Name: Wilfred Benitez
Alias: El Radar / Bible of Boxing
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, USA
Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Height: 5′ 10″ / 178cm
Reach: 70″ / 178cm
Boxing Record: click
Managers: Gregorio Benitez; Bill Cayton and Jim Jacobs (1977-1983)
Trainers: Gregorio Benitez; Emile Griffith (for bouts against Vernon Lewis, Carlos Palomino, and Johnny Turner)
Wilfred Benitez was a boxing prodigy. He was an outstanding counter-puncher and a great defensive fighter, which earned him the nickname "El Radar."
Benitez defeated Antonio Cervantes by a fifteen-round decision to win the WBA Junior Welterweight Championship on March 6, 1976. At the age of 17 years, 5 months, and 23 days, he became the youngest world champion in boxing history. After two title defenses, Benitez was stripped of the championship on November 28, 1976, for failing to meet a contracted title defense date against Cervantes. Benitez was scheduled to fight Cervantes on December 4, 1976, but he was injured in a car accident, and the WBA refused to allow a postponement.
Benitez captured his second world title on January 14, 1979, beating Carlos Palomino by a fifteen-round decision to win the WBC Welterweight Championship. In his first title defense, Benitez defeated Harold Weston by a fifteen-round decision, avenging a ten-round draw with Weston from 1977. Benitez lost the title to Sugar Ray Leonard by a fifteenth-round technical knockout on November 30, 1979.
Benitez knocked out Maurice Hope in twelve rounds to win the WBC Super Welterweight Championship on May 23, 1981. He became the first boxer in 43 years to win world titles in three weight divisions. He made two successful title defenses, outpointing Carlos Santos and Roberto Duran over fifteen rounds, then lost the title to Thomas Hearns by a fifteen-round decision on December 3, 1982.
Benitez's time as an elite fighter ended when he was in his mid-20s, but he continued to box until the age of 32 and suffered severe brain damage. His condition is called post-traumatic encephalitis. Benitez's elderly mother took care of him until she passed away in 2008. He is now cared for by his sister, Yvonne. His brother, Gregorio Jr., also suffered brain damage as a result of his boxing career.
Benitez earned more than $7 million dollars in his career, but the money is now gone. He receives pensions from the Puerto Rican government and the WBC.
- Has a record of 8-2 (2 KOs) in World Title fights.
- Has a record of 7-4 (1 KOs) against former world titlists.
- Boxing historian Herbert Goldman ranked Benitez as the 5th greatest welterweight of all-time in 1989.
- The Ring ranked Benitez as the 4th greatest junior middleweight of all-time in 1994.
- The Ring ranked Benitez as the 30th greatest fighter of the past 50 years in 1996.
- The Associated Press ranked Benitez as the 4th greatest junior welterweight of the 20th century in 1999.
- "Benitez forfeits title" St. Petersburg Times, November 29, 1976
- "A Sad Tale of the Tape" New York Daily News, December 28, 1995
- "Too Many Beatings; The Boxer's Disease Haunts Wilfred Benitez and His Family " New York Times, November 12, 1997
- Cyber Boxing Zone: Wilfred Benitez Please note: the contributions button on that site no longer works.
| WBA Light Welterweight Champion
1976 Mar 6 – 1976 Nov 28
| WBC Welterweight Champion
1979 Jan 14 – 1979 Nov 30
Sugar Ray Leonard
| WBC Light Middleweight Champion
1981 May 23 – 1982 Dec 3