Perpetual Motion: The Slashing Fists of Vicente Saldivar

By Mike Casey on December 25, 2015
Perpetual Motion: The Slashing Fists of Vicente Saldivar
Vicente Saldivar was a throwback to Henry Armstrong, a precursor of Roberto Duran.

A miniature powerhouse of a man with the upper body of a welterweight, Saldivar imposed his presence on opponents from the outset…

Who can beat Vicente Saldivar? That was the question being posed at the outset of 1967 after the tireless, barrel-chested Mexican ace had swept away the challenge of Japan’s leading challenger, Mitsunori Seki.

It was a very pertinent question to which few could furnish a valid reply. Southpaw Saldivar was picking off his featherweight challengers with such class and relish that the field of possible successors was shrinking to the point of threatening to disappear.

He was relentless, this man Saldivar. He was smart, deceptively skillful, pounded the body mercilessly and set a formidable pace. He was born to fight and ultimately drank himself to death when he could fight no more.

Saldivar overpowered boxers and out-fought fighters. He was the first truly great featherweight since the golden days of Sandy Saddler and Willie Pep.

How I admired this glorious fighting man when I was a boy. For it was Saldivar who set the exceptional benchmark for the Mexican fighters of the future. Following hot on the heels of former bantamweight champion, Jose “Joe” Becerra, Vicente was better and more durable than his predecessor and paved the way for such future legends as Salvador Sanchez, Ruben Olivares, Julio Cesar Chavez, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.

“This is what I did,” Saldivar might well have said to his successors. “Now see if you can top it.”

Slashing fists. That’s what Saldivar had, along with a fair few other assets that broke the hearts of his opponents. He was a revelation during his first reign as featherweight champion and then he came back and did it all again after a two-year retirement. Floyd Robertson, a tough contender from Ghana, got to know all about Saldivar’s slashing fists on May 12, 1966, during Vicente’s first reign as champion. Poor Floyd was in the re-converted bullring of the Plaza Mexico in Mexico City and must have felt very much like a taunted bull before a crowd of wildly cheering Mexican fans. It wasn’t long before the brave but outclassed challenger was put to the sword.

A top contender and nobody’s fool, Robertson must have felt good about his chances after a quiet first round in which he scored with some good jabs and seemed unfazed by Saldivar’s busy southpaw style. The pace of the fight was slow, which suited Floyd, and the second round opened at a similarly leisurely pace. Then the Mexican firecracker suddenly went off, with a violent suddenness from which Robertson never recovered. Opening up with both fists, Saldivar drove Robertson back as the challenger grittily returned fire. The hometown fans sensed something was in the air and grew more vociferous as their Vicente surged forward. A right hook to the jaw sent tremors through the challenger’s legs and suddenly he was in desperate trouble. A following left cross and another right sent Floyd down. After taking the mandatory eight-count, Robertson clinched Saldivar in the hope of smothering the violent attack. But the experience gained from 47 fights couldn’t help Floyd against the human whirlwind before him. Saldivar just kept ripping away until a vicious left cross felled Robertson again, this time for the full count.

Ruthless

Saldivar destroyed his opponents with ruthless efficiency and he didn’t need home support to carry him over the line. In his magnificent prime, he similarly thrilled fans in the United States, England, Wales and Italy in proving himself the world’s best featherweight by a street.

A year before wrecking Robertson, the 22-year-old Saldivar thrilled fans at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, where he stopped gutsy challenger Raul Rojas in the 15th and final round. Ringsider Bill Miller, a regular reporter for The Ring, was greatly impressed by the many qualities of the relentless champion.

Wrote Miller: “Southpaw Saldivar is fast, both of foot and of hand, with an excellent right and an effective left. With ruggedness and aggressiveness, as well as his left-handed style to blend with his other assets, he represents a formidable fighting machine.

“Saldivar had no serious problems with Rojas. After a comparatively slow three rounds, which the rivals needed to warm up in the chilly outdoors, the action became much hotter than the unseasonable cool weather, and it was a bitterly fought affair all the way. There was no doubt at any time, however, that Saldivar was boss of operations. He had entirely too much stuff for the rough, tough, free-swinging Rojas.”

Coming on like a train in the 15th round, Saldivar battered Rojas and knocked him through the ropes shortly before referee Tommy Hart stopped the fight. The experienced Hart answered bluntly when he was asked why he didn’t allow Rojas to see out the fight: “I’m a referee, not a timekeeper.”

Allegiance

What thrills Saldivar gave me during my teenage years! Alas, Vicente was also responsible for severely testing my allegiance. For there was another brilliant featherweight on the stage, a sublime and gifted matador who came to test the bull in a magnificent trilogy of fights. I speak of that wonderful wizard from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales: Howard Winstone.

Winstone was a gifted boxer who made the tough old game look beautiful. He possessed the natural skills that legions of men can’t acquire in a lifetime of trying. On his best nights, his every move was so wonderfully fluid and perfect that even his opponents couldn’t help but marvel at his talent.

I believe it was Jimmy Anderson, the former British junior lightweight champion, who remarked that his punches had repeatedly missed Winstone by fractions of inches due to Howard’s innate ability to deftly move his head at the right moment.

Great boxers don’t consciously plan their moves, they simply let them happen, and Winstone possessed this instinctive ability. Every punch, every tactical manoeuver, appeared to be a completely natural reaction.

His left jab alone was a thing of beauty, a rapier-like weapon that bruised and bewildered a succession of opponents. Combined with his many other skills, that rare jab helped to make Howard unbeatable in Britain and Europe from 1961 to 1967.

He became the idol of his native Welshmen, one of the few to bear the honor of being compared to his legendary compatriot, Peerless Jim Driscoll, whose brilliance had dazzled such titans of the game as Abe Attell and Owen Moran some 50 years before.

The one ingredient missing in Winstone’s otherwise flawless make-up was a knockout punch. Perhaps that was God’s way of giving his opponents a fair chance. It was often said that if Winstone had been able to marry his skills to true punching power, he would have been virtually invincible, perhaps one of the greatest featherweights.

Yet there was another obstacle that prevented him from attaining such heights, in the form of an omnipresent whirlwind of a man who persistently surfaced to frustrate him. That man was Saldivar.

It was cruel luck on Winstone’s part that by the time he had established himself as an outstanding contender for the world crown, Saldivar was the champion. For Vicente was Howard’s nemesis.

Clashed

The two fighters clashed three times over a two-year period, and had their bouts been ten-rounders, Howard would have won them all. On each occasion he had the beating of Saldivar in the early going, only to be overhauled in the later stages. To this day, traditionalists still regard the 15-round distance as being the true test of world championship quality, and Saldivar seemed to relish that crucial trio of closing rounds that many others dreaded.

The tough Mexican was a throwback to Henry Armstrong, a precursor of Roberto Duran. Blessed like Armstrong with a slow heartbeat, Saldivar was a tireless puncher who seemed to grow stronger as the rounds wore on. He defended his title against Winstone at Earl’s Court, at Ninian Park and in Mexico City, and all three fights followed the same pattern where strength and superior punching power eventually prevailed over skill.

Those fortunate enough to have witnessed the three epic battles will have their own ideas as to which was the best. For my money, the second Saldivar-Winstone fight at Ninian Park on June 15, 1967, was the most thrilling.

It was the first world championship fight to be staged in Wales for more than 20 years and marked the resumption of a rivalry that had first exploded in glorious fashion nearly two years before at Earl’s Court in London. Then the two mighty little men had waged war for 15 fierce rounds, with Saldivar carving out a narrow points win.

I can remember listening to the radio commentary of that first terrific fight and feeling a growing sense of elation as Winstone appeared to be on the way to victory. Then came the decision and the disappointment that one feels when a game cock has failed by an eyelash.

By the time Howard had steered his way back into contention, he had added six impressive victories to his record, including three European title defenses. During this phase of his glittering career, only Saldivar was a superior featherweight and only then by the narrowest margin.

In more than 60 fights, Winstone had lost to only two other men and even those blots on his record looked curiously unreal: a crushing second round defeat to American puncher Leroy Jeffery and a points loss to the world ranked Don Johnson.

To this day, the many men who struggled vainly to lay a glove on Winstone must marvel at Jeffery’s achievement. The close and controversial defeat to Johnson, whom Howard subsequently twice defeated, is easier to comprehend since the Californian was an able and shrewd ring mechanic. At the time, however, it was hard to believe that someone had actually outpointed the Welsh boxing master!

