benitez-wilfred-111In his prime, boxer Wilfred Benitez lived the good life, he was a playboy away from the ring and he once dated Sugar Ray Leonard’s sister. He drove expensive cars and lived in expensive homes. He was also treated like a king in Puerto Rico and then his life took an unexpectant turn.


Wilfred Benítez (born September 12, 1958 in New York, New York) was a boxer. He is remembered best as a skilled and aggressive fighter with exceptional defensive abilities who won world championships in three separate weight divisions, and was the youngest world champion in boxing history. Benitez has been a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame since 1996.

Benitez fought the biggest boxers of the day, including: Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns.

Benitez’s career went downwards after the fight with Hearns, as did his lifestyle. In 1984, he tried a comeback under the hand of Yamil Chade, but this proved unsuccessful. On November 28, 1986, with his health declining, he went to Buenos Aires, Argentina to fight middleweight Carlos Herrera. Benitez was stopped in seven rounds. But that wasn’t the worst part of the trip. His money for the fight was stolen by the fight’s promoter, along with his documents and passport, and he was stranded in Argentina for one year. After much government huddling and talks, he was finally able to fly back home to Puerto Rico in 1988. A touching public moment in his life came when, upon leaving the airplane that brought him back, he handed his seven year-old daughter an Argentine toy doll he had bought for her before his fight there, and told her he hadn’t forgotten her one single day during his time away.

09120619aHis last fight, took place in Winnipeg, Canada, and was defeated on a 10 round decision against Scott Papasadora.

After this, he returned to Puerto Rico, where he lived with his mother Clara, on a $200 a month pension provided by the World Boxing Council. Benitez now suffers from an incurable, degenerative brain condition many believe was caused by the blows he took in the ring. In 2002, Leonard visited Benítez, who by this time had forgotten his identity.

During the visit, the fight was shown on television. Consequently, Benítez remembered the event, only saying “Ray, I did not train for that fight.” In 2004, he was diagnosed with diabetes. Benitez’s mother died in the summer of 2008.

Ring 10, a non-profit organization that helps impoverished former fighters, provides a monthly stipend to Benitez and established “The Wilfred Benitez Fund” to raise more money to aid the fallen champion.

During 2012, Benitez was honored with a statue in Puerto Rico.

On November 27, 2012, a smiling and healthy looking Benítez attended the funeral of Hector Camacho in Puerto Rico, arriving on a wheelchair. Benítez, arrived with boxers like Felix Trinidad, Wilfredo Gomez, and Alfredo Escalera.[6] Surprising the mourners, Benitez rose to his feet for a boxing pose in front of Camacho’s coffin.


(click link to see fight)

Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss15-6-1Scott PapasodoraUD109/18/90Winnipeg Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Win1-5-1"Uncle" Sam Wilson UD108/24/90Regency Hotel, Denver, Colorado98-91, 99-90, 96-93.
Loss13-1Pat "The King" LawlorPTS105/23/90Tucson, Arizona
Win0-10Ariel CondeKO73/8/90Americana Motel, Phoenix, Arizona
Loss54-9Carlos Maria del Valle HerreraTKO711/28/86Salta, Argentina
Win14-3-1Harry "Heatwave" DanielsUD109/17/86Fifth Regiment Armory, Baltimore, Maryland 98-95, 98-95, 97-95.
Win19-0Paul "Forest" WhittakerUD107/1/86Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana6-4, 5-4, 6-3.
Loss19-0Matthew HiltonKO92/15/86Paul Sauve Arena, Montreal, Quebec, CanadaBenitez knocked out at 2:59 of the ninth round.
Win21-1Kevin MoleyUD108/21/85Madison Square Garden, New York8-2, 7-3, 7-3.
Win15-17Danny "Thunderhand" ChapmanRTD77/6/85Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DCChapman retired at 3:00 of the seventh round.
Win26-2-2Mauricio BravoTKO23/30/85Oranjestad, Aruba
Loss13-1Davey "Bronx" MooreTKO27/14/84Stade Louis II, Monte Carlo, MonacoReferee stopped the bout at 1:18 of the second round.
Win8-7-1Stacy McSwainUD102/11/84Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Loss36-2-2Mustafa HamshoUD127/16/83Dunes Hotel, Las Vegas109-118, 111-118, 111-117.
Win14-2-4Tony CerdaUD105/18/83Dunes Hotel, Las Vegas
Loss35-1Tommy HearnsMD1512/3/82Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LouisianaWBC World Light Middleweight Title. 137-146, 139-144, 142-142.
Win74-2Roberto DuranUD151/30/82Caesars Palace, Las Vegas WBC World Light Middleweight Title. 143-142, 145-141, 144-141.
Win22-0Carlos SantosUD1511/14/81Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las VegasWBC World Light Middleweight Title. 147-138, 145-140, 145-139.
Win30-2-1Maurice HopeTKO125/23/81Caesars Palace, Las Vegas WBC World Light Middleweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 1:56 of the 12th round.
Win50-4-2Pete RanzanyUD1012/12/80Sacramento, California99-92, 97-94, 97-94.
Win37-5Tony ChiaveriniTKO88/1/80Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
Win34-3-1Johnny TurnerTKO93/16/80Jai Alai Fronton, Miami, FloridaReferee stopped the bout at 2:57 of the ninth round.
Loss25-0Sugar Ray LeonardTKO1511/30/79Caesars Palace, Las Vegas WBC World Welterweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 2:54 of the 15th round.
Win27-7-5Harold "The Artist" WestonUD153/25/79Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto RicoWBC World Welterweight Title. 149-138, 144-142, 146-145.
Win27-1-3Carlos PalominoSD151/14/79Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto RicoWBC World Welterweight Title. 142-145, 146-143, 146-142.
Win4-4Vernon LewisUD1012/8/78Madison Square Garden, New York
Win31-3-1Randy ShieldsRTD68/25/78Madison Square Garden, New York
Win15-1Bruce CurryMD102/4/78Madison Square Garden, New York9-1, 7-3, 5-5.
Win14-0Bruce CurrySD1011/1877Madison Square Garden, New York4-5, 5-4, 7-3.
Win29-6-3Ray Chavez GuerreroTKO158/3/77Madison Square Garden, New YorkNYSAC Light Welterweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 1:41 of the 15th round.
Win8-8-1Easy Boy LakeTKO17/1/77Lionel Roberts Stadium, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin IslandsReferee stopped the bout at 2:48 of the first round.
Win--Roberto "Speed Racer" GonzalezKO16/2/77Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Win27-8-3Melvin DennisUD83/6/77Ohio Correctional Facility Prison, Marion, Ohio7-1, 8-0, 5-1.
Draw22-6-4Harold "The Artist" WestonPTS102/2/77New York City 7-3, 5-5, 5-5.
Win35-1-1Tony PetronelliTKO310/16/76Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto RicoWBA World Light Welterweight Title.
Win25-2-1Emiliano VillaUD155/31/76San Juan, Puerto RicoWBA World Light Welterweight Title. 150-138, 149-137, 148-137.
Win74-9-3Antonio CervantesSD153/6/76Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto RicoWBA World Light Welterweight Title. 148-144, 147-142, 145-147.
Win26-11-4Chris FernandezPTS1012/13/75San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win10-4-1Omar Ruben RealecioTKO610/20/75Felt Forum, New York City
Win15-16-1Marcelino AliciaTKO29/1/75San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win2-0Young WoodallKO48/19/75Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Win--Eyue JeudyKO48/1/75Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Win9-16-3Jim "John" HenryTKO86/28/75Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win132-71-20Angel "Robinson" GarciaPTS106/9/75Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win6-0Santos SolisPTS105/5/75San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win0-3Wilbur SealesTKO43/31/75San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win6-8Santiago RosaKO42/8/75San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win0-4Francisco "El Presidente" RodriguezTKO71/4/75San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win37-10-3Lawrence HafeyUD812/2/74Felt Forum, New York City
Win16-7-2Terry SummerhaysTKO610/25/74Madison Square Garden, New YorkReferee stopped the bout at 1:51 of the sixth round.
Win5-16-1Al HughesTKO59/16/74Felt Forum, New York CityReferee stopped the bout at 2:06 of the fifth round.
Win4-3-1Easy Boy LakeTKO58/31/74Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Win0-3Carlos CrispinTKO36/26/74Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win0-1Ives St JeanKO16/21/74Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Win4-2-1Easy Boy LakeKO55/11/74Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Win1-5-1Juan DislaTKO34/30/74Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win1-1-1Victor MangualPTS84/1/74San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win--Roberto FlandersTKO42/18/74San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win--Joe YorkKO21/26/74Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Win0-0-1Hector AmadisKO41/7/74San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win0-1Jesse TorresKO211/30/73Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Win--Hiram SantiagoKO111/22/73San Juan, Puerto Rico