By Scoop Malinowski
Former two-time world Featherweight title challenger Patrick Ford of Guyana discussed with me in 2007 at Gleasons Gym his 1980’s national TV world title fights against Hall of Fame titans Salvador Sanchez and Eusebio Pedroza. Scoop: What do you remember about your fight with Salvador Sanchez?
Patrick Ford: “Sanchez was a tremendous fighter. I would say an all around fighter. He was known as a legend, prior to me fighting him (in September 1980 in San Antonio, Texas). But I had 13 (actually 16) fights when I fought him. I had already fought for four titles and won all four of them. My fifth fight was 15 rounds for the local title in my country (W 15 Tiger Greene in 1978), which I won on unanimous decision. I was ranked #5 in the world with five fights. I was Guyana champion, Central America champion, British Commonwealth champion and the Caribbean champion. So I came from a background that was very high. They did not really respect me because I did not fight here. I fought in Africa, but I never had a fight in America. What is surprising is I used to train in America and go to Guyana to fight. I used to train amongst some of the best fighters, Cubans, in Miami. I was at the Fifth Street Gym. So when I went to fight Salvador Sanchez, the odds were 45-1. My first sparring that week it went down to 10-1. At fight time it was even – Sanchez didn’t have no odds over me. Plus, I didn’t think he could beat me. If you look at that fight, I beat Sanchez for at least nine or ten rounds. I know I won them rounds, I don’t know how they took them from me (one of the judges scored the fight a draw – Sanchez won by majority decision). ”
“But I took every fight as an exceptional fight. All fights I had, take every fighter as an exceptional fighter. It give me the enthusiasm to train, to prepare for the best. So when I meet Salvador Sanchez, I know I was meeting a great fighter. And I know that because of the fact it was a world title fight. Price linked there free mactracker mactracker is probably my favorite obscure and under appreciated app… I know I had to come up with something. To show the world there are great fighters and there are greater fighters. And I went there to prove our country, eventhough I was the first Guyanese to fight for the world title, we gonna have people coming behind me. It was history. It was a historic event. I was 24, he was 21. We had a good fight. I’m sorry about what happened to him (Sanchez passed away from an auto crash in Mexico). But we never know the future. ”
Scoop: Did you speak with Sanchez before and after the fight? Did you have any interaction or communication with him? Was he respectful to you?
Patrick Ford: “You know, we hadn’t spoken after the fight. Before the fight we did a little. He speak Spanish, I don’t know Espanol. He had to be nice guy. He was beloved by the people. He had to be nice. Howard Cosell interviewed me before (for ABC Network). And he said, You know Mr. Ford, I want to say this, I never think I said this to any other fighter, but what college do you attend? I said [laughs] I never been to such a school in my life. He said, Well this is gonna be a tremendous fight because your perception, the way you think. In fact, I used to train with Cus D’Amato and Eddie Futch. I used to live there. Cosell said, ‘This is gonna be a great fight. Because Mr. Ford is one of the most intelligent fighters I spoke to in years. ‘ And he did say that. It’s very bad when we lose certain characters. And I think Howard Cosell would have been a great person in boxing. ”
Scoop: Talk about your fight five months later against Eusebio Pedroza for the WBA Featherweight title in Panama City, Panama. Patrick Ford: “The Pedroza fight was an error (loss by KO 13 in February 1981). I told my managers that I was really going to lightweight, the full lightweight (126 to 135 – Ford stood 5-ft, 10-in tall, which was very tall for a featherweight). And they say okay. And so I start to operate like a lightweight. And then they come back with Pedroza and I have to lose 13 pounds in six days. Now I didn’t know this. For me to lose 13 pounds I had to purposefully lose about 24 pounds, for me to lose 13 pounds. Because as you know, you lose four pounds, then you put on two or two and a half or three. And I have to lose so much. And it get to me. By the third round I was tired. I fought him 13 1/2 rounds. And then the exhaustion take me out. But I proved I can come to Panama, in your homeland, in your country, in your house, and fight you. I wasn’t scared of nobody. ”
Ford had two more fights in 1982 but he quit boxing after he lost both to David Brown and Isidro Perez. Ford decided to return to boxing and won three comeback fights in Guyana in 1985 and 1987. After retiring from boxing, Ford lived in New York City and became a licensed plumber. He also trained amateur and pro boxers at Gleasons Gym in Brooklyn, until his death in November 2011 at age 55 from complications due to a heart attack. .