Salvador Sanchez vs Wilfredo Gomez – Highlights (Battle of The LITTLE GIANTS)

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August 21st, 1981. Salvador “Chava” Sanchez takes on Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez in the 6th defense of his WBC Featherweight Championship. Gomez, the 9-5 betting favorite was undefeated going into the bout with a 100% knockout ratio.

This is one of the most notable fights in the history of the Puerto Rico vs Mexico rivalry.

Although Gomez was the naturally smaller man, he was the favorite due to his dominance of the Bantamweight division and a well proven world champion. While the 22 year old Sanchez was a great fighter in his own right, he was considered to be “the least proven” champion..

Prefight records; Sanchez 40(30)-1-1, Gomez 32(32)-0-1.

In May 1977, Gomez won the WBC World Super Bantamweight Title via KO12 over Dong Kyun Yum. He would go on to defend the title a remarkable 13 times between July 1977 and December 1980.

After having tremendous success at 118 pounds, Gomez moved up to 122 pounds in an attempt to win a world title in a 2nd weight class.

In February 1980, Sanchez scored a TKO12 victory over hard hitting Danny Lopez to become the WBC Featherweight Champion. He defended the title 5 times between April 1980 and March 1981. For his next defense, the power punching Puerto Rican star was next in line.

Going into the fight, Sanchez held notable victories over Nicky Perez, Roberto Castanon, Juan Laporte, Pat Ford, Ruben Castillo & Danny Lopez (2x). Gomez on the other hand had beaten top oppositions in Dong Kyun Yum, Royal Kobayashi, Juan Antonio Lopez, Leonardo Cruz, Nestor Jimenez, Nicky Perez, Ruben Valdes, Alberto Davila & Carlos Zarate.

In the opening minute, Gomez started quickly and forced Sanchez into a fierce exchange on the ropes. He landed a big right hand but Sanchez returned the favor but with more authority as he not only floored him but fractured his left cheekbone. While Gomez beat the count, he was badly hurt and endured a vicious beating for the rest of the round and at one point, nearly decked again.

From the second round onwards, both fighters engaged in a fast paced all out war; Gomez applying great pressure while Sanchez countering efficiently. However, Sanchez had the upper hand as a whole due to the fact that he could absorb the challenger’s best shots and return fire unlike most of Gomez’s opponents.

By the end of the 7th frame, Gomez’s eyes were swelling shut and his legs very wobbly.

At the start of the 8th stanza, Gomez out of desperation charged out throwing wild punches in hopes to land a home run. However, the crafty Sanchez seized the opportunity to counter with a series of vicious left hooks to the body and head; forcing him to the ropes and connected with one right hand after another.

The challenger’s knees buckled and a follow up flurry sent him to the canvas for the second time. Demonstrating tremendous courage, he climbed to his feet but clearly in no position to carry on. Referee Carlos Padilla mercifully waved off the fight and the Mexican contingent were jubilant as their champion was carried around the ring in victory.

Gomez who disrespected his opponent before the bout, admitted later on that he had underestimated him and hoped for a rematch. Unfortunately, it never came into fruition as Sanchez was tragically killed in an automobile accident a year later. He passed away at only 23 years of age.

For years after, Wilfredo Gomez would regularly visit Sanchez’s grave in his hometown of Santiago Tianguistenco out of tremendous respect for the first fighter to have beaten him as a pro.

At the time of his death, Sanchez’s record was 44(32)-1-1. He held notable victories over Pat Ford, Roberto Castanon, Ruben Castillo, Nicky Perez, Pat Cowdell, Juan Laporte, Azumah Nelson, Wilfredo Gomez & Danny Lopez (2x).

Chava was inducted into the IBHOF in 1991. He is consistently rated as one of the Greatest Featherweights of All Time.

Please enjoy this highlight of the one the best world title fights of the 1980s! Be sure to subscribe for more boxing awesomeness.

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