Melvina Lathan, Chairperson
New York State Athletic Commission
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July in New York State Boxing History
On July 21, 1982, in New York’s Madison Square Garden, the great Salvador “The Invincible Eagle” Sanchez had his first and only fight in New York State, defeating Azumah Nelson via a 15th round TKO to retain his WBC World Featherweight title in what was truly a match for the ages between these famed warriors.
Throughout the bout, Nelson was seen as the aggressor, landing more punches per round and outworking Sanchez. However, Sanchez broke through Nelson's ferocious attacks and dropped Nelson with a devastating left hook in the seventh round. Nelson, though, beat the count and returned to form after that wake-up call. With both fighters exhausted going into the final round, Sanchez came out and hurt Nelson with a hard right and another devastating left hook, which left Nelson staggering badly just before falling into a corner. Once again, Nelson got back up. Sanchez then seized the opportunity, landing a few more serious blows, staggering Nelson again just before the referee jumps in to call a halt at the 1:47 mark of the fifteenth and final round. Sanchez showed his greatness by stopping a young and aggressive Azumah Nelson.
Regrettably and sadly for boxing fans around the world, this would be the champion’s last fight. While training for a rematch with Juan Laporte, who he had defeated in a 15-roound unanimous decision in El Paso, TX the previous year, Sanchez died in a car crash the early morning of August 12, 1982, at the age of 23.
Salvador Sanchez finished his career undefeated as champion and was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.
Salvador Sanchez’ record was 44 Wins (32 Knockouts), one defeat and one draw.