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Old 06-27-2012, 06:42 AM   #1
Senor Pepe'
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Default Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

Gregorio 'Papa' Bentiez turned his son 'Professional' on November 22, 1973,
when he was only 15 years of age.

In his 'first professional bout', he won by (KO 1) over Hiram Santiago.

His Fight Purse was $100

He started out as a 135 lb. Lightweight.

Fighting several of his early bouts in Puerto Rico, until it was found out that 'El Radar'
was under-age, they shipped Wilfred over to Philipsburg, St. Marteen for fighting professional bouts,
until he was of legal age (16).

Though his record shows an 11-0-0 (10 KO's) record up to his 16th Birthday on September 12, 1974
- there appears to be approximately another 20 'unsanctioned smoker bouts' that 'Papa' Benitez threw
his 15 year-old son into during 1974 (January thru August).

When Wilfred was the 'legal' age of 16, they shipped him up to New York,
to fight an 8-Round 'Main Event' at the Felt Forum in New York, on
September 16, 1974.

On the streets in New York, the Puerto Rican fight fans were well aware
of the 'Wunderkind', the young teenage boxer (born in the Bronx, New York) from Puerto Rico.

In his 'first' professional bout in New York, Wilfred stopped (TKO 5) veteran 'B-Level'
journeyman - Al 'Hey Albert' Hughes, in a Light-Welterweight bout.

Wilfred Benitez had a listed weight of 144 lbs. for that bout.

Though it was registered as his 12th professional win, he had nearly 30 'pro' fights already.

Last edited by Senor Pepe'; 07-01-2012 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

R/T

Wilfred started boxing at age 7, in March 1966. His first bout was in the Puerto Rican Junior Golden Gloves,
where he fought to a Draw.

From that point on, he won numerous Junior Titles, then progressed into the National Amateurs.

Wilfred Benitez, at age (13 1/2) was the 1972 Puerto Rican (54 Kg) 119 lb. Amateur Bantamweight Champion.

In July 1972, Wilfred defeated Roberto Roman Guzman, in the (54 Kg) 119 lb. Puerto Rico Bantamweight Championships,
but was too young to enter the 1972 Olympics.

He turned 14 (September 12, 1972).

November 12 thru 18, 1972 the 'Central American & Caribbean Championships' in Costa Rica.
Wilfred lost (L Dec) in the (54 Kg) 119 lb. Bantamweight Semi-Finals, to eventual Champion, Cuban Orlando Martinez.
(Orlando Martinez was the 1972 Olympic Gold Medal Winner and World Amateur Champion)

Wilfred also lost to Derrik Holmes (USA) (L KO 2) in a January 1973 - USA vs. Caribbean Tournament

After that loss, in February 1973 he moved up to the (57 Kg) 125 lb. Featherweight level, and competed at that weight
thoughout the first-half of 1973.

At that level, he 'split' '2-bouts' with now 125 lb. (57 Kg) Puerto Rican Featherweight Champion - Roberto Roman Guzman in a Puerto Rican Tournament in March 1973.

In May 1973, scored an 'upset' when he defeated Canadian Featherweight - Dave Anderson (Top 10 World Amateur) by decision, in a sanctioned North American Boxing Tournament.

Last edited by Senor Pepe'; 07-01-2012 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

R/T

On Wilfred Benitez vs. Ray Leonard in the 'amateurs'.

Luis Rivera (Puerto Rican boxer) said that the 'two' met in a
May 1972 North American Amateur Tournament.

Wilfred Benitez (who was only 13 1/2) and was a 119 lb. Bantamweight,
was moved up to fight in the 125 lb. Featherweight level, when Puerto Rico needed someone
to compete in that division.

Ray Leonard, who had just turned 16, was still competing at 125 lbs.

Luis Rivera, said it was a 'good' 3-Round competitive bout. But Ray Leonard scored
with more cleaner punches, to win a 'close' Decision.

