Francisco Santana: Better late than never
Without the stroke of a pen, Francisco Santana has written numerous chapters of the book that is his boxing career.
There are some high and lows, thus far, but said book is nowhere near complete. In fact, it could get more compelling if he continues winning.
Santana will fight Ed Paredes this Saturday night at the Oceanview Pavilion in Port Hueneme, California, which is adjacent to the well-known boxing city of Oxnard.
The 10-round bout will headline a Top Rank Promotions “Solo Boxeo Tecate” card, broadcast on UniMas, beginning at 11 p.m. ET/ PT.
After winning once in a span of four bouts, Santana put together a string of 10 consecutive wins over a span of two years. His highlight-reel win over Kendal Mena in January of last year was one of the best knockouts of 2015 and earned “Chia” an HBO date against Sadam Ali.
Santana (23-4-1, 12 knockouts) came up short in that bout, losing a 10-round unanimous decision on April 25, 2015.
The Santa Barbara, California resident got back in the win column in his last bout on Dec. 12, knocking Arman Ovsepyan out in the sixth round.
Santana, who trains at nearby Knuckleheadz Gym in Ventura, hopes to carry that momentum toward another big fight, but needs to get past Paredes, a former fringe contender.
“He can punch as you can see from his knockout ratio,” Santana told RingTV in an interview earlier this week. “He’s tall and he’s not a bad fighter. He has some solid wins.”
The 29-year-old Santana is in the prime of his career. Despite the recent setbacks, Santana believes he can make multiple runs at a world title.
Regarding the Ali loss, Santana believes it had a silver lining all its own.
“The loss to Ali showed me I belong with the elite fighters,” said Santana, who is now promoted by Top Rank and managed by Frank Espinoza. “I received a lot of credibility that night and I know I can put more out there.
“Now that I have Top Rank and Frank Espinoza, my career is on track. As long as Coach (Joseph Janik) and I prepare to our best and win, they will do their part in getting us the big fights. I’m a well-known name to where I want people to call me out instead of me doing it.”
Santana is a nice guy out of the ring but being nice will not win championships. There is that little bit of an edge and confidence in him now that was absent in previous fights. The Mena fight is a good example of that edge emerging recently.
There are bigger fights that await and he believes he is one or two wins away from fighting on another HBO or Showtime-level broadcast.
It is a long way from when Santana fought at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, not far from his Santa Barbara home. Though he does hope, for old time’s sake, for a big fight to happen there.
That would be the best chapter – or the epilogue – of his boxing career.
“I’m the perfect example of what hard work can do. I’m developing as a complete fighter and I’m still learning to get better. I look forward to make it a reality to become the first world champion out of Santa Barbara.
“For me, it’s better late than never.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since Oct. of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.