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Old 11-04-2012, 12:17 PM   #1
Senor Pepe'
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Default Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

July 16, 1983

Jimmy Jacobs, the 'brilliant' Manager for Wilfred Benitez, decided on having his
fighter Wilfred Benitez take on the 'rough and bruising' Mustapha Hamsho in a
12-Round Middleweight Bout.

Jacobs thought he out-smarted Al Certo (new Manager for Hamshso), by gettng
him agree to have Mustapha come in at a fight contract weight of 158 lbs.

The nearly 30 year-old (29 years, 9 months) 5' 8" southpaw Hamsho was having
difficulty getting down to the 160 lb. Middleweight limit.

Hamsho at 36-2-2 (22 KO's), was the #1 WBC Middleweight, and suprisingly the
#12 WBA Middleweight. And nobody was thrilled about getting in the ring with him,
as he threw elbows, forearms and his head into anybody in front of him. To say
Mustapha was a rough fighter with dirty fouling tactics, would be an understatement.

On the other side, the stylist Benitez wanted to move up in weight, and they believed
at 158 lbs., the 5' 10" and nearly 25 year-old (24 years, 10 months) would have little
trouble with the 'crude' and slow-punching Mustapha Hamsho.

Wilfred, with a record of 45-2-1 (28 KO's), had only 'one-bout' since losing his WBC
Light-Middleweight Championship to Thomas Hearns in December 1982. Wilfred had
fought Tony Cerda in May 1983, and in that Middleweight bout, Wilfred was stung and
shaken, while winning an unimpressive Unanimous 10-Round Decision.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

Wilfred Benitez was still the #1 WBC Light-Middleweight, and was the 'mandatory'
Challenger for Thomas Hearns WBC Championship.

To help Wilfred prepare for Mustapha Hamsho, Jimmy Jacobs fired Wilfred's father as
Head Trainer, and brought in Victor Machado.

Machado was helping imrove Wilfred's already excellent defense. On the offensive side,
Cus D'amato was brought in as a consultant, and tried to offer advice on Wilfred using
angles to improve his leverage, and increase his punching power.

But Machado was comfortable with Wilfred's punching power, stating that Wilfred hit
alot harder than most people think. And though he's not a 'knockout puncher', he has
better-than-average power, and can hurt anybody in the Middleweight Division.

D'amato was keen to say, Wilfred was already an excellent defensive fighter, and to
try and improve on that would be a waste of time. What Wilfred needed, was more
power and harder hitting to compete at Middleweight.

For a fight purse, Wilfred was to get $150,000 - something that Jimmy Jacobs accepted.

Jacobs stated, that Wilfred was in a 'no lose' situation. If we win, we get Marvin Hagler
and $1,250,000 for that Championship bout. If we lose, we still get Thomas Hearns
and the $600,000 return match guarantee for December 1983.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Senor Pepe' View Post
Wilfred Benitez was still the #1 WBC Light-Middleweight, and was the 'mandatory'
Challenger for Thomas Hearns WBC Championship.

To help Wilfred prepare for Mustapha Hamsho, Jimmy Jacobs fired Wilfred's father as
Head Trainer, and brought in Victor Machado.

Machado was helping imrove Wilfred's already excellent defense. On the offensive side,
Cus D'amato was brought in as a consultant, and tried to offer advice on Wilfred using
angles to improve his leverage, and increase his punching power.

But Machado was comfortable with Wilfred's punching power, stating that Wilfred hit
alot harder than most people think. And though he's not a 'knockout puncher', he has
better-than-average power, and can hurt anybody in the Middleweight Division.

D'amato was keen to say, Wilfred was already an excellent defensive fighter, and to
try and improve on that would be a waste of time. What Wilfred needed, was more
power and harder hitting to compete at Middleweight.

For a fight purse, Wilfred was to get $150,000 - something that Jimmy Jacobs accepted.

Jacobs stated, that Wilfred was in a 'no lose' situation. If we win, we get Marvin Hagler
and $1,250,000 for that Championship bout. If we lose, we still get Thomas Hearns
and the $600,000 return match guarantee for December 1983.
Strange how some rough and tumble opponents like Hamsho & Curry gave Benitez trouble.......while he outboxed Duran......and hung tough with the much bigger Hearns, plus SRL.

And then he one punched k.o.'ed Maurice Hope.
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:06 PM   #4
Senor Pepe'
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

LH 71,

Mustapha Hamsho, a different breed. The guy was a straight forward moving 'animal'.

Like a charging 'Bull'.

