For sure, boxing promoters love it when you have the swagger of a Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Adrien Broner; the more outlandish you are, the easier it is for them to sell tickets to your fights. Being controversial adds to the mystique; it’s the icing on the money-maker’s cake.
In contrast, we’ve started to see this new breed of cat. All they do is win. They always seem to be humble, polite and quiet. These attributes have made their journey to the top a long and steady grind which only the most focused of athletes can manage. Among them is Gennady Golovkin, Saul Alvarez and Terrence Crawford. They’ve made their publicist’s job much, much harder.
Southpaw Giovani Santillan of San Diego is part of this new breed. Yes, he’s very popular with the ladies, and yes he has this undeniable charisma and shyness which the women love. But a Don Juan, he isn’t. Maybe that’s what endears him to his fans and his conservative promoter, Ken Thompson. Like they say, Giovani does all of his talking in the ring. The very handsome, 23 year-old, undefeated, former NABF Junior Super Lightweight Champion, Giovani “Gallo de Oro” Santillan (17-0, 9 KOs) will be back in the ring tomorrow night, Friday, November 20th, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif. Santillan will be facing the 30 year-old, power puncher Rosbel “Lobito” Montoya (18-7, 16 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight Main Event on the Thompson Boxing Promotions fight card “New Blood”. What makes Montoya so dangerous? Only four of his 22 fights went the distance. That means, Montoya has a high regard for the old fashioned way of standing toe to toe to bang it out, mano a mano.
Giovani Santillan’s thoughts on the upcoming match with Montoya:
Jim Wyatt: Your opponent Rosbel Montoya comes into this fight with 18 wins, 16 by knockout. What do you know about him?
Giovani Santillan: “Montoya has a strong right hand and likes to load up on that side, so we’ve been working on taking that away and being mindful of his power.”
J. W.: For almost two months you had an opportunity to be a part of Floyd Mayweather’s training camp while he was getting ready for his mega fight versus Manny Pacquaio. What was that like to spar against an all time great?
G. S.: “Anytime you spend time with a living legend, you have to embrace the challenge and learn as much as you can, as quickly as you can. Mayweather is very intelligent and always thinking in the ring. I had to be smart, try to set him up and really think about what I was doing. He’s definitely hard to hit, but it’s all about being smart with him. You can’t just move forward. You have to give him multiple looks. It’s very much like a chess match. I had to think three or four moves down the line or else he would have figured me out.”
J. W.: What did you learn or take away from this experience?
G. S.: “We were there everyday during his training camp for a total of seven weeks. I saw how hard he works and the amount of effort he puts in everyday. Seeing that discipline and dedication has stuck with me. He doesn’t cheat on his drills and he doesn’t take days off. He trains as if he still has something to prove. Observing him was an incredible experience. I don’t know about the other fighters that were there, but I was very excited just be there and learn from one of the best ever. Not a lot of people get a chance to do that so I feel very fortunate.”
J. W.: You, yourself, had a very productive training camp sparring with Maurice “Mighty Moe” Hooker and Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta. How have they helped you in your preparation?
G. S.: “Maurice Hooker is an excellent boxer. He’s undefeated for a reason. He has good speed and a lot of punching power. He really helped me tighten up my defense. Mercito Gesta, a lightweight, is a weight class below me so he has really fast hands and is very crafty. Overall, I’ve been getting really good workouts with both of them. It’s been a challenging training camp.”
Also on the stacked fight card, Thompson Promotions has another local favorite Carlos “Memin” Carlson (19-1-0, 12 KOs) of our sister city Tijuana, B. C., Mexico who will be facing Jose Estrella (14-8-1) also from Tijuana. Both boxers are 25 year-old featherweights. Starting on June 27, 2014 in a bout against Luis Nery, things began to go south for Estrella who has now lost four of his last five bouts. Carlson’s only loss came in his pro debut versus Andres Tapia.
Tickets for “New Blood” presented by Thompson Boxing Promotions and sponsored by Lucas Oil, in association with LATV Networks are priced at $40, $60, & $100 and are available for purchase online at ThompsonBoxing.com, or you can charge them by phone at 714-935-0900.