Augie "Kid Vegas" Sanchez: The testosterone-torqued volley

augie sanchez(Augie Sanchez, seen here getting treatment after having been knocked out in the 4th round by Naseem Hamad in August 2000) 01.06.07 - By Ted Sares: Augie "Kid Vegas" Sanchez was a solid fighter who had a great amateur background and even beat Floyd Mayweather once, but he lost a chance to represent the United States in the 1996 Games by losing twice to Mayweather in the Olympic Box-Offs.

As a professional, Sanchez, 28 - 3 (25 ko's), achieved a good degree of success, but there had been questions about his chin that were eventually answered in brutal fashion. He had beaten Jorge Paez, Daniel Jimenez and Nestor "Chino Lopez and was a considered a very hard puncher with an 81% KO percentage.

In his 2000 fight with Prince Naseem Hamed, 34-0, in Foxwoods Resort, he engaged in a give-and-take slug fest and landed a number of hard shots. He stunned the Prince even knocking him down, though Referee Mike Ortega inexplicably did not rule it as an official knockdown. "To be honest with you I think my feet were a little off balance but I give him the shot," Hamed later confided. "I think he should have been given that knockdown."

At the bell ended the second round, Sanchez had swelling under and around his right eye. There were bad abrasions around Hamed's right eye and blood dripped from his nostrils. Both men knew they were in a fight with and the outcome still seemed up for grabs. The third stanza featured back-and-forth action with Hamed finally getting the upper hand when he drilled Sanchez with a straight right. Both fighters traded hooks, but Sanchez got the worst of it. Hamed kept the pressure on the game "Kid" with a series of punishing right hands that wobbled the challenger. He looked hurt and maybe ripe for the picking if the Prince upped the pressure.

augie sanchez"Kid Vegas” slowly returned to his corner at the bell. In the fourth, Hamed seemingly decked Sanchez twice, but both times, Referee Ortega did not rule them knockdowns and even penalized The Prince for hitting Augie while he was down. At this point, Augie was done. The Prince made certain by punctuating his onslaught with a four-punch volley launched with turbo-charged force. It hit Sanchez with full and flush connection squarely on the face. Hamed seemed to have come down from above on a Flying Carpet as he landed the punch. It was a concussive and sudden ending to what had been a surprisingly competitive bout.

Sanchez remained prone on the canvas for several minutes before he was placed in a neck brace, given oxygen, and removed from the ring on a stretcher. The chief ringside physician, Dr. Michael Schwartz, believed that he had suffered a concussion, and he was taken to nearby Backus Medical Hospital where he remained overnight. "Sanchez was very lethargic and slow to respond to commands," Dr. Schwartz said. "He was talking with slurred speech. His pupils were sluggish." It was altogether a scary scene, one from which I recoiled.

augie sanchez"The main thing is I wish that Allah makes him nice and safe and there's nothing wrong with him at all," Hamed said after the fight.

The Kid somehow regrouped and fought and won two fights in 2001 against former two-time world champion but now badly faded Luisito Espinosa and Daniel Jimenez. Then, in December of the same year, he fought John Michael Johnson, 29-7, at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA.

Before you could say "Kid Vegas," "Bam Bam" Johnson launched a furious attack and staggered the Kid. He achieved closure at the 31-second mark with a perfect right cross flush on the jaw. Sanchez collapsed sideways as he fell hard to the canvas seemingly unconscious. He rolled over on his back with his eyes closed. Sanchez never moved as referee James Jen Kin kneeled directly above him and counted him out.

To the relief of the fans, Augie finally regained consciousness after Miguel Diaz poured some water over his chest. He attempted to struggle to his feet but was held down by the ringside doctor. Eventually he was again carried out in a stretcher as a precaution and I again recoiled as there as a palpable fear for Augie's life. Two defeats and two times being carried out on a stretcher was bad juju.

Sanchez attempted to regain his boxing license with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but was denied on all attempts due to the brutality of his knockout losses. He is now retired.

As a postscript, Luisito Espinosa, 47-13 (26 ko's) is embroiled is a tale of that can only be described as pathos. He was forced to retire in 2005 after a public outcry for him to stop fighting. He is currently making ends meet as a stocker at Costco, a wholesale store chain. Sadly, he has yet to collect a large purse from a former provincial governor in the Philippines for the featherweight title defense against Carlos Rios of Argentina in December 1997. What's worse, immigration authorities granted him a green card on condition he continue fighting as he acquired residency by way of "special skills." Yet, he has now been suspended by California State Athletic Commission from fighting based on his recent poor ring performances. Thus. It would appear he is caught in a dangerous bureaucratic nightmare. But that's a tail for another day.

Article posted on 02.06.2007

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