Jose Martinez-Alejandro Santiago ends in a draw – again
Looks like junior bantamweights Jose Martinez and Alejandro Santiago need a third fight to settle the score.
Martinez and Santiago fought to a 10-round split decision draw Saturday night at the Complejo Ferial in Ponce, Puerto Rico. This fight was a rematch of their eight-round clash from November 2016 when, after eight rounds, the result was a majority draw. Both fights took place at the same venue.
The shorter Santiago (15-2-4, 7 knockouts) was successful in getting through Martinez’s guard early. The Tijuana, Mexico resident also attacked the body with left hooks and was able to score with occasional right uppercuts.
But it was Martinez (20-0-2, 13 KOs) who controlled the middle rounds by working behind his jab and right hand.
By Round 7, Santiago seemed to get a second wind, as he pressed the action and increased his punch output. Sensing the fight was close, both fighters let their hands go during the final round, putting forth great exchanges that brought cheers from the partisan crowd.
Each fighter received a 96-94 scorecard in their favor, but the third judge scored the bout 95-95.
“I really think that I won this fight,” said Martinez, who is promoted by Miguel Cotto Promotions. “I was all over (Santiago). There were some rounds he won, but I won the fight. It was a bit different this time because he was moving and boxing a bit more, but I was there to fight. It’s a draw and I respect the judges, but I will keep working hard and we’ll see what my promoter has planned for me.”
“I got robbed again,” said Santiago. “I am disappointed. I beat him in his own hometown. It’s really disappointing because I came twice to fight for this (WBO fringe) championship and, both times, there were draws. It’s unbelievable. I worked really hard just so that it could end in a draw.”
Lucas Fernandez survived a first-round knockdown to stop Joshua Franco in the ninth round.
The action between the two junior bantamweight prospects was highlighted by competitive exchanges throughout, but the end was marred by controversy.
Franco (13-1, 6 KOs), who resides in San Antonio and is trained by Robert Garcia, dropped Fernandez late in the opening round with a left uppercut. Fernandez stood up, but the bell sounded before Franco could take advantage.
By the fourth round, Fernandez (12-1-1, 9 KOs) was pressing the action and closing the distance. Both fighters had their moments during the middle sessions with each connecting on the inside.
About 30 seconds into the ninth round, Fernandez stunned the Argentinian with a one-two combination and followed up with another three punches. Although not visibly hurt, Franco was not fighting back and referee Jose Rivera stepped in and stopped the bout at 0:46. Franco raised his arms in disbelief when the fight was stopped.
In the opening bout of the ‘Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN’ telecast, junior bantamweight Josean Serra (12-1, 8 KOs) stopped Marco Antonio Sanchez in the third round.
Serra, who resides in Ponce, dropped Sanchez (12-7-3, 7 KOs) once in the second and third rounds before the fight was stopped by referee Ramon Navedo at 1:27.
In a swing bout, welterweight Danielito Zorrilla dropped Clifford Gray (1-4) twice en route to a one-sided six round decision. All three judges scored the bout 60-52 in favor of Zorrilla, who improves to (5-0, 4 KOs).
In preliminary action, welterweight Rashidi Ellis (19-0, 13 KOs) stopped gatekeeper Fidel Monterrosa (38-17-1, 30 KOs) in the fourth round.
Francisco A. Salazar can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing
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