By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Juan Carlos Payano didn’t exactly thrill the small crowd Tuesday night, but he beat Alexis Santiago relatively easily.
The bantamweight contender boxed, moved and mostly kept himself out of harm’s way en route to a 10-round, unanimous-decision win at Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall.
One judge, Tim Cheatham, scored all 10 rounds for Payano (100-90). The two other judges, Adelaide Byrd and Dave Moretti, scored nine of the 10 rounds for the Dominican southpaw (99-91).
Payano’s victory was broadcast by FS1 as the main event of a “Toe-To-Toe Tuesdays” doubleheader.
The 33-year-old Payano improved 19-1. Phoenix’s Santiago, 26, slipped to 21-5-1.
Santiago was too slow and threw two many wide, inaccurate punches to be consistently effective against Payano. The quicker southpaw moved, punched in combination and kept Santiago from landing anything big.
Santiago caught Payano with a right hand just before the end of the seventh round. That was one of the few noteworthy moments in the fight for Santiago, who lost a second straight 10-round unanimous decision.
Before Tuesday night, Santiago hadn’t fought in the 11 months since Mexico’s Jose Cayetano (21-6, 10 KOs) beat him last September 16 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
In the walkout bout following Payano’s win, Uzbekistan’s Sanjarbek Rakhmanov knocked out Noe Lopez in the second round of a welterweight bout scheduled for eight rounds.
Rakhmanov (8-0-1, 4 KOs), who’s promoted by Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s company, stopped Lopez with a body shot. Lopez dropped to one knee near Rakhmanov’s corner after a left hand landed to his body and couldn’t get up before referee Robert Byrd counted to 10.
The fight ended at 1:34 of the second round. Lopez, of Brownsville, Texas, lost for the first time as a pro (6-1-1, 3 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.