This weeks fantasy fight came courtesy of one of our feature writers Jamie Bourne who wanted to know hypothetically who would win the mystical match up between Prince Naseem Hamed and Salvador Sanchez, I asked / answered the question along with some of the best boxingheads around, Enjoy
Paul Daley: A fantasy fight between Prince Naseem Hamed and Salvador Sanchez is one in which many a boxing fan has gazed upon whilst trying to figure out in their own mind how a fight between the two would unfold.
I was never a fan of Prince Naseem Hamed throughout his reign, never really liking his arrogance or trash talking that he would constantly do in fact whoever fought Hamed I was a fan of theirs in the hope of seeing all that bravado come crashing down around him, these days are very different, since his retirement I have inadvertently come across some of his fights where I now without bias acknowledge his skill and ring craft, impressed by what he achieved and the way in which he achieved it.
Looking at the picture as a whole, Naseem Hamed brought about the kind of excitement to the lower divisions which had been missing, demanding purses that had never been seen, ultimately opening the doors for some of the big money fights we see in the lower weight classes today.
Naz putting aside his arrogance was a great fighter to watch, punching from angles not seen in a boxing ring whilst relying heavily on his cat like reflexes and one punch knockout power you have to admire the man in action. His resume is also very impressive where you can find the likes of Steve Robinson, Tom Johnson, Cesar Soto, Wilfredo Vazquez and Kevin Kelley amongst others, all losing to the cocky kid from Sheffield.
He did lose though, just once but it was damaging enough to dent the impenetrable confidence of the Prince who for the first time in his professional career had doubted himself, the man to hand out that loss was the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera.
In a contest where leading up to the fight many believed the Mexican would come forward to meet Naz in a battle of wills actually turned in to a boxing class for Hamed who was left out of ideas as Barrera changed his style to one that would outbox the champion over twelve rounds, such was the dominance of Naseem up to this point that this fight was an upset to some people.
Still Hamed made one more trip to the squared circle before hanging up his leopard print spotted shorts a win over Manuel Calvo in a twelve rounder which signaled his retirement.
Standing in the opposite corner in this Fantasy fight we or should I say Jamie picked Salvador Sanchez, the no nonsense Mexican who stands as one of the greatest Mexican fighters of all time.
We never really got to see the full extent of Salvador Sanchez legacy due to his demise from a car accident that killed him at the age of 23 an event that shock the boxing world to its core and still as many boxing insiders asking “What If”
Salvador often confided in family that he was of the belief that he would live a short life often having conversations of how he would like his funeral to be conducted.
On to his professional life where reports of Sal sparring for 15 x 5 minute rounds or doing 10 to 15 miles every day in the mountains of Mexico were believable, the man was a well conditioned machine which was set to go which all but one opponent was unable to stop.
Sanchez beat the likes of Danny Lopez, Juan Laporte, Wilfredo Gomez and Azumah Nelson in his reign as Featherweight world champion and it was reported that Alexis Arguello was in the latter stages of signing a deal to face Sanchez before he got cold feet, not fancying the task that was put in front of him which may have been for good reason, Sal was a fighter who many claim would have went on to become the greatest featherweight of all time.
So looking at a match up between these two men was straight forward for me personally, Prince Naz had a style all of his own which was hard to predict, sure, but we knew he could be outboxed and there were no better than Sanchez, I feel and I may be being a little harsh in saying this but in a contest between these two men Salvador Sanchez would have won this convincingly maybe by not even losing a round in doing so, Sanchez was that good – In a twelve round fight I believe this one would have gone to a unanimous decision in favour of Sanchez, In a fifteen round fight Sanchez would have stopped him – Sanchez
Jamie Bourne: If you told me I could make a fight between any two fighters of my choice, I’d pick Salvador Sanchez vs Naseem Hamed.
The fight would take place at Caesars Palace; Naz would make his way to the ring on a flying carpet, with the crowd booing him as he enters the ring. He vaults the top rope and waits for his opponent to enter.
Sanchez enters the ring as cool as ice, as he salutes the Mexican fans. Once he enters the ring, Naz tries to strike fear into the Mexican by getting in his face and shouting ‘You’re getting knocked out’, but the champion remains unfazed.
Salvador wins the early rounds behind the jab and Naz can’t seem to find his range. In the fourth, Hamed lands with a few good shots which just bounce off the chin of Sanchez and don’t hurt him at all. Going into the fifth, the Mexican has built up a lead of 50-45 and he looks to be in control.
The sixth round turns into one of the greatest rounds of all time. ‘The Prince’ lands with a few solid shots that stop the champion in his tracks, but Sanchez keeps firing back with damaging blows of his own. It’s non-stop action throughout the round and Hamed goes down, but rises to beat the count and see the end of the round.
Sanchez eyes the finish and as the bell rings for the start of the seventh round, he walks over to Naz, who still seems hurt and throws some bone-crushing punches and the referee steps in and stops the fight. – Salvador Sanchez by seventh round knockout.
Number2Snake: Careers are cut short everyday in boxing, some due to injury, others due to miss management. Prince Naseem Hamed hit the boxing scene like a hurricane dancing, flipping and jabbing his way to the top, but behind his comical demeanor hid a ferocious boxer puncher who entertained us before a bout, as much as during. His career came to a screeching halt, when he met ring tested Antonio Barrera in the ring. Barrera took the starch out of the slick, puncher taking his crown and pride, eventually ending the young champions ring life early.
Salvador Sanchez on the other hand was an intense pressure fighter, who rode his opponents to their breaking points. He was on the brink of super stardom after beating Wilfredo Gomez, and knocking out Azumah Nelson in the 15th round of a stellar performance at MSG in 1982 when a fatal car accident ended what could have been Mexico’s most exciting fighter to date.
