Although Fullmer was still ranked No. 1 in the middleweight class after the loss, it was two years before he got his next title shot. He regained the crown with a TKO over Basilio. Two of Fullmer's seven successful defenses were against Robinson. The first ended in a draw; the second, a 15-round decision. But neither proved tougher than Fullmer's 15-round split decision victory over Florentino Fernandez. Fullmer fought the last two rounds with a broken right hand. "Did I ever consider quitting?" he repeats incredulously. "The thought never crossed my mind."
It did at his final bout, with Tiger, for the vacant world title. Blinded by a cut at the edge of his right eye, Fullmer raged around the ring like an injured bull in a corrida. Finally, after Round 7, Jenson threw in the towel.
"I would have liked to have fought once more," Fullmer says, "just to see if I was that bad." A smile creases his broken boxer's face. "But I really didn't want anyone else to know if I was."