In 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.
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. Surprising the mourners, Benitez rose to his feet for a boxing pose in front of Camacho’s coffin.
WILFRED BENITEZ STATS
(click link to see fight)
|Loss||15-6-1||Scott Papasodora||UD||10||9/18/90||Winnipeg Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
|Win||1-5-1||“Uncle” Sam Wilson||UD||10||8/24/90||Regency Hotel, Denver, Colorado||98-91, 99-90, 96-93.|
|Loss||13-1||Pat “The King” Lawlor||PTS||10||5/23/90||Tucson, Arizona|
|Win||0-10||Ariel Conde||KO||7||3/8/90||Americana Motel, Phoenix, Arizona|
|Loss||54-9||Carlos Maria del Valle Herrera||TKO||7||11/28/86||Salta, Argentina|
|Win||14-3-1||Harry “Heatwave” Daniels||UD||10||9/17/86||Fifth Regiment Armory, Baltimore, Maryland||98-95, 98-95, 97-95.|
|Win||19-0||Paul “Forest” Whittaker||UD||10||7/1/86||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana||6-4, 5-4, 6-3.|
|Loss||19-0||Matthew Hilton||KO||9||2/15/86||Paul Sauve Arena, Montreal, Quebec, Canada||Benitez knocked out at 2:59 of the ninth round.|
|Win||21-1||Kevin Moley||UD||10||8/21/85||Madison Square Garden, New York||8-2, 7-3, 7-3.|
|Win||15-17||Danny “Thunderhand” Chapman||RTD||7||7/6/85||Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC||Chapman retired at 3:00 of the seventh round.|
|Win||26-2-2||Mauricio Bravo||TKO||2||3/30/85||Oranjestad, Aruba|
|Loss||13-1||Davey “Bronx” Moore||TKO||2||7/14/84||Stade Louis II, Monte Carlo, Monaco||Referee stopped the bout at 1:18 of the second round.|
|Win||8-7-1||Stacy McSwain||UD||10||2/11/84||Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan|
|Loss||36-2-2||Mustafa Hamsho||UD||12||7/16/83||Dunes Hotel, Las Vegas||109-118, 111-118, 111-117.|
|Win||14-2-4||Tony Cerda||UD||10||5/18/83||Dunes Hotel, Las Vegas|
|Loss||35-1||Tommy Hearns||MD||15||12/3/82||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana||WBC World Light Middleweight Title. 137-146, 139-144, 142-142.|
|Win||74-2||Roberto Duran||UD||15||1/30/82||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas||WBC World Light Middleweight Title. 143-142, 145-141, 144-141.|
|Win||22-0||Carlos Santos||UD||15||11/14/81||Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas||WBC World Light Middleweight Title. 147-138, 145-140, 145-139.|
|Win||30-2-1||Maurice Hope||TKO||12||5/23/81||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas||WBC World Light Middleweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 1:56 of the 12th round.|
|Win||50-4-2||Pete Ranzany||UD||10||12/12/80||Sacramento, California||99-92, 97-94, 97-94.|
|Win||37-5||Tony Chiaverini||TKO||8||8/1/80||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas|
|Win||34-3-1||Johnny Turner||TKO||9||3/16/80||Jai Alai Fronton, Miami, Florida||Referee stopped the bout at 2:57 of the ninth round.|
|Loss||25-0||Sugar Ray Leonard||TKO||15||11/30/79||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas||WBC World Welterweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 2:54 of the 15th round.|
|Win||27-7-5||Harold “The Artist” Weston||UD||15||3/25/79||Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico||WBC World Welterweight Title. 149-138, 144-142, 146-145.|
|Win||27-1-3||Carlos Palomino||SD||15||1/14/79||Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico||WBC World Welterweight Title. 142-145, 146-143, 146-142.|
|Win||4-4||Vernon Lewis||UD||10||12/8/78||Madison Square Garden, New York|
|Win||31-3-1||Randy Shields||RTD||6||8/25/78||Madison Square Garden, New York|
|Win||15-1||Bruce Curry||MD||10||2/4/78||Madison Square Garden, New York||9-1, 7-3, 5-5.|
|Win||14-0||Bruce Curry||SD||10||11/1877||Madison Square Garden, New York||4-5, 5-4, 7-3.|
|Win||29-6-3||Ray Chavez Guerrero||TKO||15||8/3/77||Madison Square Garden, New York||NYSAC Light Welterweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 1:41 of the 15th round.|
|Win||8-8-1||Easy Boy Lake||TKO||1||7/1/77||Lionel Roberts Stadium, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands||Referee stopped the bout at 2:48 of the first round.|
|Win||—||Roberto “Speed Racer” Gonzalez||KO||1||6/2/77||Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands|
|Win||27-8-3||Melvin Dennis||UD||8||3/6/77||Ohio Correctional Facility Prison, Marion, Ohio||7-1, 8-0, 5-1.|
|Draw||22-6-4||Harold “The Artist” Weston||PTS||10||2/2/77||New York City||7-3, 5-5, 5-5.|
|Win||35-1-1||Tony Petronelli||TKO||3||10/16/76||Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico||WBA World Light Welterweight Title.|
|Win||25-2-1||Emiliano Villa||UD||15||5/31/76||San Juan, Puerto Rico||WBA World Light Welterweight Title. 150-138, 149-137, 148-137.|
|Win||74-9-3||Antonio Cervantes||SD||15||3/6/76||Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico||WBA World Light Welterweight Title. 148-144, 147-142, 145-147.|
|Win||26-11-4||Chris Fernandez||PTS||10||12/13/75||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||10-4-1||Omar Ruben Realecio||TKO||6||10/20/75||Felt Forum, New York City|
|Win||15-16-1||Marcelino Alicia||TKO||2||9/1/75||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||2-0||Young Woodall||KO||4||8/19/75||Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles|
|Win||—||Eyue Jeudy||KO||4||8/1/75||Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles|
|Win||9-16-3||Jim “John” Henry||TKO||8||6/28/75||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||132-71-20||Angel “Robinson” Garcia||PTS||10||6/9/75||Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||6-0||Santos Solis||PTS||10||5/5/75||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||0-3||Wilbur Seales||TKO||4||3/31/75||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||6-8||Santiago Rosa||KO||4||2/8/75||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||0-4||Francisco “El Presidente” Rodriguez||TKO||7||1/4/75||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||37-10-3||Lawrence Hafey||UD||8||12/2/74||Felt Forum, New York City|
|Win||16-7-2||Terry Summerhays||TKO||6||10/25/74||Madison Square Garden, New York||Referee stopped the bout at 1:51 of the sixth round.|
|Win||5-16-1||Al Hughes||TKO||5||9/16/74||Felt Forum, New York City||Referee stopped the bout at 2:06 of the fifth round.|
|Win||4-3-1||Easy Boy Lake||TKO||5||8/31/74||Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles|
|Win||0-3||Carlos Crispin||TKO||3||6/26/74||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||0-1||Ives St Jean||KO||1||6/21/74||Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles|
|Win||4-2-1||Easy Boy Lake||KO||5||5/11/74||Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles|
|Win||1-5-1||Juan Disla||TKO||3||4/30/74||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||1-1-1||Victor Mangual||PTS||8||4/1/74||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||—||Roberto Flanders||TKO||4||2/18/74||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||—||Joe York||KO||2||1/26/74||Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles|
|Win||0-0-1||Hector Amadis||KO||4||1/7/74||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||0-1||Jesse Torres||KO||2||11/30/73||Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles|
|Win||—||Hiram Santiago||KO||1||11/22/73||San Juan, Puerto Rico|