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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson

Santiago hopes for a rematch

By Joaquin Henson
02 Oct 2018

OAKLAND. IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas said yesterday he’s open to a rematch with Mexican Alejandro Santiago but the decision on whom to fight next is up to his matchmaker Sean Gibbons and promoter Top Rank. Ancajas held off Santiago to retain his 115-pound crown on a split 12-round draw at the Oracle Arena here Friday night.

Santiago, 22, gave a good account of himself as the IBF’s No. 14 challenger and pushed Ancajas to the brink but didn’t do enough to wrest the crown. Ancajas landed more punches and dictated the action with his right jab even as Santiago appeared to have connected the cleaner blows.

Santiago’s promoter Paco Damian said he’s just thankful for the opportunity to fight for the title. “No comment from Alejandro who’s a very respectful person,” said Damian. “I think Jerwin is a great champion. It was an amazing fight, a close fight. Alejandro’s trainer (Romulo Quirarte) did a good job in the corner. More than anything, Senor Quirarte instills discipline in his fighters. That’s why most of his fighters are college graduates.”

Santiago is a second year law student at a university in Tijuana. One of Quirarte’s sons is a dentist and another, a doctor and lawyer at the same time. His daughter Marta was previously married to former world bantamweight champion Raul (Jibaro) Perez. A grandniece is married to another former world titlist Antonio DeMarco. Quirarte, 72, has been married 52 years and has six children, 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Boxing is Quirarte’s way of life. He and three sons worked Santiago’s corner against Ancajas. Quirarte was credited for thinking out Santiago’s fightplan that nearly upset Ancajas.

In 1997, Quirarte was in Manila to work Manuel Medina’s corner against Luisito Espinosa at Luneta Park. Medina lost on an eighth round technical decision. Two years before, Quirarte’s son-in-law Perez was knocked out by Espinosa in a single round in Tokyo. Quirarte said he has no favorite among his fighters. “I treat all my fighters the same way,” he said. Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr. and Jr., Jose Luis Castillo, Jorge Paez, Humberto Soto, Medina and Juan Jose Estrada were among his world champions.

Veteran boxing writer and publicist Ricardo Jimenez said Quirarte brings out the best in his fighters. “He’s not like Nacho Beristain,” said Jimenez. “With Nacho, all his boxers fight the Nacho way. With Quirarte, he lets his boxers fight their style, their way. Medina never had power but won with finesse. Soto was a bull and Quirarte made him win using his strength.”

Quirarte was disconsolate after the draw because Santiago may not get the chance for a rematch with Ancajas. “I don’t know if Sean or (Top Rank matchmaker) Brad Goodman will agree to do a rematch,” said Quirarte. “I think they have other plans for Ancajas. But Alejandro fought well. I think he deserves a rematch.”

Gibbons said Santiago has a “strange” style that makes for unresolved issues. “Now, I know why he’s got five draws,” said Gibbons, referring to Santiago’s four previous draws against unbeaten boxers Jose Martinez (twice), Antonio Nieves and Hector Flores. “Santiago goes out there, hits you once then moves out. He makes you lose your timing but it won’t be a convincing argument for a win. I thought Jerwin dictated the fight with his jab and did a good job of keeping busy. Santiago gave Jerwin a push and now, it’s time to move forward.”

Jimenez said at the moment, Ancajas is the best world superflyweight champion, better than either WBC ruler Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand or WBA titleholder Khalid Yafai of the UK. “Jerwin is athletic and a skilled fighter,” said Jimenez. “I think the only superflyweight who could give him some trouble is (Juan Francisco) Estrada. Jerwin should be able to beat Rungvisai or Yafai or even Chocolatito Gonzalez.”

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