This fight was between two truly great boxers who graced the welterweight division during the golden age of boxing (1964 – 1995) in Carlos Palomino vs Wilfred Benitez…..and it also was a history making fight….as Benitez became the youngest boxer in history to win a major world title….in what was a terrific fight between two great warriors of the ring.
Carlos Palomino is a retired Mexican professional boxer…..who is a former WBC welterweight champion and member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Palomino was an All-U.S. Army champion in 1971 and 1972….and as an amateur, won the 1972 National AAU light welterweight champion by defeating eventual Olympic gold medalist Ray Seales. In 1974, Palomino went through an increment in quality of opposition…having won six fights and lost one. After winning two fights in 1976, Palomino found himself and his trainers travelling to London….where an internationally televised world championship bout awaited him against WBC world welterweight champion John H. Stracey….a British boxing teacher who had dethroned José Nápoles as world champion. Palomino became a world champion on the night of June 22 of that year at Wembley Arena….after Stracey eventually succumbed to a blistering body attack….being put on the canvas twice from left hooks to the liver. He waited six months for his next fight which was against another very popular boxer of Mexican background and cross-town rival Armando Muñíz. This was a fight that had many fans guessing who’d win it for months before it happened….but it also made history in the boxing books:…for when Palomino and Muñíz met on January 21 of 1977….it was the first time in boxing history two college graduates met for a world title. Palomino earned a degree in recreation administration from Long Beach State….while Muniz had graduated from Cal State Los Angeles….where he majored in Spanish and minored in math, and was working toward a graduate degree in administration. Palomino and Muniz (now a high school teacher in California) fought what the book The Ring: Boxing in the 20th. Century has described as one of the best fights of 1977.After 14 rounds, all three judges had the fight tied on their scorecards, but Palomino scored two knockdowns in the fifteenth and final round and he retained the world title by a knockout in that final round. A return to London resulted in an 11th round knockout victory over Dave Boy Green….after which he defended against Everaldo Acosta Azevedo and Jose Palacios.In 1978, he defended his crown with a win over Ryu Sorimachi by a knockout in seven….a knockout in nine over Mimoun Mohatar….and a decision in fifteen in his long awaited rematch with Muniz. Palomino’s championship run ended in 1979….when he traveled to Puerto Rico….where he was defeated on January 13 by hometown boxer Wilfred Benítez via a controversial fifteen round split decision.In his next fight, Palomino met legendary Roberto Durán on June 22 of that year at Madison Square Garden….in another nationally televised bout….as part of the Larry Holmes vs Mike Weaver world heavyweight championship bout’s undercard. Palomino lost to Duran by decision in ten rounds, and he announced his retirement from boxing right away….but returned on January 10, 1997 by beating Ismaél Díaz by a knockout in round nine. He won four fights that year. including one over former world champion Rene Arredondo….but when he lost by decision in ten to former Oscar De La Hoya world title challenger Wilfredo Rivera on May 30 of 1998, he decided to retire for good, and has stayed in retirement ever since.
Wilfred Benítez is a Puerto Rican former professional boxer and 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 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.
Any way you look at it…..this was an awesome fight between two really great boxers of the golden age of boxing.