This week in boxing history, PBC spotlights two spirited lightweight battles, remembers a featherweight legend, celebrates a young welterweight star and flashes back to a heavyweight Hall of Famer’s last title defense.
August 21, 1981 – Salvador Sanchez stopped Wilfredo Gomez in Round 8 (of 15) to retain his WBC featherweight title before a capacity crowd of nearly 5,000 at the Caesars Palace Sports Pavilion in Las Vegas.
Sanchez, 22, made his sixth title defense against the previously unbeaten Gomez, the WBC super bantamweight champion, who moved up to 126 pounds to challenge for a second world title. Sanchez knocked down the 24-year-old Puerto Rican, who entered the “Battle of the Little Giants” with a streak of 32 straight KO victories, in the first round before dropping Gomez again in the eighth with a punishing combination that prompted referee Carlos Padilla to stop the fight.
August 21, 2016 – Errol Spence Jr. knocked out Leonard Bundu in Round 6 (of 12) to win an IBF welterweight title eliminator at Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn, New York.
After a knockdown of Bundu in the sixth was ruled a push by referee Johnny Callas, the left-handed Spence landed a powerful right hook that sent the 41-year-old Italian onto his back underneath the ring ropes and ended the bout. With his victory before 6 million viewers on NBC, Spence earned a title shot against Kell Brook, whom he dethroned as world champion in May with an 11th-round knockout.
August 22, 1939 – Lou Ambers beat Henry Armstrong by 15-round unanimous decision to regain the world lightweight title before a crowd of 29,088 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York.
In a rematch of their 1938 Fight of the Year that Armstrong won by split decision, Ambers took back the championship in another action-packed thriller with a controversial result. There were no knockdowns as the fighters battered each other over 15 rounds, but referee Arthur Donovan penalized Armstrong five rounds for fouls, resulting in an 8-7 edge for Ambers on two scorecards (the third was 11-3) and dealing “Homicide Hank” his first loss in 47 fights.
August 22, 1998 – Ivan Robinson defeated Arturo Gatti by 10-round split decision in a lightweight non-title fight at Atlantic City’s Convention Hall.
Robinson, a 5-to-1 betting underdog, overcame a fourth-round knockdown to win the seesaw contest, which The Ring named Fight of the Year and Upset of the Year. Robinson also won their rematch in Atlantic City nearly four months later by unanimous decision.
August 26, 1904 – James J. Jeffries stopped Jack Munroe in Round 2 (of 20) to retain his world heavyweight championship before a crowd of 8,000 at Mechanic’s Pavilion in San Francisco.
After Munroe lasted four rounds with Jeffries in an exhibition match in Butte, Montana, in December 1902, the Canadian-born miner received a formal shot at the champion. Jeffries knocked Munroe down twice in the first round before finishing him off in the second to defend his title for the seventh time. Jeffries retired after the bout with a record of 19-0-2 (with 16 KOs), but returned in July 1910 to face champion Jack Johnson, who scored a 15th-round TKO.