It was on this date near the time of this posting, the predawn morning of August 12th some 32 years ago that perhaps the finest boxing talent that Mexico has ever birthed passed violently from this world when his Porsche 928 recklessly attempted to pass a freight truck at a high rate of speed. Salvador “Chava” Sanchez was only 23 years old, an interesting numeric palindromic juxtaposition with the 32 years from today that oddly adds up to the congressionally imposed era safety speed limit of 55 mph in neighboring Texas and the other US states.
Had Sanchez been traveling at 55 he might have maintained control of his Porsche, but then again perhaps Chava was never meant to be confined to such mundane mortal limits, especially while in a rush for a rendezvous with his mistress. After all, he like any great Mexican champ had need of a beautifully amorous senorita to quicken his pulse and relieve the pain of his grueling training camp, running some 8-10 miles in the mountains six days a week before sparring, even during the blistering Mexican summers.
And strangely enough Salvador Sanchez now has a highly touted Mexican boxing peer of sorts in this palindromic year 32 years later who just compiled an identical 44-1-1, 32 KO record by age 23 with the slightest of a variant, 44-1-1, 31 KO. That would be Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who has just now managed to make 24 years of age and is looking for his next big fight in Las Vegas.
Thankfully Canelo survived his much speedier 200 mph Maserati to perhaps add on another legendary layer of boxing history to the rich tapestry of Mexican boxing that Sanchez was front and center in establishing. The level of stardom that these fighters attain often extracts a heavy price as it ultimately did Sanchez. There is often no rhyme nor reason nor any purpose to who lives, who thrives, and who dies. We all hang by a twisting threadbare string of mortality that The Fates have us dancing on for their amusement.
Oh my, and such amusement and such spectacular spectacle did Chava provide for us who stood in mute awe after every fight. The numbers don’t lie, 10-0, 5 KO title record with four of those knockouts against Hall of Famers. It was as if he saved his best performances for his best competitors, each brilliant stand alone classics against Danny “Little Red” Lopez twice, Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez, and Azuma “The Professor” Nelson. There are only a handful of fighters in history who might match such young excellence as Chava acheived almost effortlessly in the middle of the toughest action imaginable. He was possessed of a magical sublime quality in those moments that defies the known physical limits of mankind as should Immortals always be so blessed.
After witnessing the brutal 15 round firefight against Azuma Nelson, the best pure boxer who ever existed in this world, Willie Pep, remarked in palpable relief, “I’m glad he (Salvador Sanchez) wasn’t around in my era,” and thus Chavo entered into the Great Pantheon of Boxing where he was always destined to reside.