Last edited by Senor Pepe'; 06-27-2012 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

R/T

Puerto Rican Amateurs (1971 - 1972 - 1973)

* Wilfredo Gomez fought at 112 lbs. (51 Kg) Flyweight in 1971 and 1972, but moved up to 119 lbs. Bantamweight in February 1973

* Wilfred Benitez fought at 119 lbs (54 Kg) Bantamweight in 1971 and 1972, but in February 1973 moved up to 125 lbs. (57 Kg) Featherweight, and then moved up to 132 lbs. (60 Kg) Lightweight in August 1973.

* Roberto Roman Guzman fought at 119 lbs. (54 Kg) Bantamweight in 1972, and 125 lbs. (57 Kg) Featherweight in 1972 and 1973, and fought Wilfred Benitez '6' times, (winning '2' and losing '4').

* Jose Luis Vellon fought at 125 lbs. (57 Kg) in 1972, and at 132 lbs. (60 Kg) Lightweight in 1973, and split '4-bouts' with Wilfred Benitez in July and August 1973.

* Luis Davila fought at 132 lbs. (60 Kg) Lightweight in 1971 and 1972. (Turned Professional - March 1973)

* Laudiel Negron fought at 139 lbs. (63.5 Kg) Light-Welterweight in 1971 and 1972. (Turned Professional - October 1972)

* Nicolas 'Nicky' Ortiz fought at 147 lbs. (67 Kg) Welterweight in 1971 and 1972. (Turned Professional - January 1973)

* Jose Colon fought at 156 lbs. (71 Kg) Light-Middleweight in 1972 and 1973. (Turned Professional - March 1974)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* In October 1973, Jose Luis Vellon defeated Wilfed Benitez for the Puerto Rican 132 lb. (60 Kg) Lightweight Championship,
for the right to represent Puerto Rico at the 1973 Central American and Caribbean Championships (held in November 1973).

* On Thursday Night - November 22, 1973 - Wilfred Benitez (Age; 15 years and 2 months) turns professional.

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Old 06-27-2012, 03:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

I can't wrap my brain around the mindset of a father that treats his still-maturing son as a commodity in that way, but maybe that's just me. From everything I've read, Papa Benitez was a piece of shit.
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

Quote:
Originally Posted by salsanchezfan View Post
I can't wrap my brain around the mindset of a father that treats his still-maturing son as a commodity in that way, but maybe that's just me. From everything I've read, Papa Benitez was a piece of shit.
by 24 years old Wilfred was beginning to show brain damage from fighting so much at a very young age.
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

SalSanchez,

In 1974 (January thru August),

The 'Low Life Scumbag' Gregorio 'Papa' Benitez pimped his 15 year-old son, into
fighting 'smoker-bouts' along the southern (Dutch Territory) of St. Marteen.

Usually in the back rooms or alleys of the Front Street Bars in Philipsburg.

Wilfred was about 135 to 140 lbs. and at age 15, was thrown in against Bar Bouncers
and 'Street Fighters' who were bigger than him.

With boxing gloves and 'make-shift boxing rings', 'Papa' Scumbag came up with all sorts
of 'money deals', in throwing his teenage son in the ring.
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

That's pretty impressive that he turned pro at age 15.
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Senor Pepe' View Post
R/T

Wilfred Benitez, at age (13 1/2) was the 1972 Puerto Rican (54 Kg) 119 lb. Amateur Bantamweight Champion.

In July 1972, Wilfred defeated Roberto Roman Guzman, in the (54 Kg) 119 lb. Puerto Rico Bantamweight Championships,
but was too young to enter the 1972 Olympics.

He turned 14 (September 12, 1972).

November 12 thru 18, 1972 the 'Central American & Caribbean Championships' in Costa Rica.
Wilfred lost (L Dec) in the (54 Kg) 119 lb. Bantamweight Semi-Finals, to eventual Champion, Cuban Orlando Martinez.
(Orlando Martinez was the 1972 Olympic Gold Medal Winner and World Amateur Champion)

Wilfred also lost to Derrik Holmes (USA) (L KO 2) in a January 1973 - USA vs. Caribbean Tournament

After that loss, in February 1973 he moved up to the (57 Kg) 125 lb. Featherweight level, and competed at that weight
thoughout the first-half of 1973.

