International Boxing Hall of Fame
Joseph "Sandy" Saddler was born in Boston, Massachusetts on June 23, 1926, and died on September 18, 2001. He was a two-time featherweight world champion, and also held the junior lightweight crown. Over his twelve-year career (1944-1956), Saddler scored 103 knockouts. He was stopped only once, in his second pro fight, by Jock Leslie. His final record was 145-16-2.
Saddler is best known for his four-bout series with boxing legend Willie Pep. The two first faced off on 29 October 1948. Pep was the reigning featherweight champion of the world, and coming into the fight boasted a record of 134-1-1. Pep had not lost since Sammy Angott beat him by decision on 3 March 1943, a span of 74 fights. Saddler captured the title by knocking Pep down four times en route to a four-round knockout victory.
Pep then recaptured the crown on 11 February 1949 by outpointing Saddler over 15 rounds, in what is considered one of the greatest boxing exhibitions ever seen. Saddler regained the crown on 8 September 1950 by a TKO in the eight round. Pep quit after dislocating his shoulder. The pair fought their last fight on 26 September 1951. In one of the dirtiest championship fights ever fought, Saddler won when the fight was stopped in the tenth round.
Saddler fought many other notable opponents during his career. He knocked out future lightweight champion Joe Brown, as well as lightweight champions Lara Salas and Paddy DeMarco. Saddler beat lightweight champion Jimmy Carter, knocked out future junior lightweight champion Gabriel "Flash" Elorde, and lost to Larry Boardman.
Saddler retired from boxing in 1956 after an eye injury sustained in a traffic accident. He later became a trainer and helped train the young George Foreman in the 1970s. He was ranked #5 on the Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.
Saddler died on 18 September, 2001.