NEW YORK (Oct. 27, 2005) – Mario Santiago surprised a lot of people, but not himself, with his impressive fifth-round TKO over International Boxing Federation (IBF) No. 15 featherweight Cornelius Lock Friday on the SHOWTIME boxing series, “ShoBox: The New Generation.”
“There were those who thought I was making a big mistake by fighting a more experienced and world-ranked guy,” the 21-year-old undefeated Santiago said. “But, I welcomed the opportunity. I wanted to fight a name opponent. I wanted to challenge myself.
“This was not an easy fight, but I am happy with my performance, and overjoyed with the result.”
Santiago, who is promoted by Gary Shaw, was not ranked in the top 100 when he entered the bout at Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.
“I knew going in that I was taking a step up in class and that Lock was going to be my toughest fight. But, the only way to make a name for yourself in this business is to fight the top guys. I could fight opponents that I am supposed to beat, but that would do me no good. I work hard everyday in the gym to improve my skills.”
In the kind of bout that typifies the exciting match-ups on “ShoBox,” Santiago had to rally from a cut over his right eye in the third round to record his eighth knockout and 13th consecutive victory in the close, hard-fought, thrilling battle of southpaws. Lock (15-3-1, nine KOs) appeared to have a slight edge during the first two rounds before the surging Santiago staged a stirring comeback.
“To win on national television gave me more exposure than I have had in my entire career,” said Santiago, who made his SHOWTIME debut. “This kind of win will do wonders for my confidence. I am looking forward to fighting on “ShoBox” again. I hope they liked what they saw.”
Said Maxboxing.com’s Steve Kim: “I think featherweight Mario Santiago is a prospect worth keeping an eye on.”
SHOWTIME will replay the “ShoBox” telecast, which also includes Agnaldo Nunes’ 10-round unanimous decision over Adalberto Borquez, tonight/Thursday, Oct. 27, at 11 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME TOO.