GLENDALE, Arizona – Antonio Nieves couldn’t contend with Alexandro Santiago’s pressure this time around.
Santiago stalked Nieves for most of their uneventful bantamweight bout Saturday night, until Nieves declined to answer the bell for the eighth round on the Jake Paul-Anderson Silva pay-per-view undercard at Desert Diamond Arena. Santiago’s stoppage in their rematch came six years after they fought to a 10-round split draw.
Tijuana’s Santiago (27-3-5, 14 KOs) is 11-1 since his 12-round split draw with the Philippines’ Jerwin Ancajas (33-3-2, 22 KOs), who was the IBF junior bantamweight champion when they fought in September 2018. Santiago’s only loss during that stretch is a 10-round, majority-decision defeat to then-unbeaten Gary Antonio Russell (19-1, 12 KOs) last November 27.
Cleveland’s Nieves (20-4-2, 11 KOs) lost by technical knockout for the second time in his 11-year pro career. Only Japanese knockout artist Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs) had stopped Nieves inside the distance before Saturday night.
Nieves and Santiago fought to a 10-round split draw in August 2016. Their first fight was broadcast as part of Showtime’s prospect series, “ShoBox: The New Generation.
There wasn’t much action in the sixth round, but Santiago went on the offensive during the middle minute of the seventh round. He made Nieves retreat when he let his hands go, but Santiago didn’t hurt his opponent.
Santiago moved Nieves into the ropes and unloaded head and body punches just before the halfway point of the fifth round.
Santiago connected with a left uppercut and then a jab as Nieves retreated toward the end of a fourth round that lacked action.
A little less than a minute into the third round, Santiago backed Nieves into the ropes and landed a combination to his body before connecting with a right hand to his head.
After a first round in which neither fighter landed many clean punches, Santiago knocked Nieves off balance with a right hand that landed at the midway mark of the second round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.