Titles: Junior welterweight champion 1976-1977, welterweight champion 1979, WBC junior middleweight champion 1981-1982. Record: 53-8-1 (31 K.O's) Born: September 12, 1958 in Bronx, New York (USA) Years active: 1973-1990 Nickname: None Perhaps no champion with the exception of Pernell Whitaker or Willie Pep have ever possessed the reflexes and natural defensive skills of this Puerto Rican prodigy. It is mind boggling to think just how good Benitez could have benn if he would have trained for fights instead of enjoying the party lifestyle. It seems almost unbelievable but he probably never reached his full potential. A brilliant counterpuncher and defensive fighter, the 5'10" Benitez often spoke of his "radar" which allowed him to avoid punches by millimeters much less inches. In 1973 he turned pro at the age of 15 in Puerto Rico. In 1976 Benitez made history by becoming the youngest fighter to ever win a world title. He was 17 when he dethroned legendary jr. welterweight Antonio Cervantes in a 15 round decision victory. He made 3 successful defenses of the title before moving up in weight and beating Carlos Palomino in San Juan. He lacked discipline and almost never trained, but it still took the talents of Sugar Ray Leonard to stop his unbeaten run at 40 fights. In 1981 he again rose in weight and destroyed super welterweight champ Maurice Hope with one single right hand. Fighting during the golden age of the welterweight and Junior middleweight divisions, Benitez lost close decisions to Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns while pulling of perhaps the finest fight of his career, in frustrating Roberto Duran for 15 rounds and winning a easy decision over him. He tried to campaign at the middleweight level but faded badly after losing to Mustafa Hamsho in 1983, and a knockout loss to Davey Moore. Although he engaged in several comebacks his skills had left him and made many wonder what had happend to his brilliance in such a short period of time.
1973 22 Nov Hiram Santiago Puerto Rico KO 1 30 Nov Jesse Torres St. Martin KO 2 1974 7 Jan Hector Amadis Puerto Rico KO 4 26 Jan Joe "Hawk" York St. Martin KO 2 18 Feb Roberto Flanders Puerto Rico KO 4 1 Apr Victor Mangual Puerto Rico W 8 30 Apr Juan Disla Puerto Rico KO 3 11 May "Easy Boy" Lake" St. Martin KO 1 21 Jun Ives St. Jean St. Martin KO 1 26 Jun Carlos Crispin St. Martin KO 3 31 Aug "Easy Boy" Lake" St. Martin KO 5 16 Sep Al Hughes NY KO 6 25 Oct Terry Summerhayes NY KO 6 2 Dec Lawrence Hafey NY W 8 1975 4 Jan Francisco Rodriguez Puerto Rico KO 7 8 Feb Santiago Rosa Puerto Rico KO 4 31 Mar Wilbur Seales Puerto Rico KO 4 5 May Santos Solis Puerto Rico W 10 9 Jun Angel Garcia Puerto Rico W 10 28 Jun Joe Henry Puerto Rico KO 8 1 Aug Eyue Jeudy St. Martin KO 4 19 Aug Young Woodall St. Martin KO 4 1 Sep Marcelino Alicia Puerto Rico KO 2 20 Oct Omar Piton NY KO 6 13 Dec Chris Fernandez Puerto Rico W 10 1976 6 Mar Antonio Cervantes Puerto Rico W 15 (Won World & WBA Jr. Welterweight Title) 31 May Emiliano Villa Puerto Rico W 15 (Retained World & WBA Jr. Welterweight Title) 16 Oct Tony Petronelli Puerto Rico KO 3 (Retained World & WBA Jr. Welterweight Title) 1977 2 Feb Harold Weston NY D 10 6 Mar Mel Dennis OH W 8 2 Jun Roberto Gonzalez St. Thomas KO 1 1 Jul Easy Boy Lake St. Thomas KO 1 3 Aug Jose Guerrero Chavez NY TKO 15 (1:41) (Retained World Welterweight Title) 18 Nov Bruce Curry NY W 10 1978 4 Feb Bruce Curry NY W 10 25 Aug Randy Shields NY KO 6 5 Dec Verno Lewis NY W 10 1979 14 Jan Carlos Palomino Puerto Rico W 15 (Won World & WBC Welterweight Title) 25 Mar Harold Weston Puerto Rico W 15 (Retained World & WBC Welterweight Title) 30 Nov Ray Leonard NV TKO by 15 (Lost World & WBC Welterweight Title) 1980 9 Mar Johnny Turner FL KO 9 1 Aug Tony Chiaverini NV KO 8 12 Dec Pete Ranzany CA W 10 1981 23 May Maurice Hope NV KO 12 (Won WBC Jr. Middleweight Title) 13 Nov Carlos Santos NV W 15 (Retained WBC Jr. Middleweight Title) 1982 30 Jan Roberto Duran NV W 15 (Retained WBC Jr. Middleweight Title) 3 Dec Thomas Hearns LA L 15 (Lost WBC Jr. Middleweight Title) 1983 18 May Tony Cerda NV W 10 16 Jul Mustafa Hamsho NV L 12 1984 11 Feb Stacey McSwain MI W 10 14 Jul Davey Moore Monte Carlo KO by 2 1985 30 Mar Mauricio Bravo Aruba KO 2 7 Jul Danny Chapman WA KO 7 21 Aug Kevin Moley NY W 10 1986 15 Feb Matthew Hilton Canada KO by 9 1 Jul Paul Whittaker LA W 10 17 Sep Henry Daniels MD W 10 28 Nov Carlos Herrera Argentina KO by 7 1990 8 Mar Ariel Conde Phoenix, AZ KO 7 23 May Pat Lawlor AZ L 10 24 Aug Sam Wilson Denver W 10 18 Sep Scott Papsadora Canada L 10