There’s no better person to ask about the similarities in the fighting styles of former Mexican world champion Salvador Sanchez and his nephew of the same name than legendary trainer Jimmy Montoya. Montoya worked with the featherweight world champion Sanchez in the early 1980s before he was tragically killed in a 1982 car accident at the age of 23. Three years later Sanchez’s brother had a son and named him after the great champion. On Saturday night, boxing fans will get to see a glimpse of what made the champion so special when Salvador Sanchez II (15-3-2, 8 KOs) takes on dangerous veteran Trinidad Mendoza in a featherweight bout on the undercard of the main event world title showdown between World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion Vitali “Dr. Iron Fist” Klitschko and WBC No. 1 contender Cristobal “The Nightmare’’ Arreola at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Montoya has been the 24-year-old Sanchez’s trainer for the past 18 months. “This kid looks identical to his uncle,” said Montoya of Sanchez, who is from Santiago Tianguistenco, Mexico. “You have to see it. And if you look at his style it’s exactly like his uncle. And no one has taught him that.”
Montoya still shakes his head in disbelief when he speaks about the crowd reaction Sanchez II has received. “The people go crazy,” he said. “In Cancun not even the main event got as much attention. People were yelling and screaming and asking for his autograph. It was amazing. Everywhere he goes they follow him. After the fight I had to pull him out of there after an hour.”
Salvador Sanchez had a (44-1, 32 KOs) before his death. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.
In honor of his uncle, Sanchez II wears his trunks and robe in the ring and looks like a throwback to the 80’s
Is fighting on Saturday night’s Klitschko-Arreola undercard the highlight of your young career so far?
Yes. I’ve never been in such a big event before. I’m so excited about it but I’m keeping my cool at the same time. I’m honored and excited and just can’t wait to get in there and fight.
Is it a blessing or curse to have the name Salvador Sanchez?
Oh, definitely a blessing. It was such a big thing to be named after my uncle. He was such a great man and I could only hope I can be half as what my uncle was. That name gives me so much courage and makes me want to just learn that much more.
Did you ever feel any added pressure to be a boxer because you were named for your uncle?
No, I just always wanted to be a boxer. It was never because of my uncle but because it was in my blood. My father and my mother did not want me to box but still it was in me and I just kept on and on.
Who would you like to fight in the future?
Whoever they put me with. I don’t know any of the names but as soon as I get a couple of more wins I want to fight all the top guys and realize my dream of becoming a world champion.
Your trainer says your style is exactly like your uncle. What is your style in the ring?
I like to move side to side and both ways and I like to fight. Sometimes Jimmy gets mad at me because I just like to get it on. I just want to trade punches but I have to focus more on what I’m doing. I have watched every single one of my uncles fights since I was a kid and so I’ve been able to take things from him.
Tickets are on sale at all TicketMaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000 and online at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at the STAPLES Center Box Office. Tickets are priced at $500, $300, $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25.