Sixto Escobar vs. Pete Sanstol

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1935-08-07 : Pete Sanstol 117¾ lbs lost to Sixto Escobar 118 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12

The crowd of 10,000-11,000 was the largest in Montreal boxing history since the Panama Al Brown-Sanstol bout four years earlier--which itself "was the biggest gate in the history of boxing in Montreal." New York Times

Escobar received a guarantee of $3,000 and a percentage of the gate, while Sanstol received $2,000. August 7 The Gazette

Escobar-Sanstol Ticket.JPG

Round-by-Round Account:

Round One--They boxed carefully and then Escobar stuck two lefts into Sanstol's face. Pete, fighting from his usual crouch, was weaving in and out, looking for an opening. Escobar clubbed for Pete's head with his right, but Pete ducked away. Sanstol found Sixto's chin with a left jab. They boxed cautiously for the remainder of the round with Escobar winning the round.

Round Two--Sanstol made Escobar miss with his clever ducking and weaving but the Puerto Rican was boxing nicely and taking his time. Sanstol made Escobar miss again. He was doing little leading but the Puerto Rican could not connect at all. Escobar drove Pete's head back with an uppercut [his brand-new weapon]. He drove Sanstol's head back with a jab just as the bell went. Escobar had a shade the better of it to take the round.

Round Three--They fenced cautiously and Sanstol opened up a bit and went to the attack but the honors were even in the exchanges. Escobar shook Pete's head twice with left hooks. Sanstol stuck a left jab in Escobar's face but it didn't seem to hurt. Escobar connected twice with jarring left hooks to Pete's jaw. He was still jabbing Pete at the bell. Escobar's round.

Round Four--Sanstol came out cautiously and with a clever exhibition of weaving to keep away from Escobar's right. Sixto shook him up twice, however, with right crosses, but when he tried to follow up his advantage, Pete gave a brilliant exhibition of footwork and ducking to keep out of danger. The round was even because of Sanstol's brilliant defensive display.

Round Five--Sanstol connected to the side of Escobar's head with a right cross but Sixto fought him off when he tried to follow up his advantage. Sixto clubbed his opponent with a right to the head but Pete straightened up and made him break ground. Sixto was using his left hook to the head to score repeatedly and shook up Sanstol twice by crossing with his right. He uppercutted Pete at the end of the round to score another decisive blow. It was Escobar's round by a wide margin.

Round Six--Escobar just missed with an overhand right. The Puerto Rican was varying his attack beautifully and opening Sanstol up with his uppercuts when the latter tried to weave out of danger. Sanstol tried to trade blows with Escobar but soon broke ground. Sanstol went to the attack again but the Puerto Rican picked off his blows neatly. Escobar was giving a fine exhibition of stand-up boxing. He opened Pete's eye just before the bell. Escobar's round.

Round Seven--Sanstol's seconds worked on his left eye in between rounds. Escobar seemed fresh as a daisy. In the first exchanges of the seventh round, he connected flush on Sanstol's chin with a right cross and staggered him. He shook him up again as he hooked with his left to the chin. Pete was staggering and blood started to stream again from his left eye. Once again Sixto staggered Pete with his crashing right to the chin. Pete scored with a right to the head and brought down the house. Sixto missed two haymakers just at the bell but took the round easily.

Round Eight--They worked frantically on Sanstol between rounds. Pete came tearing out and started throwing punches at Escobar. He was trying for a haymaker. Blood streamed again from his eye. He swung wildly for the Puerto Rican's head and then uppercutted him to score as the crowd roared. He let go another right. The house was on its feet as Sanstol stood up and slugged with Escobar. Pete had now thrown caution to the winds and his gallant bid for victory had the house in cheers. Escobar won the round again but the bell found Sanstol still throwing them.

Round Nine--Sanstol was a sorry figure as his seconds worked over him between rounds. His face was so puffed that his left eye was almost completely closed. He piled into Escobar again but was driven back by a terrific right to the face. Again Sanstol tore in with a body attack but the strong Puerto Rican drove him off. Pete's eye was now completely closed. Sixto staggered him with a right to the head but he kept tearing in for more. Pete was standing in the centre of the ring exchanging blows with his opponent at the bell. Escobar's round.

Round Ten--Pete swung wildly with a haymaker that didn't connect. Escobar knocked him back on his heels with a left hook. Sanstol was doing all the leading but he was wild as a march hare in his aim. Escobar seemed to be biding his time. Sanstol backed Escobar to the ropes but did not hurt him. He was swinging wildly. Escobar backed away from his furiously swinging opponent and boxed him off but Sanstol never stopped stalking his prey. It was Sanstol's round.

Round Eleven--Sanstol connected twice with fast rights but Escobar staggered him again as he counter-punched with his right, a crushing blow. Escobar flung two more hard rights to the head and then another that staggered Pete. But the Norwegian was right back in, willing to trade punches with [the newspaper account then gets a bit garbled here] ... head back with a right cross. Sanstol took another terrific right to the head at the bell. Escobar's round by a wide margin.

Round Twelve--Sanstol waded into Escobar as soon as they stepped back from the customary touch of the gloves but the Puerto Rican fenced him off. Sanstol charged in again and tried an overhand right which glanced off and got a right cross in return. They wrestled in a clinch as Sanstol missed an opening and then Escobar smacked him again with his left, flush on his puffed face. They were fighting furiously with Sanstol gamely trying for the K.O. punch at the bell. It was Escobar's round.

Montreal Gazette----

Fan given to fans, for this mid-summer bout.