From the time of embarking on his professional career in 1959, Winstone had exuded that special quality that separates great fighters from the rest. In just two years he sailed to 23 successive victories, and when he mesmerized Terry Spinks into a tenth round defeat to win the British featherweight title in 1961, Howard began his rapid ascent into world class.

He relieved Italy’s Alberto Serti of the European crown and reigned supreme in that capacity for more than four years, turning back seven challengers before eventually relinquishing the title.

Winstone dazzled the cream of domestic and international competition during his peak years as a world title contender, defeating such class men as Rafiu King, Yves Desmarets, Lalo Guerrero, Jose Legra and Richard Sue.

Installments

Some 21 months elapsed between the first and second installments of the Saldivar-Winstone saga, but for Howard the wait was worthwhile. For the venue of Ninian Park presented him with a wonderful chance of revenge in the land of his fathers. But even with home advantage, his task was daunting.

During the interim period, Saldivar had added to his already glowing reputation, winning the respect of the critics as an outstanding world champion. At first glance, his record looked lean and almost insignificant alongside Winstone’s, until one measured the rate of Vicente’s progress and the quality of the opponents he had conquered. Fifty years ago, it was still fairly uncommon for young fighters of limited experience to win world titles. And we are talking about undisputed world titles here!

The boxing world stood up and took good notice of Saldivar when, at the tender age of 21, he battered the featherweight championship from the talented Sugar Ramos.

The young Mexican slugger was having only his 24th professional fight on that night of September 26, 1964, yet he fought with tremendous authority as he wore down and finally stopped Ramos in the eleventh round with a punishing body attack.

Saldivar at once showed himself to be a highly accomplished champion and a typically tough and menacing product of the Mexican fight school. Powerful, rugged and a damaging puncher, he pressured his opponents with a constant attack and his great stamina made him a dangerous man from the first bell to the last.

His early record was studded with a succession of quick victories. He stopped the dangerous Dwight Hawkins in five rounds, Eloy Sanchez in one and needed less than two rounds to wrest the Mexican featherweight title from Juan Ramirez.

In later fights, Vicente proved he was no less effective over long distances. Indeed, he relished the marathon duel. Prior to lifting the world title from Ramos, Saldivar outscored Lalo Guerrero and future lightweight champion Ismael Laguna in hard-fought contests. Then came that great first defense of the championship against Raul Rojas in Los Angeles, which could so easily have gone to the judges but for Saldivar’s last gasp rally that brought him the TKO.

A miniature powerhouse of a man with the upper body of a welterweight, Saldivar imposed his presence on opponents from the outset, daring them to challenge his authority as he bulled and punched his way forward. Like any great champion, he had his share of worrying moments during his reign, but his strength and his great will always saw him through. Saldivar refused to be denied in any circumstances, whether being tormented by the ringcraft of Winstone or forced to the limit by that fiery Japanese warrior, Mitsunori Seki.

It was Seki who gave Vicente his most torrid fight, with a performance that surpassed even Winstone’s spirited Earl’s Court challenge. Fighting before Saldivar’s home crowd in Mexico City, Seki matched Vicente punch for punch through 15 hard rounds before losing a unanimous but desperately close decision. It was a verdict that many neutral ringside observers disputed.

Saldivar knew he had a point to prove to his critics and in a return match just four months later he removed any doubts about his supremacy over Seki by stopping the brave challenger in seven rounds. In doing so, Vicente gave one of his top performances, an exhibition of destructive punching that reestablished him as the undisputed leader of his division and left him with a near perfect record.

He had avenged his sole professional loss, a disqualification in the early part of his career against Baby Luis, and Vicente knew that a second victory over Winstone would make that record shine even brighter.

Ninian Park

When Saldivar and Winstone came together again at Ninian Park, they were greeted by an emotion-charged crowd of 30,000 and the atmosphere was pulsating. Wales had not enjoyed such a feast of boxing since Ike Williams defended his lightweight championship against Ronnie James at Cardiff in 1946, and while the many thousands of Welshman who longed for a Winstone victory welcomed their hero with a tremendous roar, they sportingly cheered the mighty little Mexican as he approached the ring. They knew they were in the presence of a true fighting champion, a man who had defended his title against the best men in the division and beaten them all.

Soon the fight was on: Saldivar, the 24-year old bull, against Winstone, the 28-year old matador. The roles were well assigned, although on this occasion the matador did his own share of charging.

