Aug. 5, 1961 - Gene Fullmer took a terrific battering in the closing rounds, but had enough of an early lead to win a 15-round split decision over Florentino Fernandez at Utah's Municipal Stadium today. Fullmer retained the National Boxing Association middleweight title. Fernandez, a 9-5 short-ender staggered him in the 14th round with a right-left combination to the head. Then the converted southpaw from Havana switched to his old southpaw stance and blasted Fullmer with left hooks to the body and head. After the fight, Fullmer expressed no desire to meet Fernandez for a rematch. He said he preferred the winner of the Terry Downes-Paul Pender fight. Downes of England is recognized as champion in Europe, Massachusetts and New York.