|Match Date||Wednesday, September 3rd, 2003|
|Cloud - 49.99%|
11 for - 19 against
|Cloud - 6.04%|
After the first poll freeze, Sephiroth was in the lead and looked as if he would be able to pull this off like so many were hoping. But similarly to what Cloud did to Link, Cloud recovered nicely en route to a very high-scoring, close victory that was barely ever in question.
Up until Cloud's upset of Link, most people felt that Sephiroth was the stronger of the two characters. He had higher odds than Cloud to win the contest in 2002 and didn't have the anti stigma that Cloud was stuck with in 2003. Yet despite seemingly everything going in Sephiroth's favor up until this match (doing over 10% better against Mario than Cloud had done the year before, having the backing of Link fans, etc), Sephiroth was completely unable to pull off the win in a match that was not nearly as close as the final score indicates. This match played out almost exactly like Link/Cloud, with most rooting against Cloud but watching in disappointment as he won anyway. Only the true Final Fantasy 7 faithful really enoyed this final, but then again we all had to deal with a Mario/Link final in 2002. Unlike Mario, the loser in the 2003 final actually made the match somewhat interesting.
SFF likely had the most to do with Cloud winning this match, and this was later confirmed in 2004 when Cloud beat Sephiroth 56-44 in a rematch. Perhaps 56-44 was how this final would have gone had Cloud not defeated Link two days prior, which explains how Sephiroth lost despite so many people pulling for him to win.
This was the final nail in the Summer 2003 Contest, and Cloud Strife was crowned the winner, with the assist going to Kingdom Hearts and its selling almost 4 million copies before this contest took place.
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