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ShoBox 12-01-2006--Garcia vs. Santiago

Mario Santiago (16-0, 11 KOs)
Salvador Garcia (14-3-2, 1ND, 7 KOs)

Oh boy, another southpaw versus orthodox showdown. This one should be a lot faster, however, as these are the little fellas. That’s right, 10 rounds of flyweight action! Nothing says boxing like two guys who, combined, weigh 50lbs less than Holley Mangold.

Mario Santiago, a converted junior featherweight, is making his third appearance on ShoBox this year, having posted a 2-0 record in some very good fights. Salvador Garcia, a natural featherweight, has decided not to go out of his way to stand in Santiago’s way. You’d think that with Sal Garcia being the naturally-larger man that he’d push the smaller Santiago around, throw harder shorts, and generally act like the larger man.

Of course, you’d be wrong.
Mario Santiago was the smaller and faster, more active fighter. Despite being smaller, he was also the only fighter tonight who had any sting whatsoever on his punches. Garcia seemed content to, seemingly, stop Garcia’s shots with his face, not move his feet or shoulders, and to obligingly throw one weak-ass punch at a time. I guess Garcia is just that nice of a guy, or maybe his people put him up against a fighter who moved a little too much for Garcia’s liking.

Santiago generally controlled this fight, moving in and out as he wished. Sometimes Mario would move in and throw a combo. Sometimes Mario would move in and willingly brawl with Garcia, like he did for most of the 5th round, ostensibly to wake up the crowd a little by giving us a little bit of the old scrawny Latin-style of throw-down you expect from fighters under 140lbs. Mario Santiago hit the ground running in this one, and didn’t have one second in the fight where he wasn’t in complete control of his opponent.

Sal Garcia, who fought tough and ate every piece of leather Santiago provided him, was just way, way, WAY out of his league tonight, both in terms of in-ring skills and his corner. I mean, it took them most of the rest period between the 6th and 7th rounds to open a pack of gauze to try and staunch the flow of blood from a cut over Garcia’s eye, and they almost waited a little too long before throwing in the towel for Garcia in the 7th round. It was just general incompetence, and they probably should’ve stopped the fight on the stool in the 6th when it was obvious that Garcia’s cut was getting worse and their man wasn’t going to be able to do a damn thing in the fight.

I’m sure Sal Garcia is a proud man, but there’s no shame in knowing that you’re getting your ass kicked by a guy who is much, much better than you are. You can stay in there and force the official’s hand (or your corner’s hand, in this case), or you can admit defeat, cash your check, and not piss blood for the next week.

Despite the mismatch, it was an entertaining exhibition, if only from the fact Garcia was able to show both his power, movement, boxing, and brawling skills without having to worry about being knocked out by the human heavy bag standing across the ring. I say exhibition because a boxing match generally requires two living boxers, not one boxer and one guy who fights like a homeless person dragged in off the street to take a beating for $50 worth of crack rock and a ham sandwich.
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