Now what would have happened if Naseem Hamed and Salvador Sanchez ever met each other in their primes?? I am a lover of the sweet science, to me that is the ability to hit an opponent and to not be hit. A true boxer uses his wits to outsmart his foe using the art of boxing. He is not just punching, or else our sport would be called punching. Prince Naseem Hamed was a boxer, he filled in a void for me when Pernell Whitaker retired that I thought would never be filled. I admit I was entertained by his antics in the beginning he really cracked me up dancing and flipping his way into the ring. I was really drawn to the ease Naseem could dodge punches while counter punching at neck break speeds.. Hands down one of the most entertaining boxers I’ve ever seen. That being said It would be unfair of me to downgrade him the way I’m am about to but here I go.
I think Prince Naseem Hamed would get the bricks beaten off him by the stalker/ power puncher in Salvador Sanchez. I know I just spent time hyping up the boxer and how they can outsmart opponents, but Sanchez had sledgehammers for fists for a little man. I could see The Prince jabbing showing footwork even outclassing Sanchez for the most of the fight. Salvador was a head hunter, and after about 10 rounds of masterful performance from Prince Hamed. Salvador Sanchez lands that right hook, followed by a flurry of left and right hooks. Although we did not get to see what Sanchez would have been like in his prime, what little I do know about him is when he smelled blood you were as good as shark bait. As much as I loved the Prince, In my opinion Salvador Sanchez would end him like he ended most of his opponents, by dizzying fashion.- Salvador Sanchez by TKO
Lee Thornton: Another good fantasy fight this week. First I am going to give you my thoughts on Prince Naseem . He had a very unique style , had a nice right hand and had good power to . Salvador Sanchez had amazing conditioning , an Iron chin and would back fighters up and attack with vicious punches he really was a great offensive fighter who could slip some punches on defense as well. I see this fight being close for roughly 4 rounds but I see Sanchez coming out with a stoppage win . Sanchez really was a special fighter and to illustrate that I am going to leave you with a quote from the great Willie Pep ” I’m glad he wasn’t around around in my era.”
Sanchez by TKO in the 7th round.
Tim Ellis: Salvador Sanchez vs Prince Naseem Hamed is a very intriguing fight i suppose any fight with the Prince in it is. I’m not to familiar with Sanchez only being young myself but the man only lost 1 fight by SD early on in his career so it would be hard to see him losing this one. Hamed also only lost 1 fight when he fought Barrera, but id imagine this fight going similar to that one, but the Prince would of tried everything using all his fancy moves making it a good fight, but I’d pick Sanchez to stop him late if it was a 15 round fight, Sanchez wins by TKO 14rd.
Tony Nash: Two terrible wastes of talent. For me Sanchez could have become one of the greatest featherweights ever if it wasn’t for his tragic death,
If Hamed had never lost his focus he could have achieved far more and become a true great.
Naz the man with great reflexes and massive power in both hands vs The excellent counter puncher that was Sanchez.
There’s only one winner for me and that was Salvador Sanchez wide on points. He was the better fighter who fought at a higher level of opposition.
Cedric LeClair: Very tough fight for Hamed. Unfortunately, I see this fight playing out pretty much the same way we saw Hamed vs Barrera. Sanchez possessed speed, power, and was an excellent counter puncher…sound familiar? Like Barrera he would circle around Hamed counter-clockwise to negate Hamed’s powerful lefts. By age 23 Sanchez had beaten tough fighters like Danny Lopez, Wilfredo Gomez, and Azumah Nelson. You can add the Prince to that list in my opinion. – Sanchez
Nick Jones: This would be an interesting fight between the heavy hitting unorthodox style of Hamed against the all action Sanchez. Hamed could throw punches from any angle and threw knockout punches with every shot. His defence and attack being based on his athletic ability and instinct. Sanchez, although not known for his punching power, could certainly hit hard. However, his style was based around throwing volumes of punches. The beginning of the fight would see both men looking to dominate, but defence would be key. Sanchez had an expert defence and was able to slip punches easily. Hamed would certainly offer something different, but I think he would struggle to catch Sanchez cleanly. The bunches that Sanchez throws would see Hamed struggle to keep out of trouble. The fight would certainly progress to the latter rounds, but as Hamed is not able to dominate with his athleticism, he would become disheartened – Sanchez to win by UD.
Charles Kozlowsky: This week we have another exciting match up with Prince Naseem Hamed vs Salvador Sanchez. Sanchez was tragically taken from us by a car accident and Hamed retired early at the age of 28. Both gone from boxing much to early, now to my prediction. Sanchez was a tough volume puncher with pretty good power and a quiet humble guy, The Prince was quite the opposite as far as personality. A flashy showman who had fast hands and KO power, as far as the fight I see Hamed dancing around the ring and out boxing Sanchez for a few rounds then Sanchez pressuring Hamed into some good exchanges, Sanchez would slip punches and catch Hamed with a few of his own. My pick is Hamed by a close decision. I’d have loved to have seen this fight.
Salvador Gonzalez: This would be a teacher schooling a student kind of fight. A tall lengthy, tough jabber Sanchez vs a flimsy, hands low, smaller Hamed.
Teacher Chava uses jab and height to keep the smaller Hamed away! Cool calm and composed Chava works distance and ring to his advantage and Naz’ defense is easy target for a well schooled fighter to take advantage of the weak defense and low hands Hamed, Chava will capitalize as did with taller and more aggressive fighters, Barrera and McCullough. Barrera schooled him as Sal Sanchez would have also. Sanchez wins UD.. Due to Naz running or else Naz would be on his back..
WINNER BY UNANIMOUS DECISION…………….SALVADOR SANCHEZ