By Nick Giongco
OAKLAND – Filipino champion Jerwin Ancajas and Mexican challenger Alejandro Santiago battled to a 12-round split draw Friday (Saturday in Manila) in their International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title fight at the Oracle Arena.
Judge Marshall Walker scored it 118-111 for Santiago while Mike Tate had it 116-112 for Ancajas and Chris Wilson saw it 114-114 in a fight that surprised the IBF 115-lb titleholder.
“He was totally different from the fighter that I saw on video,” said Ancajas, who was making the sixth defense of the title he won two years ago in the Philippines.
Santiago, 22, shook Ancajas, 26, in the second round with a late flurry after a close opening round.
Going into the third canto, Ancajas’ left cheekbone was starting to puff up and the right part of his forehead was lumpy when it was all over after Santiago accidentally butted him at close range late in the match.
Santiago was tactical in his approach and he made Ancajas miss with his money shots.
Ancajas connected with his left hand and stiff jabs as he rallied in the later rounds.
While the crowd wasn’t totally satisfied with the official decision, punch statistics showed it was indeed a close fight.
Ancajas threw a total of 589 punches and landed 127 for 22 percent while Santiago landed 108 out of 519 total blows thrown for 21 percent.
Ancajas landed just ten percent of his jabs (27 of 278) and Santiago connected just six percent (10 of 182).
In power punches, Ancajas scored on 100 out of 311 for 32 percent and Santiago, 98 out of 337 for 29 percent.
The result was not met with harsh criticisms from Santiago’s handlers with chief trainer Romulo Quirarte even lauding Ancajas’ showing.
“Congratulations, you are a vey good fighter,” said Quirarte as the two camps crossed paths near their respective dressing rooms.
Ancajas gave himself “a 6 or 7 (on a scale of one to ten)” when asked to rate his performance (with one the lowest and ten the highest).
It was the second straight 12-rounder for Ancajas following a unanimous decision over mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan last May in Fresno.
With an icepack on his forehead, Ancajas admitted that Santiago came fully prepared.
“Santiago and his trainers had me checked,” said Ancajas, who now has a 28-1-2 slate with 19 KOs.
The draw was the second straight for Santiago, whose record is now 16-2-5 with seven KOs.
Meanwhile, Genesis Servania stopped Mexican Carlos Carlson in the third round of their featherweight match.
The Bacolod pride put down Carlson with a huge counter right at 44 seconds of the third round for the full count from referee Marcos Rosales.
With the win, Servania improved his record to 32-1 (15 by KOs).