Wilfred Benítez (born September 12, 1958) is a Puerto Rican former professional boxer….and the youngest world champion in the sport’s history. Earning his first of three career world titles in separate weight divisions at the age of seventeen….he is best remembered as a skilled and aggressive fighter with exceptional defensive abilities. Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996….he is considered among the best Puerto Rican boxers of all time….sharing the honor with Félix Trinidad, Wilfredo Gómez, Carlos Ortiz, Héctor Camacho and Miguel Cotto.
On March 6, 1976, at age 17, with his High School classmates in attendance….he faced WBA Light Welterweight champion Antonio Cervantes. Known as Kid Pambele….Cervantes was 30 years old….had a record of 74-9-3 with 35 KO’s….and had made 10 title defenses. The result was a fifteen-round split decision in Benitez’s favor. Benitez retained the championship three times….and then moved up to the welterweight division…. Benítez challenged WBC World Champion Carlos Palomino in San Juan. On January 14, 1979.