by Francisco Salazar
After his decision loss to Jermell Charlo in October of 2011, Francisco Santana's career looked as though it was stuck in the mud.
Two years have passed and it looks as though Santana's career has caught some momentum, especially to end 2013. Now he may be on the cusp of landing a television fight after another one-sided performance.
Santana won a 10 round unanimous decision over former world title holder Joachim Alcine on Friday night at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, CA.
The bout headlined a six-bout "Central Coast Championship Boxing" card, presented by Gary Shaw Productions.
Prior to the bout, Santana had won his last five bouts in a row since his defeat to Charlo. He was coming off his most impressive victory to date in his last fight on August 16th, a 10 round unanimous decision over Freddy Hernandez.
Alcine has seen his better days behind him. He entered Friday's bout having lost his previous four bouts in a row.
After an even first round, Santana got on track in the second round. He was able to get on the inside of Alcine's guard and score to the head and body. At times, Santana would charge in, leaving his guard down. However, Alcine was never able to capitalize during most of the exchanges.
Towards the end of the third round, Santana was able to drop Alcine with a counter left hook to the head. Alcine was not visibly hurt, fighting on until the bell sounded.
Santana was in control during most of the fight. He was able to continue to get past Alcine's jab, landing to the head and body.
After each round, there was no sense of urgency from Alcine, stalking Santana around the ring and hoping to land one significant punch. Alcine did connect to the head of Santana, but never had him hurt or in trouble during the duration of the fight.
Sensing he was down, Alcine pressed the action during the final round. He was able to connect to the head of Santana, but it was too little, too late as all three judges scored the bout in favor of Santana, 99-90, 99-90, and 100-89. Boxingscene.com had Santana winning 98-91.
Santana, from nearby Santa Barbara, goes to 18-3-1, 8 KOs. The Haitian-born Alcine, who now resides in Valencia, CA, drops to 33-7-1, 19 KOs.
In a stay-busy fight, lightweight contender Rustam Nugaev knocked out late sub Mario Hermosillo in the first round of a scheduled eight round bout. Nugaev (26-6-1, 16 KOs) stalked the shorter Hermosillo around the ring, looking to counter with right hands. After Hermosillo (12-13-1, 2 KOs) threw a right to the head, Nugaev countered with a left hook to the body. Hemosillo went down and struggled to get up, but was counted out by referee Zac Young at 2:02.
Light heavyweight Henry Calles Jr. won a close and debatable four round unanimous decision over Zlatko Ledic. It was a rematch of their four round draw back in August. Calles (1-0-1) started out aggressively, putting Ledic on the defensive during most of the round. Calles almost dropped Ledic near the end of the first round with a left hook to the head. The southpaw Ledic (0-1-1) began to find a rhythm, boxing and connecting behind a jab. By the third round, Calles was breathing heavily. His punch output dropped considerably, fighting only in spurts. Ledic landed at will in the final round against a tiring Calles. To Ledic's surprised, Calles was announced as the winner, getting the nod on the three judges' scorecards, 39-37. Boxingscene.com scored the bout 39-37 in favor of Ledic.
Flyweight Maggie Suarez of nearby Santa Maria won a hard-fought six round unanimous decision over Jolene Blackshear. It was a tactical chess match of a fight between the two early on. Blackshear (8-4, 3 KOs) was able to land repeatedly with straight jabs to the head. Suarez (7-0-1) pressed forward, throwing four-five punch combinations to the head, landing at least one or two punches in those exchanges. Blackshear would counter with a left hook to the head or right cross, but Suarez's punch output and being able to connect often was the difference in the fight. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Suarez, 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55. Boxingscene.com scored the bout 58-56 in favor of Suarez.
In an all out brawl between local welterweights, Eric Prado won a four round split decision over Adriel Pebenito. Prado (3-4-1) started out aggressively, landing the more telling blows in the opening frame. Prado dropped Pebenito with a left cross within the first five seconds of the second round. To his credit, Pebenito (2-8-1) was able to counter Prado for the rest of the round. Pebenito landed the more telling blows in the second half of the fight, beating Prado to the punch on the inside. Both had their moments in the fourth round, but Pebenito landed more during the round. One judge scored the bout 38-37 for Pebenito, while the other two judges and Boxingscene.com scored the bout 38-37 for Prado.
In his debut as a heavyweight contender, Lateef Kayode stopped overmatched Travis Fulton in the second round of a scheduled six round bout.
Kayode (19-0, 15 KOs) was returning from an 18-month layoff, having not fought since his June 2012 bout against Antonio Tarver. Any questions about Kayode's power at heavyweight were immediately answered as Kayode stunned Fulton a number of times.
Near the end of the first round, a left-right combination dropped Fulton (21-34-1, 20 KOs) flat onto his back. Fulton was able to survive the round.
Kayode had Fulton on the defensive in the second round. A four-punch combination to the body and head sent Fulton reeling backwards against the ropes. Kayode was going in for the kill until referee Jack Reiss wisely stepped in and stopped the bout at 1:33. Trainer Freddie Roach worked Kayode's corner.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Knockout Nation, and Ring TV. He could be reached by email at [email protected] or on twitter at FSalazarBoxing