Cus D'amato wanted Wilfred to move from side-to-side, and to nail Mustapha with right
hand punches to the side of his head.

Mustpaha always moved forward, because he didn't have good footwork. He just charged in,
throwing punches to the shoulders and hips. Wilfred's counter-punching off the ropes would
be useless against the iron-chinned Hamsho. Movement was the only way Wilfred would win.

Before the bout, Al Certo said, fighting Wilfred was the easiest $250,000 Mustapha would earn.
He thought Wilfred was a bum, and a myth. He can't punch, and he belongs back at Welterweight.

Al Certo predicted Mustapha would win every round, and pitch a shut-out over the 12-Rounds.

He was damn near perfect in his prediction, as the Rindisde Press had it 119-111
(9-1-2 in Rounds).
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Old 11-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

July 16, 1983

Mustapha Hamsho took it right to Wilfred at the opening bell, and drove him into
the corner, and pelted him with left forearms to the throat, bringin tears to
Wilfred's eyes.

If Wilfred thought this was going to be a s stylistic boxing match, with 'perfect'
boxing rules, he was wrong.

In Round 2, Mustapha again mauled Wilfred into the corner, and bombed away with
punches everywhere on the 'Boy Wonder'. At the end of the Round, Mustapha nailed
Wilfred with a left-cross, and he looked ready to crash.

In between Rounds, Victor Machado opened an 'ammonia capsule' under Wilfred's nose,
to revive him, as he was nearly out.

In Round 3, Mustapha again mauled his out-gunned opponent, and drove him to the
canvas '5-times', by pushing him down. Though none were called 'knockdowns', it
was obvious to everyone that Wilfred was going to be in for a long afternoon.

Round after round, Mustpaha kept Wilfred pinned in his own corner, and raked him with
anything he wanted to. When Wilfred did punch back, he found himself hitting an
armored tank, as his punches just bounced off of the Syrian Express.

After 10-Rounds, Mustapha was a 'mile ahead' on the scorecards, and looked totally
confident. While Wilfred was completely bewildered and had no intentions of trying
to fight back, other than trying to survive.

Rounds 11 and 12 were a mere formality.

Scorecards;
* 118-109 (10-2-0 in Rounds)
* 118-111 (9-2-1 in Rounds)
* 117-111 (9-3-0 in Rounds)

Sports Illustrated * 120-107 (12-0-0 in Rounds)
Ringside Press..... * 119-111 (9-1-2 in Rounds)

Jimmy Jacobs, 'It was a 'Middleweight Mistake'. Wilfred was totally and completely
dominated. We will go back down to 154 lbs., and hopefully get a rematch with
Thomas Hearns for the WBC Championship. I would like Wilfred to have 'two' light
tune-up bouts first. We need a 2-month rest, and we will come back in October 1983
against someone in the Top 20 of the Light-Middleweight Division.'

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Last edited by Senor Pepe'; 11-04-2012 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

A very stupid move by Wilfred's manager, Jimmy Jacobs.

Instead of taking on Mustapha Hamsho for $150,000 on July 16, 1983.

He could have had Wilfred take '2' Televsion bouts for $125,000 each.

One versus Light-Middleweight prospect Donald King in May 1983, and
one versus Nino Gonzalez in late-July 1983.

Wilfred would have had an easy time with both of those lower Top 20 - 154 lb.
fighters. Probably 'stopping' Donald King late, and winning a 'solid' 10-Round Decision
over Nino Gonzalez.

Instead, the bout with Mustapha Hamsho 'ruined' Wilfred.

Last edited by Senor Pepe'; 11-04-2012 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

I don't think this bout ruined Wilfred at all.He lay in the corner of his own choice and barely fought, just treated it like a sparring session.He hardly looked uncomfortable and at times still had Hamsho looking like a fool trying to land a punch on him.

If he realised it was going to be too much of an effort to properly outscore HAmsho from the inside, i don't know, but it was a disgraceful performance from him.

Can't say there was really a single fight that did the damage to him.He wasn't the same after the Moore bout(where he still seemed fine for as long as it went, stopped because of the injury) then Hilton horribly slaughtered him.He didn't look good throughout that fight though and was finished after it.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

I've heard Hamsho was one of the first fighters to use alternative workouts (increased shadow boxing and sparring and swimming) instead of road work, since he had bad knees or something since he had bad knees.

I seem to remember reading that in the Ring's post fight coverage of his rematch with Curtis Parker. I think Dick Tiger did the same as well.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

Lora,

Wilfred looked 'so bad', that Jimmy Jacobs lost any future '6-figure' Televsion Bouts for his
fighter in 1983 and early 1984.