At that level, he 'split' '2-bouts' with now 125 lb. (57 Kg) Puerto Rican Featherweight Champion - Roberto Roman Guzman in a Puerto Rican Tournament in March 1973.

In May 1973, scored an 'upset' when he defeated Canadian Featherweight - Dave Anderson (Top 10 World Amateur) by decision, in a sanctioned North American Boxing Tournament.
Amazing, Derrick Holmes beat both Benitez and Gomez.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titan1 View Post
Amazing, Derrick Holmes beat both Benitez and Gomez.

Derrik Holmes starched them both, with 'one-punch' Knockouts.

Would have liked to see Wilfred Benitez at the 1974 World Amateurs in
Havana, Cuba (August 1974), but he still would not have been the age
of 16.

But, Puerto Rico had one hell of a 132 lb. (60 Kg) Lightweight
in Jose Luis Vellon, who had beaten Wilfred a couple of times, in 1973.
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:21 PM   #11
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

Quote:
Originally Posted by salsanchezfan View Post
I can't wrap my brain around the mindset of a father that treats his still-maturing son as a commodity in that way, but maybe that's just me. From everything I've read, Papa Benitez was a piece of shit.
Historically, he reminds me a lot of Amadeus Mozart's father.
What a misused talent early on!
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

The first time I saw Wilfred Benitez fight as a professional,

October 1975 at Madison Square Garden, when he was only 16.

Wilfred fought a 'tough little' Canadian club-fighter, Terry Summerhays.

Wilfred fought OK for the first 2 Rounds, but Summerhays started to get
a little rough in the middle rounds of the Scheduled 8-Rounder, and evened
up the fight, by driving Wilfred into the ropes.

When suddenly in Round 6, as Summerhays was charging in, Wilfred unloaded
a hard punch to the chin of the oncoming Canadian, who fell like a rock into
the ropes.

A few moments later, Wilfred was punching Summerhays into the ropes where the
fight was stopped. The Puerto Rican fans went crazy.
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Old 06-29-2012, 06:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Senor Pepe' View Post
The first time I saw Wilfred Benitez fight as a professional,
October 1975 at Madison Square Garden, when he was only 16.
Wilfred fought a 'tough little' Canadian club-fighter, Terry Summerhays.
Wilfred fought OK for the first 2 Rounds, but Summerhays started to get
a little rough in the middle rounds of the Scheduled 8-Rounder, and evened
up the fight, by driving Wilfred into the ropes.
When suddenly in Round 6, as Summerhays was charging in, Wilfred unloaded
a hard punch to the chin of the oncoming Canadian, who fell like a rock into
the ropes.
A few moments later, Wilfred was punching Summerhays into the ropes where the
fight was stopped. The Puerto Rican fans went crazy.
There must be some inbreeding in Canada for all the "Summerhays"
Here in Indy, we watched Marvin Johnson's slow rise to prominence in his early pro bouts at the Tyndal Armory.
After an 8 or 9-0 start they brought in rugged journeyman Gary Summerhays from Canada as a major 'test'. We were concerned (hey, this guy fought on 3-4 continents!) A jaw like iron but was a punching bag for Marvin. Scoring?:
9-1, 8-2 and that's being generous.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:20 PM   #14
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

The Summerhayes Brothers,,,,

Terry and Gary, from Brantford, Ontario.

Fought on the same fight card in many bouts.

Terry, more of a 'club-fighting/journeyman' who fought at Welterweight, who was
tough, but had no-punch. He was a 'safe opponent' for up and coming local prospects.

Gary, a fairly decent Light-Heavyweight, who got into the World-Rated Top 20 a few times.
Did win the Canadian Light Heavyweight Championship, as well as the British-Commonwealth Championship.

Gary, was durable, and a 'streaky fighter', who could hang with the Top 10 Light-Heavyweights for
10-Rounds.

Now, about 'in-breeding',,,,,,,,sometimes there's not alot to do in those small northern territory towns.
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:32 AM   #15
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez (Early Career)

Which country was it that Benitez found himself in, stuck for 12 months, when after a fight his promoter has taken off and left him with nothing. I still find these circumstances to be almost unbelievable
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