Winstone must have surprised even his most ardent fans as he immediately carried the fight to Saldivar in a confident and almost arrogant manner. Three left jabs, released with speed and grace, snapped into Saldivar’s face, and a following right brought a look of mild surprise from the champion. It seemed that Howard’s intention was to play his cards aggressively and utilize his full repertoire of skills to unsettle Vicente. And for the first half of the fight, Winstone’s cards were all aces wild.

He had an almost contemptuous air about him as he swept forward. Countless jabs found Saldivar’s face and perfectly timed right crosses reddened his nose.

Frustrated and angry, Saldivar lashed back with heavy hooks to the body, but many of his punches missed as Winstone glided out of range with graceful and almost balletic moves.

But Saldivar, wonderful Saldivar, always had that ominous look about him. The few punches he was landing were solid and quietly menacing. There were times when Winstone’s aggression forced Saldivar to the ropes, each attack accompanied by a mighty roar from the crowd, but the determined champion was always slamming back with those bronzed and perfectly muscled arms. Howard was supremely fit, but even the fittest men were eventually weakened by the masterful body punching that was Saldivar’s specialty.

The roar of a crowd can do funny things and certainly blur one’s perception of a fight. Much of Saldivar’s quiet industry went unnoticed to the many who were entranced by Winstone’s brilliance. Howard was ghosting around Vicente, flashing out punches with amazing speed and not seeming to be greatly disturbed by the return fire.

Had Howard finally found the key to defeating his arch-rival? Saldivar’s frustration was clearly visible in the fifth round as he momentarily dropped his arms and stood still, as if taking time out to revise his game plan.

But Vicente was a rare bird, possessed of great mental toughness. Regardless of how the gods were treating him, he just kept punching. He was struck by a gorgeous left-right combination in the sixth round, but still his piston-like arms kept pumping away and Winstone was forced to give ground after taking a couple of hefty blows to the body.

Howard’s pace didn’t slacken and he upped the tempo in the eighth round as he jabbed fast and accurately to have Saldivar on the retreat. Both men began to show the marks of the taxing encounter and Winstone appeared to slow a little in the ninth round as the champion bulled forward and slammed him about the body.

As the fight swung into its later stages, Saldivar began to catch Howard much more frequently, but the battle was full of twists. Each time Winstone appeared to be fading a little, he would rally gloriously. There was a golden moment in the tenth round when he tagged the champion with a perfect combination and quickly followed up with a burst of rapid-fire jabs.

However, the tide was most definitely turning. The crowd held its breath in the eleventh round as Saldivar shifted into top gear and winged in powerful hooks to the body. A big left hook hurt Winstone and a right to the jaw sent him to the ropes. Suddenly Howard looked weary and Vicente seemed to pick up the scent as he drew on his phenomenal stamina and increased his punch rate.

The following rounds were agonizing for Winstone’s fans as Saldivar pounded away furiously. Too often Howard elected to trade punches with Vicente instead of retreating, and while these adventurous tactics had reaped dividends in the earlier rounds, they were now proving to be Winstone’s undoing. In his worst moments, though, the courageous Welshman refused to be overwhelmed. From somewhere, during one of those hectic bouts of slugging, he produced a stinging right that sent Saldivar reeling back, and the crowd thundered its approval.

Thrilling

The fight was approaching its climax and had flared into an absolute thriller, full of quality, courage and skill. While Winstone was beginning to wilt, he had carved out such a commanding lead with his whirlwind start that the battle was still an even affair. But the going was now tough for Howard. Like a golfer trying to maintain a fragile, one-stroke lead in a major championship, he was suddenly flagging and looking on the verge of being swamped by the immensity of the task.

In the fourteenth round, Winstone nearly went under as Saldivar stormed forward with a punishing two-fisted attack. A flurry of hard blows suddenly cut Winstone down and sent his supporters into a state of panic. Gutsily he scrambled to his feet, but the following seconds were tortuous for the Welshman as he was driven every which way by Vicente’s ceaseless onslaught.

Something or someone took Howard by the hand and guided him through the wilderness, but the gut feeling was that the fight had slipped from his grasp as he sat wearily in his corner and awaited the final bell.