It was a poor tactical move by the 'smart' fight manager.

In early May 1983, Jimmy Jacobs was offered -

For Sunday -May 22, May 1983 - NBC-TV offfered up Indianapolis Light-Middleweight -
#17 ranked - Donald King 15-2-0 (12 KO's) - with a $125,000 fight purse for Wilfred at The Sands
in Atlantic City.

Jimmy Jacobs foolishly turned it down, labeling Donald King 'too dangerous' for such a little
fight purse. Jacobs wanted $175,000, which was turned down.

What Jimmy Jacobs should have done, schedule 4 bouts with lower Top 20 tier Light-Middleweights
throughout mid and late 1983, and position Wilfred for the 'New' IBF Light-Middleweight Championship in
March 1984, where Wilfred would have had a great chance of winning over Mark Medal.

Last edited by Senor Pepe'; 11-04-2012 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

By this point Wilfred was shot and suffering from brain damage. Thats an established fact.

On the other hand Hamsho fought the dirtiest fight Ive ever seen and could have easily been disqualified in any of the rounds.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:14 PM   #11
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

I concur with Tywin that he already likely had serious damage in the bank coming into this fight and the physicality of Hamsho likely did him no favors.

And Pepe', if I was his manager, I think I would've avoided Don Lee as well. He was a high risk, low reward fight with serious ability to inflict damage. Pursuing Mark Medal at 154 lbs would've been an excellent plan, though.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

He stayed in the corner of his own accord.Anyone that has seen the fight will see that.Hamsho's roughousing didn't seem to play much of a part in that decision.

True enough about the brain damage, but i don't think there was any obvious in ring evidence of him having become badly declined going into or during this fight.

I tend to think it was more hubris and lethargy that had him fight like he did than brain damage.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:11 PM   #13
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

Benitez never should have gone up to middleweight. He was not a shot fighter in 1983, he fought a bad style and at a weight he should not fight at. He should have always stayed at 154. He lost motivation when he didn't have a title.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:15 PM   #14
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

I think the decision to stay in the corner, like he did with Moore, was because he was shot, his legs, his timing, his ability to pull the trigger. Everything.

He went to the corner because thats where he could rest his legs and keep an opponent in front of him so he didnt have to go looking for him or work as hard setting him up.

A year or two earlier this might have worked because he was still a defensive wizard and an fairly accurate puncher. By this time his ability to slip punches was rapidly decaying and his work rate and reflexes had dwindled to nothing.

Hamsho may have always posed problems given his size, physicality, and his incredibly dirty tactics (as long as a ref doesnt disqualify him).

Moore was a decent enough fighter but Benitez anywhere near his prime should have had no problem taking him to the woodshed. Benitez got stopped due to injury, true, but that injury was caused by a pretty hard knockdown that Benitez would never have been caught with in his prime.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:46 PM   #15
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Default Re: Wilfred Benitez vs. Mustapha Hamsho 'Middleweight Mistake'

Quote:
Originally Posted by D9Garrard View Post
I concur with Tywin that he already likely had serious damage in the bank coming into this fight and the physicality of Hamsho likely did him no favors.

And Pepe', if I was his manager, I think I would've avoided Don Lee as well. He was a high risk, low reward fight with serious ability to inflict damage. Pursuing Mark Medal at 154 lbs would've been an excellent plan, though.
D9,

Not Dangerous Don Lee, the tall southpaw Middleweight Bomber.

Donald King, was a Light-Middleweight from Indianapolis, with a record of 15-2-0 (12 KO's)
at that time in May 1983.

Donald King was a 5' 10" 154 lb. hard-puncher. More of a B-Level - Davey Moore. A good fighter,
who faded after 6 or 7 Rounds.

He would have made Wilfred 'pay attention' during the first 6-Rounds, but 'El Radar' would have enough
of a punch to stop Donald King late, say by TKO 9.

In mid-1983, Wilfred was not even the age of 25 yet. He was not a 'shot fighter', but he was a fragile one.
Jimmy Jacobs was a smart manager, so if he thought Wilfred could handle Mustapha Hamsho, his fighter
still had to have something left in his tank.

And, Trainer - Victor Machado was no 'clueless guy off the street'. He was also a very smart guy.

In summary, they under-estimated Mustapha Hamsho's strength and power. He took away Wilfred's
legs early, and that was 'all she wrote'.

Last edited by Senor Pepe'; 11-04-2012 at 11:02 PM.
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