A terrible sadness descends, outpours and envelopes, when a person, who`s still young, vital and oh so promising, with their whole life in front of them dies, leaving a void, which can never ever be filled.
Salvador Sanchez Narvaez, from Mexico, was born in Santiago Tianguistenco on January 26th, 1959. He was the son of Felipe Sanchez and Maria Luisa Narvaez’s son, with two brothers two sisters.
When he was thirteen, he discovered his real passion and vocation, starting boxing and after only nine amateur bouts, he instinctively knew it was time to become a pro.
From the very start Sal proved his promise, defeating elder and more experienced fighters. With an undefeated record of 18 victories with 18 KO´s, he contested the bantamweight Mexican National belt against the older, more experienced and battle- hardened Antonio Becerra, and the Judges ‘final decision handed Salvador his first and only defeat.
On April 15th, 1978. He fought abroad for the very first time in Los Angeles, California, against Southpaw, Juan Escobar, who turned out to be a wily, tough and dangerous opponent, sending him into the canvass in round five, but undeterred, Salvador fought his way to a draw.
In 1979 Salvador started to fight as a featherweight, proving this was his ideal division. He defeated top rivals including Carlos Mimila, Jesse Martínez, Salvador Torres, Fel Clemente, Rosalio Muro, Rafael Gandarilla and Félix Trinidad, father of the man who would become world champion in the future, namely Félix “Tito” Trinidad.
All these brilliant achievements qualified him to contest the World Boxing Council featherweight championship, due to the great vision of the then World Boxing Council President, Don Jose Sulaiman. The title was on the firm grasp of Danny “Coloradito” Lopez and despite the fact that Sanchez had all the odds against him, he come to the fight in wonderful mental condition, totally focused and in magnificent physical shape.
His exacting graduation test came in on February 2nd, 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona. The champion was making his 9th defence. Super confident and at his bristling peak, Danny arrived at the fight with a record of 42 wins and 3 loses, among his victories were: Rubén Olivares and Octavio “Famoso” Gómez, both of them brutally knocked out. But on that fabled night, Salvador Sanchez surprised the world, totally dominating and overwhelming Danny, displaying power, courage, ingenuity, and iron determination. So much so, that during a torrid and one sided thirteenth round, Referee, Waldemar Schmidt, was obliged to stop the bout.
“Sal” extended his legend as champion, defending his WBC belt against Rubén Castillo, for then granting “Coloradito” Lopez a rematch bout, which concluded with a KO in round 14. He also defeated Patrick Ford and Boricua, Juan Laporte.
Undefeated Puerto Rican WBC super-bantamweight champion, Wilfredo Gomez, audaciously challenged, brimming with a supreme confidence. After defeating an array of Mexicans, he was pleased to announce he would most assuredly be dethroning Salvador! In the super bantamweight division, Wilfredo was supreme, destroying all the fighters he faced.
The moment of truth one division higher up, came in on August 21st, 1981. That night Salvador gave Wilfredo Gomez the beating of his life, earning the recognition of “best pound for pound” Supremo. After that fight, Wilfredo accordingly returned to his division.
Salvador made another three defences defeating Pat Cowdell, Rocky Garcia and Ghanaian fledgling, later to become legend, “Professor” Azumah Nelson.
The world of Boxing, the sporting world, and the whole wide world was in a state of shock and acute grief, with the news that Sal had died in a car accident. More than 50,000 people attended his funeral to say a farewell. It`s a mark of the man, and due to the impression, he forever left, that every single year without an exception, Salvador is remembered at the Santiago Tianguistenco Cathedral with a mass in his loving memory.
Unfortunately, we could not and would not see the best years of Salvador. No rematch bout against Juan Laporte or Wilfredo Gomez, who have both come to Sal`s home town to pay tributes to him. That was how very special Salvador Sanchez was! Only….a battle only reserved for the Heavens between Salvador Sanchez vs Nicaraguan idol Alexis Argüello. It was never destined to happen on the turf of this Earth.