Alexis Rocha and Giovani Santillan will meet in a sort of welterweight proving ground fight, a DAZN main event on Saturday, Oct. 21, from the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Rocha (23-1, 15 KO) and Santillan (31-0, 16 KO) are both trying to prove they belong in the serious conversation as welterweight contenders, and the winner will at the very least be in line for a vacant WBO title fight should Terence Crawford decide to move up in weight, which is currently expected.
For his part, the 26-year-old Rocha says he’s not concerned at all about Crawford or what could happen after.
“I know that Giovani is gonna be a good opponent. I’m not thinking about Crawford, for me this is a world title shot, this is a world title fight,” he said at a press conference this week.
“It takes a team, a dedicated team, to get where I’m at today. I feel that I’ve grown so much over time and now’s my moment, and I want to keep just banging on the door for a world title.”
Santillan, a Top Rank fighter, is 31 years old and hasn’t had the chances yet to really fight at top level, though he has built a record. It’s the sort of fight he’s been angling to make, and now he has his shot.
“This is going to be an exciting fight, we’re both Mexican fighters. You know, we have that Mexican blood inside of us, you know, and we’re gonna come with that fire for sure,” Santillan said.
“This isn’t the first time that I go into enemy territory. You know, the last time I did that I fought this guy, Sammy [Valentin], and I went all the way to Tampa Bay for that fight. As I’m walking into the ring, I hear all his fans cheering for him and talking a lot of trash about me. But afterwards, his fans became my fans, and I believe that I can do that for this fight. I think that I will gain the LA fan base after this fight.”