A FIVE-FOOT, three-inch southpaw, Vicente Saldivar was a dynamo in the ring. He could box or bang and often softened opponents with a brutal body attack. Among his greatest assets was his stamina. Saldivar scored seven knockouts after the 7th round.
Saldivar, born in Mexico City, Mexico, turned pro in 1961 and won the Mexican featherweight title with a second-round knockout of Juan Ramirez on February 8, 1964. His first major victory came on June 1st of that same year when he defeated future lightweight champ Ismael Laguna. But his biggest moment was still to come.
On September 26, 1964, Saldivar won the world's featherweight title by upsetting Sugar Ramos with a 14th-round knockout. His first reign as champ would last four years and Saldivar made eight successful title defenses. The reign was highlighted by his trilogy with Howard Winstone.
Saldivar won each of the three Winstone fights, twice earning 15-round decisions and then stopping him in the 12th round of their final meeting in 1967. Saldivar announced his retirement after that contest. A year later, Winstone won recognition as featherweight champ.
After 21 months of inactivity, Saldivar returned to the ring on July 18, 1969 and won a 10-round decision over another ex-champ, Jose Legra. Then on May 9, 1970, he regained the featherweight title with a 15-round win over Johnny Famechon. This reign, however, was short-lived. Saldivar lost the crown seven months later in his first defense against Kuniaki Shibata.
The Mexican great retired again in 1971 but the lure of the ring was too strong. He returned at the age of 30 for another title try on October 20, 1970. His opponent was fellow Hall of Famer and former bantamweight champ Eder Jofre.
Jofre, who was 37, had won the featherweight crown after coming out of his own retirement. He would retire Saldivar for good with a fourth-round knockout in Brazil.