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, Mon­tréal, 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. 
WinRober­to “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
WinEyue 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
WinRober­to FlandersTKO42/18/74San Juan, Puer­to Rico
WinJoe 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
WinHiram San­ti­a­goKO111/22/73San Juan, Puer­to Rico