Giovani Santillan is now calling the shots. That might be a bit hyperbolic, but the 31-year-old is officially one of the hottest names in the welterweight division.
Two weeks ago, at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California, Santillan proved oddsmakers wrong when he easily dropped and stopped Alexis Rocha. Now, the California native is looking for his next big fight. Luckily for him, the welterweight landscape is filled with notable fighters who can provide Santillan with exactly what he’s looking for.
But while he has his pick of the litter, Vergil Ortiz Jr. is the one name Santillan has circled. Of course, fighting Ortiz (19-0, 19 KOs) comes with a bit of a caveat.
It’s been a long time since the hard-hitting star entered the ring, nearly a year and a half to be more precise. Through no fault of his own, Ortiz has been shelved due to a bevy of physical issues, one being rhabdomyolysis. After postponing his showdown against Eimantas Stanionis more than once, Oscar De La Hoya, Ortiz’s current promoter, went on record stating that he expects Ortiz to wash his hands of the welterweight division and move up in weight.
Doing so could be beneficial to Ortiz, but Santillan (32-0, 17 KOs) wouldn’t be the happiest man around. So far, the up-and-coming star has run through his competition, beating everyone he’s faced by highlight-reel worthy knockout. Considering that Ortiz is an aggressive, come-forward fighter with a tendency to plant his feet and fire, Santillan believes that a showdown between them would be a match made in violent Heaven.
“If he stays at 147, let’s do it,” Santillan recently told a group of reporters. “I would love that fight. That's another fight that would be exciting for everybody. The reason I joined this sport is to fight the best fighters.”