Hurt by a hard left to the head late in the second, Benitez barely made it back to his corner, where Machado revived him with an ammonia capsule. It's a very common practice, only Machado made the mistake of dropping the capsule in front of a Nevada State Athletic Commission inspector. He could be fined as much as $1,000.
"Everybody does it," Machado said. "I just got caught. I was stupid because I dropped the capsule. Wilfred took a heavy blow in the second round, and I used it. Otherwise in the third they would have been counting 10 over him. I'm never going to see anyone count 10 on Wilfred."
In the third, the revived Benitez tried to bring the fight into the center of the ring. It was a mistake. Five times Hamsho, between cuffing him handily, pushed him to the floor. Benitez averted a sixth trip only with a last-second desperate hug around Hamsho's knees. After that, until the end of the fight, Benitez chose never to venture farther than a few feet from his own corner. At each bell, he would take two steps out and then one back, and there he'd stay as Hamsho hammered away at will.
After the 10th round, as Hamsho waited in his corner, Certo looked at him and said, "Paddy is here. He knows what is happening."
"I know," Hamsho said huskily, tears forming in his eyes. "I can feel him."
The scoring was lopsided: Judges Lou Tabat (118-109) and Chuck Minker (118-111) each gave Benitez two rounds; Dalby Shirley (117-111) gave him three. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED gave him none, scoring it 120-107.
As a middleweight, Benitez had proved to be a dud. As Jacobs said, "You keep moving up and up until finally you reach a plateau where the people are stronger and tougher. Hamsho was much stronger than Wilfred. I think this fight dictated that Wilfred will fight as a junior middleweight."
When it was over, there was immediate talk of a rematch between Hagler and Hamsho after the Duran fight. "Why Hagler?" Certo asked. "We'd rather take off a few pounds and fight Hearns. We were supposed to fight him before we fought Benitez, but they turned us down. I'm not too choked up about fighting Hagler. But, then, if they offer us enough money, we'll fight anybody."
Were you watching, Jos�?