Somehow Howard managed to pull himself together during his precious sixty seconds of rest. He fought valiantly throughout the last three minutes, even though he was sent scurrying all around the ring by Saldivar’s violent rushes. The champion was a revelation in that final round as he ripped home punches with a rare ferocity, and it was a measure of Winstone’s mettle that he was still able to fight back.

The crowd let out a deafening cheer at the bell and the optimists prayed for referee Wally Thom, the sole arbiter, to raise Howard’s hand. But the decision was Saldivar’s, and for the second time in his career Howard Winstone was left to reflect on the tantalizingly narrow gap in class that separated him from the great little Mexican. This time the gallant Welsh maestro had failed by half a point to seal that gap and win the one title that had eluded him.

Undeterred, Winstone chose to pursue his dream. Four months later, his fascinating rivalry with Saldivar entered its third and final chapter in the fierce heat of Mexico City. Winstone boxed brilliantly for ten rounds, but Saldivar’s wave-like attacks proved even more debilitating in the heat and high altitude. Brave Howard was eventually ground down and stopped in the twelfth round.

Glory Days

When the glory days were over, Vicente Saldivar, like so many great champions, wanted more. Announcing his retirement after his third triumph over Winstone, Vicente had defended his world crown seven times and compiled a near perfect 34-1 record. But it wasn’t enough. Of course it wasn’t. How can such a natural born warrior be expected to potter about quietly for the rest of his life? Men of Saldivar’s ilk can hear every minute of every day ticking past as they itch for a reason to live again.

Nearly two years later, at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles, Saldivar was back. And he was back with a bang, battling his way to a 10-round points victory over another former champion, Jose Legra. It seemed written in the stars that Vicente would enjoy one last glory ride. Challenging Australian stylist Johnny Famechon for the championship in Rome, the Mexican ace swept aside the incumbent king on a unanimous decision to climb back to the top of the mountain.

Then came the shocking fall. Seven months later, a suddenly vulnerable Saldivar was forced to retire after 12 rounds in the first defense of his new reign against Japan’s Kuniaki Shibata in Tijuana. It was a stunning result. Never before had the great Saldivar been so battered. There was barely an inkling of the outcome through the first eight rounds. Saldivar was in charge. He was always in charge. But Shibata wouldn’t bend and gradually took control as he gashed Saldivar’s cheek and punished him heavily in the 10th round. Vicente rallied gamely in the 11th, but his greatness had seeped away and he was all done by the end of the 12th when the referee stopped the bout.

In July, 1971, after a seven month rest, Saldivar scored a quality points victory over fellow contender, Frankie Crawford at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles which really should have been the final curtain to a fantastic career. But the desire to fight wouldn’t go away. More than two years later in October, 1973, Vicente travelled to Brazil to clash with Eder Jofre in a battle of living legends. If Saldivar was great, the astonishing Jofre was something else again. Thirty-seven years old and with only two losses in 71 fights, Eder knocked out Saldivar in the fourth round and would post another seven wins before leaving the stage and enjoying a successful and happy retirement.

For Saldivar, the great little Mexican powerhouse, it was a different story. The glory days were gone and he couldn’t bear their loss. All the steam went out of him and he died in July, 1985, at the tragically young age of 42. Booze had replaced boxing in his life, but let us not meander down that sad path.

Mike Casey is a Boxing.com writer and Founder & Editor of ALL TIME BOXING at https://sites.google.com/site/alltimeboxingrankings. He is a freelance journalist and boxing historian and a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO).

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Howard Winstone Vs Vincente Saldivar II pre-fight footage



Howard Winstone Vs Vincente Saldivar II rounds 1+2



Howard Winstone Vs Vincente Saldivar II rounds 3+4



Howard Winstone Vs Vincente Saldivar II rounds 5+6



Howard Winstone Vs Vincente Saldivar II rounds 7+8



Howard Winstone Vs Vincente Saldivar II rounds 9+10



Howard Winstone Vs Vincente Saldivar II rounds 11+12



Howard Winstone Vs Vincente Saldivar II rounds 13+14



Howard Winstone Vs Vincente Saldivar II round 15+post-fight



Vicente Saldivar -Baby Luis I



Vicente Saldivar vs Sugar Ramos Part 1



Vicente Saldivar vs Sugar Ramos Part 2



Vicente Saldivar KO 2 Floyd Robertson



Vicente Saldivar vs Mitsunori Seki I 1966 08 07



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  1. Mike Casey 02:59am, 12/29/2015

    Hey, Matt, thank you.

