Born & raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Joseph ‘Sandy’ Saddler (145-16-2, 101KO) was historically P4P one of boxing’s deadliest punchers, doing the majority of his work in the Featherweight & Junior-Lightweight divisions.
Despite being one of the taller fighters at those weight classes, Sandy used angles and fought an aggressive style, predicated on timing, and mixing in rough-house tactics with the intent to break the mind of his opponent, as well as the body. While his style wasn’t smooth on the eyes, it was extremely effective, cementing his place as one of the greatest fighters in the storied Featherweight division.
Starting his career back in 1944, he actively sought assignments and worked his way to a World title shot, against the legendary Willie Pep, who at that point had an historically astonishing record (134-1-1), and held the World Featherweight Crown, earning the reputation of being the sports greatest Featherweight with the work that he compiled and the performances that he put forth.
While ‘The Wisp’ was a 3 to 1 betting odds favorite, Sandy was successful in roughing Willie up, and wore him down, putting him on the canvas twice in the 3rd round, and finishing the job in the 4th round, becoming the new Featherweight Champion of the World.
They would meet once more again in a re-match 4 months later in what turned out to be the 1949 Ring-Magazine Fight of the Year, in a fight in which Willie Pep was able to return the favor and get his revenge by defeating Saddler and taking his Featherweight Crown back by way of unanimous decision. In 1950, he nabbed the vacant Junior-Lightweight Title against Orlando Zulueta, further bolstering his credentials. Later in the year, Saddler and Pep met for a 3rd time at Yankee Stadium, and Sandy’s pressure-packed style proved to be Willie’s Kryptonite once again. Willie Pep hit the canvas once again in the 3rd round, but he managed to get up.
Ultimately a separated left shoulder injury did Pep in, and he retired from the match after the 7th round, giving Saddler a 2 to 1 edge in their storied rivalry. As far as another rivalry, Saddler had his problems with Paddy DeMarco. Though Sandy won the 1st fight, Paddy was awarded victories in the 2nd and 3rd fights, both by split decision.
Pep met with Saddler one more time in 1951, this time taking place at the famed Polo Grounds in Harlem, and resulted in one of the dirtiest fights in boxing history, with both fighters repeatedly fouling and tackling each other to the canvas. Aside from that, Pep looked very sharp early, but once again, Saddler overwhelmed Willie and got to him, making Willie stay on his stool after the 9th round, capping the rivalry at 3 to 1 in Sandy’s favor.
As Saddler’s career was coming to a close, he split one fight a piece with Filipino legend Flash Elorde in two contests between 1955 and 1956. He lost his last fight later in 1956, and decided to wrap up a lengthy career in which is did and saw virtually everything a fighter could see, ensuring a clear pathway to boxing immortality in the eyes of the boxing world. Here are a list of his accomplishments.
– 3X Lineal World Champion (126 Lbs. Twice & 130 Lbs.)
– Defeated Willie Pep 3 Times (In 4 Fights)
– 5 Wins Over 3 HOF’ers (Willie Pep ‘3X’, Joe Brown, Flash Elorde)
– On The Short List Of Greatest Featherweights Of All-Time
– P4P One of Boxings Greatest Punchers (101 Knockouts)
– 1949 Ring-Magazine Fight Of The Year (Saddler vs. Pepp II)
– International Boxing Hall-Of-Fame (Inducted In 1990)
STANDOUT MOMENT – Defeating the legendary Willie Pep via upset victory in their first encounter.
SIGNATURE WINS – Willie Pep (3X), Gabriel ‘Flash’ Elorde, Joe Brown, Paddy DeMarco, Harold Dade, Lauro Salas (2X), Ray Famechon