Every now and then, I come across a fight that just never should have been stopped by the referee….and this 10 round junior middleweight bout between Davey Moore verses Wilfred Benetiz is definitely on of those….as this bout was halted in the 2nd round after a good over-hand right landed on Benetiz jaw….which staggered the 3-time world champion in 3 different weight classes….but certainly did not put him in jeopardy….and anyway, Benetiz should have been given much more respect than this referee gave him….for this was indeed a fight between two very good fighters during The Golden Age of Boxing from 1964 to 1995.
Davey Moore was an American world junior middleweight champion boxer….and the second of two professional champions who shared the name in the 2nd half of the 20th century….as interestingly enough, both each died around the age of thirty….with the 1st Davey Moore (born 1933) as a result of punishment in a fight….while the 2nd (born 1959) as a result of an accident at his home. The latter was born in New York during the championship reign of the first…..who as a boxer rose quickly through the junior middleweight ranks—perhaps too quickly, according to some boxing writers and critics….as he had earned a spot on the 1980 US Olympic Team….but did not compete due to the US boycott of the Moscow Olympics….when in one of Moore’s early wins in June 1981 over Kevin Rooney….who would later train Mike Tyson….as Moore entered the fight with a 6-0 record….while Rooney was 15-0….when Moore won by a TKO in the seventh round of an eight round fight. After winning eight professional fights….with five by knockout….the WBA named Davey Moore their # 1 challenger….and in February 1982, he traveled to Japan….where he knocked out defending champion Tadashi Mihara in six….thus winning the WBA world junior middleweight title. In April 1982 he defended his world title against Charlie Weir in Johannesburg, South Africa, taking five rounds to knock him out….then in July 1982 he fought former world champion Ayub Kalule…..whom he stopped in ten. Moore started 1983 by beating challenger Gary Guiden, by knockout in four….after which he had been scheduled to fight Tony “El Torito” Ayala Jr…..but Ayala was convicted of burglary and rape and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Next, Moore defended against former two-division world champion Roberto Durán…..with whom he appeared to be overconfident against an aging ‘Hands of Stone’ Duran….but Duran totally outclassed him and dished out vicious punishment….while hammering shut one of Moore’s eyes….and stopping him in eight brutal rounds at Madison Square Garden. The beating was so one-sided that Moore’s mother and girlfriend were both said to have fainted at ringside. Many knowledgeable observers believed that referee Ernesto Magana should have stopped this fight far earlier. This was proven to be correct by the fact that Moore was never the same fighter after this contest. Moore won his next two fights, the second in Monte Carlo over Wilfred Benítez….as seen in this bout herewith….which should not have been stopped so early….but then Moore was disqualified in the 9th round against Louis Acaries in Paris in his next bout. In 1985, he won one more fight and was in line to challenge Carlos Santos for the IBF World Junior Middleweight title….a fight that never did materialize….but eventually he did get to challenge for the IBF title against Buster Drayton in August 1986…..which he lost by TKO in the 10th…..when he only fought 5 more times, winning 3 and losing 2.
Moore’s opponent in this fight herewith, Wilfred Benítez, was a Puerto Rican former professional boxer….who was the youngest world champion in the sport’s history….by earning his first of three career world titles in separate weight divisions at the age of 17…..he is best remembered as a skilled and aggressive fighter with exceptional defensive abilities. Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996….Benetiz is considered among the best Puerto Rican boxers of all time….as he shares that honor with Félix Trinidad, Wilfredo Gómez, Carlos Ortiz, Héctor Camacho, and Miguel Cotto.
This fight was part of ABC’s Wide World of Sports broadcasts featuring sportscasting icon Chris Schenkel on the mike….and although the audio is not the best….it still provides the viewer with plenty of understanding why this fight should have never been stopped…..and makes it worth watching.