fighters and the richest ever outside of the heavyweight division at the time, the champion showed excellent defensive skills against the harder-hitting Leonard (146), but was unable to keep the latter out indefinitely and slumped to a controversial last-round defeat. Down in the third from a solid left jab and cut on the forehead from a clash of heads, Benitez (144½) eventually began to get his left working to even up matters, but by the ninth Leonard was letting the big punches go again. Although Benitez was hurt in the ninth and 11th, the fight was fairly even going into the 12th and after Leonard picked it up to edge the 13th and 14th it appeared that he might just be in front. Thus it was set up for a grandstand finish and with both men giving it all they had and nearing the end of the contest a left jab-left hook dropped Benitez. Up immediately, but forced to take the mandatory ‘eight’ count, Benitez tried to steady himself, but when Leonard rushed in to land lefts and rights the referee jumped between the two men to rescue the champion with just six seconds of the fight remaining.