Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustafa Hamsho

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1983-07-16 : Wilfred Benitez 157¾ lbs lost to Mustafa Hamsho 158 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12


  • The fight took place in an outdoor stadium at the Dunes Hotel on a day when the temperature was 101°.
  • In early 1983, Benitez split with his father, Gregorio Benitez, who had trained him since his first day in the gym, and hired Victor Machado as his new trainer. Later, Cus D'Amato was brought in as an adviser. D'Amato said, "Benitez can punch a lot harder than people think. But he doesn't punch; he just comes out to outbox opponents with his smarts. I talked to him about moving side to side and punching." Pat Putnam of Sports Illustrated reported: "During training, Benitez showed no inclination to adopt D'Amato's suggestion."
  • Two months earlier, in his first fight as a middleweight, Benitez defeated Tony Cerda by a 10-round decision. Pat Putnam called Benitez's performance "dismal."
  • Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press reported: "Benitez was thoroughly dominated Saturday by Hamsho, the World Boxing Council's top-ranked challenger, who used his strength and brawling style to pin Benitez in his corner through much of the bout in taking a unanimous 12-round decision. From the opening bell, when Hamsho backed Benitez into his corner, he dominated the fight, throwing punches from every direction while Benitez answered with only weak counterpunches that had little effect on Hamsho. . . . Neither fighter seemed seriously hurt during the bout, although Benitez appeared stunned in the third round when he was pushed or wrestled to the canvas four times. Referee Davey Pearl ruled no knockdowns and warned Hamsho to stop pulling and pushing Benitez. Hamsho, 157¾, ran his record to 37-2-2, while Benitez, 157¾, fell to 44-3-1. Hamsho received $200,000 and Benitez $150,000 for the fight."
  • The Associated Press scored the fight 119-111 for Hamsho, and Sports Illustrated had it 120-107 for Hamsho.
  • Jim Jacobs, Benitez's manager, said after the fight, "You keep moving up and up until finally you reach a plateau where the people are stronger and tougher. Hamsho was much stronger than Wilfred. I think this fight dictated that Wilfred will fight as a junior middleweight."