Re: Sandy Saddler vs Hank Armstrong......
A lot of people will claim Saddler had the right mix of height, reach and power like a smaller, slower Thomas Hearns, but with the added advantages of inside strength and an iron jaw. Saddler did possess all this, and the people who reckon he had what it took to maim Armstrong may be right - but I disagree.
Probably a product of subconscious, people seem to think Saddler would hold the intellectual superiority, but Armstrong was smart - he could counter punch well, avoiding a shot to put himself in position and land two of his own.
Now there is only one direction Armstrong headed, and that was forward - Saddler was pushed back in his career, but I can't ever recall Armstrong being physically overpowered, even against bigger challengers. Saddler may have been able to suffocate and claw away at contenders or potential champions, but trying to contain Armstrong, especially at featherweight, was like attempting to put out a raging fire with a water pistol.
That's the key factor here actually - featherweight. Or anything around that poundage - Armstrong was not quite human. 1937 - 27-0, 26 knockouts. He wasn't just winning, he was smashing the house up, more so at that time than the version we usually see on film, whose punches admittedly looking fairly light. Not that he wasn't still smashing everyone up of course, but there were a few who went the distance as Armstrong put on a bit of weight, and coincidentally these are the ones on film.
At featherweight, it was pure hell to even try to withstand the fanaticism of his attack.
Saddler could hold and hit Willie Pep, but it's not the same. It's as simple as this, to me; Armstrong would be too much for him. The reality is that Saddler wouldn't have the physical advantages, because despite being strong for his build and a very hard puncher, he wasn't a good enough boxer to work his way around Armstrong. Which means he'd have to deal with him at mid to close range, and that would be murder.
How could he even hope to cope with a man who, at that distance, is stronger, quicker, has more torque in his hooks and uppercuts, uses his head, and who throws a hundred punches in every round?
I'm confident in Armstrong's chin holding up. It may very well be one of the very best in history.