Carlos Palomino vs. Wilfred Benitez
1979-01-14 : Wilfred Benitez 146 lbs beat Carlos Palomino 146½ lbs by SD in round 15 of 15
- Location: Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Referee: Zach Clayton 142-145
- Judge: Harry Gibbs 146-143
- Judge: Jay Edson 146-142
- WBC Welterweight Title
Benitez used quick combinations and effective counter-punching to take the title from Palomino, who was making his 8th defense. Benitez fought the latter part of the fight off the ropes, scoring with counter punches to the champ's head. Benitez used his superior quickness to neutralize Palomino's power. After the fight, Palomino blamed the loss on his nine months of inactivity after breaking his right hand.
Referee Zach Clayton received criticism for scoring the fight for Palomino, even prompting claims from Benitez's promoter, Bob Arum, of a possible "fix" attempt by rival promoter Don King. New York Times reporter Michael Katz confronted Clayton after the fight and demanded an explanation. Clayton said, "Well, the sun was in my eyes."
Palomino's portion of the purse was $465,000, while Benitez took home $90,000 and his second world title.
Post fight comments
- "Nobody in their right mind could have scored that fight for Palomino." -Bob Arum, claiming he heard rumors that referee Zach Clayton was under the influence of Don King, who wanted a Palomino victory due to Benitez having an option with Top Rank.
- "If we're such good friends, how come he's never given me a fight to work in?" -Zach Clayton, responding to Arum's King rumor.