This week in boxing history, PBC celebrates our first fight card, honors the youngest world champion in history, looks back at a heavyweight legend’s debut, recalls an Upset of the Year and commemorates the “Fight of the Century.”
March 6, 1976 – Wilfred Benitez became the youngest world champion in boxing history with a 15-round split decision over defending WBA light welterweight titleholder Antonio Cervantes at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Benitez was just 17 years, 5 months and 23 days old when he upset Cervantes, who was making the 11th defense of the title he won in October 1972.
March 6, 1985 – Mike Tyson made his pro debut with a first-round TKO of Hector Mercedes in a heavyweight bout at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, New York.
The 18-year-old Tyson dropped Mercedes to a knee with a punishing body shot that ended the fight at the 1:47 mark. He would go on to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history at the age of 20 in November 1986.
March 7, 2015 – Premier Boxing Champions debuted on NBC as Keith Thurman defeated Robert Guerrero by unanimous decision to retain his WBA welterweight title in the main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
In the co-main event, Adrien Broner earned a 12-round unanimous decision over John Molina Jr. in a 140-pound non-title bout.
March 8, 1971 – Joe Frazier beat Muhammad Ali in the "Fight of the Century,” earning a 15-round unanimous decision to defend his world heavyweight title at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
It was the first time two undefeated boxers competed for the heavyweight championship, and both Frazier (26-0, 23 KOs) and Ali (31-0, 25 KOs) had legitimate claims to the title heading into the bout. Frazier floored Ali with a left hook in Round 15 to punctuate his only win in their legendary trilogy.
March 8, 2003 – South African southpaw Corrie Sanders gained a second-round TKO of Wladimir Klitschko to earn the WBO heavyweight title at Preussag Arena in Hannover, Germany.
Klitschko, making his sixth title defense, was knocked down two times in Round 1 and twice more in Round 2 in The Ring’s Upset of the Year.