“He consistently showed the understanding and awareness of a veteran in his early twenties, a testimony perhaps to the number of fights and defenses he crammed into his short career. As a veteran, he might have attained the rare heights of strategic genius reserved for the likes of Archie Moore and Bernard Hopkins.” — Matt McGrain
A few days ago we marked the anniversary of one of the most significant bouts in featherweight history, as well as a premier clash in the singular Mexico vs Puerto Rico boxing rivalry. When Wilfredo Gomez challenged Salvador Sanchez for the Mexican’s featherweight title belt, it was a huge event for Latin American fight fans, and, considering Gomez’s status at the time as perhaps the best boxer on the planet pound-for-pound, it was a monumental victory for the highly skilled ringman some called “Chava.” So what better time to pay tribute to a truly great champion by bringing you Lee Wylie‘s excellent breakdown of this great featherweight’s unique and highly sophisticated counterpunching style.
Sanchez’s championship reign was relatively short, but just long enough for the Mexican warrior to establish himself as one of the greatest featherweights of all-time. In 1982 he died in a car accident at the age of 23, but, amazingly, he had already won eleven straight championship fights, including historic wins over fellow Hall of Famers Danny Lopez, Wilfredo Gomez and Azumah Nelson.
When many boxing fans hear the term “counterpuncher,” they naturally think first of a defensive-minded pugilist such as Floyd Mayweather or Guillermo Rigondeaux, a boxer who waits for the opponent to initiate before striking. But Sanchez was something altogether different, an aggressive counter-puncher, ruthless and calculating, patient and precise. As Wylie notes, there were different facets to Salvador’s technique, but he was most dangerous as a counterpuncher.
So enjoy another Lee Wylie masterpiece and appreciate again the ring brilliance of the fistic legend who James Toney calls, “The greatest Mexican fighter of all-time … Period. Hands down.” Check it out: