Salvador Sanchez’s Tragic Death Took Away Boxing’s Greatest Featherweight

There have been many boxers over the years that have put forth some legendary careers in the ring. Many of which saw them become iconic figures in the squared circle that helped forever change the sport with their utter dominance at their craft. Salvador Sanchez was no different from his ability in the ring as he quickly rose to stardom in the sport behind the incredible performance in the ring that made him a must-watch attraction. However, all of that came to a sudden halt after his tragic passing at age 23 that left a considerable hole boxing community.

Salvador Sanchez’s Boxing career

It didn’t take long for Salvador Sanchez to begin making his mark in boxing as he had his first professional fight at age 16 that saw him start to garner numerous wins against fellow Mexican fighters.

That saw him get his first title fight at age 18 against Antonio Becerra in his 19th fight for the Bantamweight title. Although Sanchez fell short in a split decision due to his inexperience, he kept chugging along as that wound up being the only loss of his career as he moved up to the featherweight division.

He continued to find success in that weight class as he defeated Felix Trinidad Sr. that helped him earn a title shot against Danny “Littel Red” Lopez, where won the WBC and lineal featherweight championship. From that point forward, Sanchez successfully retained that title nine straight times. During that span, he handed Ruben Castillo a loss in his first title defense, followed by beating Juan Laporte, Roberto Castanon, Nicky Perez, and Wilfredo Gomez.

In total, that saw him win by knockout against four other members of the International Boxing Hall of Fame (Lopez twice, Gomez, and Amuzah Nelson). Sanchez had become a household name, but all that came to an abrupt end.

Salvador Sanchez’s tragic death

Salvador Sanchez had firmly established himself as the man to beat in the featherweight division after numerous title defense.

That all led to Sanchez lining up for a rematch against Laporte, who he had beat in March 1981 in a unanimous decision after 15 rounds to retain the WBC and lineal featherweight titles. He was coming off a TKO win over Azumah Nelson in July 1982 that pushed him to a 44-1-1 record.

It was all brought to a sudden halt during his training for Lopez’s fight that set for September that year. Nearly a month before the match, Sanchez died in a fatal crash accident along the way federal highway going between Queretaro to San Luis Potosi in Mexico. That was a crushing blow to boxing as Sanchez was the star attraction in the sport as he topped every prime-time competitor.

During that same, he had fights on the table beyond Laporte, such as another bout with Gomez. Beyond that, it saw a promising career end in tragic fashion.

Salvador Sanchez’s Legacy


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Salvador Sanchez’s death left a massive hole in the boxing community as it put them without one of their greatest fighters.

Many believe that Sanchez could have gone down as the best featherweight fighter of all-time. He was a dominant boxer that had impressive knockout power despite competing in the featherweight division as 32 of his 44 wins came by knockout. He’s still considered to be one of the all-time greatest to get in the ring as he voted as the No.3 featherweight of the 20th century by the Associated Press.

Sanchez made his mark in the ring, leaving an irreplaceable mark on the featherweight division that many have looked up to and found inspiration through over the years.