This week in boxing history, PBC remembers two breathtaking title bouts, a Fight of the Year classic, a chapter from a storied rivalry and a legend’s pro debut.
January 30, 1982 – Wilfred Benitez defeated Roberto Duran by unanimous decision to retain his WBC super welterweight championship at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
The fighters were a combined 117-3-1 entering the bout, and it was the last successful title defense for Benitez, a three-division world champion who would lose his title to Thomas Hearns later that year.
February 1, 1965 – Floyd Patterson beat George Chuvalo by unanimous decision in a non-title heavyweight clash at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The Ring named the action-packed 12-round bout Fight of the Year.
February 2, 1980 – Salvador Sanchez dethroned Danny “Little Red” Lopez as WBC world featherweight champion with a 13th-round TKO at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.
Lopez had held his crown since November 1976 and defended it eight times before losing to Sanchez, who would also win a rematch in Las Vegas four months later.
February 5, 1943 – Jake LaMotta defeated Sugar Ray Robinson by 10-round unanimous decision at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium in the second of their six meetings.
The much-larger LaMotta knocked Robinson through the ropes in the eighth round in his only win in their rivalry. The defeat was Robinson’s first after winning his first 40 pro bouts, and he wouldn’t lose again until his 133rd career fight in July 1951.
February 5, 1977 – Sugar Ray Leonard made his professional debut with a six-round unanimous decision over Luis Vega at Baltimore’s Civic Center.
Leonard won every round in the fight, which was televised live by CBS, and would go on to become a five-division world champion while building a Hall of Fame career.