Monday, September 25, 2023  |


Alexandro Santiago feels motivated by his son’s birth to upset Nonito Donaire

Alexandro Santiago - Photo courtesy of PBC
Fighters Network

Alexandro Santiago had been getting ready to face Nonito Donaire for the vacant WBC bantamweight title on July 15. However, a last-minute change in schedule meant that fight was removed from that card and moved back two weeks.

It’s no big deal for Santiago, The Ring’s No. 5-rated bantamweight, who will now appear on the Pay-Per-View portion of the eagerly anticipated undisputed welterweight showdown between Errol Spence Jr.-Terence Crawford on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.

“I have been waiting for 5-years to get another world championship title opportunity, since my draw with [then IBF junior bantamweight titlist Jerwin] Ancajas, another two weeks wait, is nothing,” Santiago  (27-3-5, 14 knockouts) told The Ring through his promoter Paco Damian. “I will stay positive and keep working hard. The objective and target is still the same.

“I feel fortunate and would like to thank my team, PBC and Showtime Pay-Per-View for this great opportunity to be part of such an amazing event.”

Although Donaire is the more known commodity, Santiago has been a professional for a decade, has 35 fights on his ledger and is a young veteran at 27. The Mexican learnt his trade under the well-regarded Quirarte family, helmed by Romulo and his sons Bobby and Roberto, in his hometown of Tijuana. They along with Damian have guided his career thus far.

However, despite previously contesting a world title, this is a large step up in competition.

“Donaire was and still is one of the best fighters of my era,” he said. “When I turned pro, he was already a world champion. He is a legend, a future hall of famer.

“His timing and power are respectable. It will be a great honor to share the ring with him on July 29.”

Santiago whose family run 15 hotdog stalls in Tijuana, has spent much of his training camp at the Crea.

“Camp has been great; we have been preparing for this fight for over three-months,” he explained. “I have been traveling for extra sparring to San Diego and Los Angeles.”

He hopes to parlay his training camp into the performance of his life against his hero to bring new hardware home for a recent arrival.

“It will be a dream come true, I have been working for this moment all my life and now it is here,” he said. “Come July 29, you will see the best of me. I am going to do my very best to come victorious and bring the world championship belt to Tijuana and to my son, who is a month old, he is healthy and life is beautiful.”

Damian, who has worked with several world champions but Santiago would be the first he has guided to a world title, appreciates the size of the task in front of his fighter but remains positive and upbeat.

“It is a very tough fight, we are talking about fighting a living legend,” said Damian. “It is experience and power against youth.

“Of course, I am going with my guy, Santiago. I know he is going to fight his heart out to come out victorious. I have a lot of confidence in him and I am sure he will get his hand raised.

“Don’t miss it, tune into Showtime to witness Alexandro Santiago fulfil his dream of becoming a world champion.”

Donaire (42-7, 28 KOs), The Ring’s No. 3 rated bantamweight, won world titles at 112, 118, 122 and 126. The big-punching Filipino scored impressive wins over the likes of Vic Darchinyan (TKO 5), Fernando Montiel (TKO 2), Toshiaki Nishioka (TKO 9) and Jorge Arce (KO 3).

In 2018, “The Filipino Flash” surprisingly dropped back down to bantamweight and took part in the WBSS. He beat Ryan Burnett (RTD 4) and late substitute Stephon Young (TKO 6) before giving Naoya Inoue all he could handle in a decision loss. He then picked up the WBC title by impressively knocking out Nordine Oubaali (KO 4). After one defense, the 40-year-old met Inoue in a rematch and was stopped in two-rounds.

A very intriguing matchup. Donaire is the more proven fighter and though he has had something of an Indian summer to his career is 13-years older than Santiago and has been off for over a year. Can Donaire, who would become the fifth oldest man to win a world title if victorious When experience overcomes youth, the oldest men to win boxing world titles – The Ring (, find a way to land his vaunted left hook?

We don’t know what he has left at this stage. There are so many intangibles it’s difficult to make a confident prediction.

Spence-Crawford, plus undercards bouts, will be broadcast on Showtime Pay-Per-View beginning at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].