Bantamweight Alejandro Santiago Wants Gary Antonio
Russell Rematch As World Title Eliminator
Accustomed to boxing’s ups and downs, Mexican bantamweight
contender Alejandro “Peque” Santiago says he’s not going to
let his nationally televised and highly controversial
majority-decision loss to Gary Antonio Russell last Saturday
night (November 27) slow him down.
With the Showtime cameras rolling at Park MGM’s Dolby Live
in Las Vegas, Santiago (24-3-5, 13 KOs) and Russell fought a
grueling all-out war for ten rounds with many feeling
Santiago’s pressuring style had outshined the undefeated
Russell’s speed after 10 intense rounds.
However, once again it was not to be for the hard-luck
Santiago, as Russell was given the nod via a questionable
majority-decision. Judges Steve Morrow and Benoit Roussel
scored Russell a 96-94 winner, while Judge Lisa Giampa
scored the contest a draw at 95-95.
The “victim” of several controversial draws against top
fighters in high-profile fights, including one particularly
dubious draw against IBF Super Flyweight Champion Jerwin
Ancajas in 2018, 25-year-old Santiago, from Tijuana, Baja
California, says he’s not shocked or disheartened by the
loss to Russell.
“I wasn’t shocked because I have been here before,”
explained Santiago, post-fight. “My team had warned me that
the closer rounds will go to Russell because he is the house
fighter. When my promoter Paco Damian calls me for an
opportunity like this, I never say no. I embrace the
opportunity and I don’t care if I have to go and fight my
opponents in their backyard. I mean, look at my record I
have five draws, I believe I won all those fights including
the Jerwin Ancajas world title fight.”
In fact, the realistic Santiago surprisingly blames himself
for the setback.
“I don’t like to use the term robbed,” said Santiago. “In my
opinion, I thought I won 6 of the 10 rounds. It was a very
close fight and there is no one here to blame but me. I
blame myself because it took me the first couple of rounds
to make adjustments and follow our game plan.”
Despite the disappointment, Santiago says his strong
performance against Russell, a celebrated 2016 U.S.
Olympian, negates any career damage he may suffer.
“I would love the opportunity to fight Russell again, I
think it was a great fight and I’m sure many people will
love to watch us do it again. And this time, I would like it
to be for a title eliminator that will give the winner the
opportunity to fight for a world title. But if Russell
doesn’t want another war that I will bring, we move on. My
career has been defined by people underestimating me and
paying the price for their mistake. I’ll be back.”