  2. Matt McGrain 06:30pm, 12/28/2015

    Very welcome this read.

  3. Mike Casey 01:53am, 12/28/2015

    Yes, Mike, Howard was beautiful to watch. That jab was like a rapier!

  4. Mike Silver 02:54pm, 12/27/2015

    No doubt Winstone would have given Sanchez fits with his inordinate boxing skills. That educated left jab-virtually extinct today- was beautiful.

  5. Mike Casey 02:15am, 12/27/2015

    Thanks, Mike. Yes, Howard was a nice fellow by all accounts. I never had the pleasure of meeting him. Interesting how Pat Cowdell gave Salvador Sanchez so many problems, yet Cowdell - nice boxer that he was - was no Winstone.

  6. Mike Silver 11:15pm, 12/26/2015

    Thank you Mike Casey for this wonderful tribute to both Saldivar and Winstone. I had the pleasure of meeting Howard in 1998. What a delightful and classy gentleman and nary a mark on his handsome face despite 67 pro fights.

  7. Clarence George 01:00pm, 12/26/2015

    Excuse me?!  Oh, the article.  Perhaps.  But, except for the title, I haven’t given it any thought.

  8. Mike Casey 12:27pm, 12/26/2015

    The article will gush forth before you know it!

  9. Clarence George 11:51am, 12/26/2015

    I have nothing in the offing on him, Mike, but I do have the title:  “Pardon My Sarron.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3R5gHF0vzew

  10. Mike Casey 09:57am, 12/26/2015

    OldSchool, I would love to have seen a match between Saldivar and Jofre around ‘64 or ‘65 time. I think Eder was seriously struggling with his weight before the Harada fights (no disrespect to the great Harada) and of course Jofre then laid off for a long time after his subsequent draw with Manny Elias. To do what he did at featherweight after that was pretty special.

  11. Mike Casey 09:53am, 12/26/2015

    About time that the great Petey Sarron was recognized, Clarence. His record is excellent. No disgrace getting beaten by the mighty Armstrong!

  12. oldschool 09:42am, 12/26/2015

    Interesting point. After Eder Jofre stopped Johnny Jamito on May 18, 1963, he expressed his desire to fight Sugar Ramos in LA in his next fight.  He was having a difficult time making the 118 lb limit. Jofre took a 15 minute walk in the hot Manila sun and made the weight on his second try. He said he preferred to fight at featherweight.  After Saldivar beat Ramos in September 1964, Jofre again expressed his desire to step up to featherweight and meet Saldivar.  Unfortunately neither fight materialized.  It would have been great to see Jofre-Saldivar meet each other in their prime.

  13. Clarence George 09:16am, 12/26/2015

    Another terrific featherweight, Petey Sarron, will be inducted into the IBHOF in 2016.  He was only stopped once in his long and illustrious career, by Henry Armstrong, thus losing the championship.

    “Sweet” Sue was another unstopped featherweight.  I don’t know why the usually reliable BoxRec doesn’t list his death, as he died a few years ago.

  14. Mike Casey 07:55am, 12/26/2015

    Ah, glad to hear it, OldSchool! Vicente certainly belongs there. Howard Winstone, despite his frustrations in those three fights, was always very generous in his praise of Saldivar and rated him among the all time greats.

  15. oldschool 07:18am, 12/26/2015

    Beautiful tribute to an all-time great. Saldivar was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1989 and International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999.

  16. Mike Casey 03:55am, 12/26/2015

    Yes, Clarence, Saldivar was quite a fighter. I certainly hope he’s in the Hall (I’m sure he is) though I must admit I don’t hold much stock in any so-called Hall of Fame these days. The match-ups you suggest here would be an absolute treat to watch! All those guys were wonderful fighters.

  17. Clarence George 03:25am, 12/26/2015

    Not only a great effort, Mike, but a great success.

    It would have been wonderful to see how Saldivar would have fared against the two all-time giants of the division, Willie Pep and Sandy Saddler, as well as Tony Canzoneri, Chalky Wright, and Abe Attell, among others.

    I’m not sure where I’d rank him, but certainly among the top 10.  He’s in the Hall, isn’t he?  He deserves to be, of course, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is.

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