Pete Sanstol, Loser, Receives Thunderous Applause For Courageous Showing Made in Defeat

Twice the bell saved Pete Sanstol from being knocked out in his vain but courageous effort to wrest the world's bantam boxing crown from the brow of Sixto Escobar at the Forum last night. And it was Sanstol's courage, determination and dodging skill that enabled ten or eleven thousand excited men and women to witness the best prize fight seen here for many a night. That Escobar won by a large margin and through skillful, powerful and well-placed blows is true; but it was not an easy victory and he had to work hard for it. The tough pugilistic nut that opposed him was very hard to crack, though in the end Sanstol's face was cut to ribbons, he tottered on his feet and had to be handed over to the care of a physician for about an hour after the last and twelfth round was finished....

There was hardly any of the hugging and clinching which spoils so many bouts, except toward the end when Sanstol was compelled to clinch to keep on his feet. Most of the time the men fought toe to toe....

Notwithstanding all that his seconds tried, and Raoul Godbout himself was in command, Sanstol's face looked like raw and mascerated beef steak a few seconds after the seventh round began.... But he fought with desperation, aided by that uncanny sixth sense born fighters possess, hoping that some of his wide, heavy swings might reach the proper spot and topple Escobar from his throne.

The crowd was frantic with excitement, expecting him to be knocked out any moment, although the sympathy of the majority seemed to be with him. Amidst the roar from the thousands of throats Sanstol kept on his wild and one might say almost senseless attack, till he was compelled to fall in a clinch to save himself before the final gong sounded. Sanstol's face was cruelly cut up, but he got the best of the cheering when he was escorted from the ring.

Montreal Daily Star

Yellowed clipping from Sanstol's scrapbook.

Sanstol Makes Gallant Stand In Defeat
But Champion Too Powerful

He came plunging in, plunging in, plunging in, this blonde fighter with the heart of a lion and the red blood of his ancient Viking forbears pounding through his veins. He kept plunging in, with one eye completely closed, his face no longer a face, but a battered, swollen, bruised and distorted pulp. He could hardly see the dancing brown figure in front of him. He had to turn his head to the far left to glimpse his foeman. He couldn't see, he could only sense the lethal right hand that round after round beat a cruel tattoo upon his left face and head. But through the mists of blood, half-blinded, he came plunging in, right to the last minute of the twelfth round. So Pete Sanstol, as big-hearted a fighter as ever stepped on resined canvas, was turned back in another bid for a world fistic title at the Forum last night, as a near-capacity crowd of some 11,000 people acclaimed his dauntless courage.

[Escobar] smashed and battered Sanstol until the blonde game-cock's face was pulp. But he couldn't floor him, he couldn't stop his charging course, he couldn't break the fighting heart of this tough Nordic from the land of the fjords and ice-floes. Sanstol lost, but into history of Montreal ringdom he wrote such an epic of raw courage, of dauntless heart, of amazing stamina as may never be duplicated. He reeled at times; he could see but dimly through a mist of blood. But he kept plunging in, his fists swinging, to the very end.

Montreal Daily Herald

A Tale of the Two Dressing-Rooms
By Elmer Ferguson

"The sentimentalists plumped for Sanstol. Escobar really won the fight, but Sanstol's stand was so gallant that sentiment swung his way with those who don't reduce the thing to mathematics. The two dressing-rooms, after the fight, told the story. On the east end of the Forum, Escobar sat on the edge of the table, unmarked, his legs swinging, a broad grin on his face. "He tough," was his laconic tribute to his beaten Norse foeman. Sixto didn't have any souvenirs of the fight. He came out without a scratch, without even a swollen hand despite the crashing attack he rained on Sanstol's face and head.

Across the big Forum, on the west-side, it was different. A swollen, flattened nose, puffed and swollen lips--these were all visible of a figure that lay prone on the table, covered with blankets and towels. Cubes of ice were being passed across the fevered lips to fight off further swelling. That was Sanstol, after his gallant stand.

"I couldn't see him -- I only knew he was in front of me."

Through bloodied lips, puffed to balloon-tire proportions, the big-hearted Norseman spoke as he lay stretched flat in the smoke-filled atmosphere. "Halfway through the fight my left eye closed completely," he continued as the crowded dressing room grew silent. "My right eye was gone in the ninth. After that -- well, I just fought. Do you think the crowd liked the fight? I hope so, for after I fight in Norway I am coming back to fight Escobar again, I hope."

Strange people, these fighters. Sanstol laid there, a battered hulk of a fighting-man. The blonde blizzard from Norway had hooked up with a brooding, twisting typhoon from the Carribean. He had been beaten--taken the worst whipping of his life--but he had displayed the red badge of courage, refused to whimper for quarter when half-blinded before the fight was half over. He might have added that he was nursing a twisted ankle throughout the fight. He might have but he didn't. In no way did the Blonde Bullet, who once tore through the ranks of the bantams like a projectile from a Lewis gun, try to detract from the victory of the champion. But he was still an analyst. "He can hit all right," he said. "But he can't punch the way Bernasconi did. There was a puncher." And Sanstol was laying there, almost blind.

Louis the trainer lifted the ice-filled towel that concealed the Norwegian's swollen and bleeding eyes to daub away the blood. No one said anything. Expertly, the trainer flicked a clotted mass from the corner of the warrior's right eye, then replaced the towel.

"Bernasconi was the hardest puncher I ever fought," Sanstol said. "There was dynamite in both of his fists!"

Bernasconi once knocked Pete down, but Sanstol won the decision, and came out without a mark. (Link to Bernasconi fight.) Strange that he should think of a four-year-old fight at this time, laying there blinded, pulpy, the result of a battering from the hands of a great champion. But fighters are strange people.

  • "He's the bravest guy I ever fought." Sixto Escobar (as quoted in the August 8 The Gazette)
  • Newspaper photo published two days afterward.
  • Back story to this title bout: [1]