Antonio Cervantes vs. Wilfred Benitez

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30-year-old Cervantes vs. 17-year-old Benitez

1976-03-06 : Wilfred Benitez 138½ lbs beat Antonio Cervantes 140 lbs by SD in round 15 of 15


Notes

  • Cervantes was a 4 to 1 favorite.
  • Benitez became the youngest fighter in boxing history to win a world title at the age of 17 years, 5 months, and 23 days
  • From The Ring: Boxing in the 20th Century by Stanley Weston and Steve Farhood:
"If you argue that great boxers are born, not made, Wilfred Benitez is your prime piece of evidence. The Puerto Rican boy wonder turned pro at age 15. Two years later, he became the youngest world champion in history. On March 6, Benitez, 25-0, challenged WBA junior welterweight champion Antonio Cervantes at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. He didn't figure to threaten "Kid Pambele"; the Colombian had made 10 successful defenses, and was being mentioned as an opponent for the incomparable Roberto Duran. Cervantes and his teenaged foe boxed evenly until Benitez' extraordinary speed and skill surfaced in the fifth. He took four consecutive rounds, jabbing smartly and making the champion miss with his hooks. Cervantes rallied in the 11th, but couldn't maintain his momentum. After 15 rounds, Benitez, a clear winner, settled for a split decision victory (scores of 148-144, 147-142, and 145-147). At age 17½, he was too young to appreciate history, but old enough to have made it."