Super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas’ surprise draw Friday night against Tijuana challenger Alejandro Santiago possessed all the appeal of the 115-pound series that has generated sharpened interest in the division.
Following this week’s news that HBO is stopping live boxing coverage in 2019, it’s likely the rest of the top super-flyweights who were being pointed to a late-February date on the premium cable network will shift to ESPN and its streaming arm, which broadcast Ancajas-Santiago.
Los Angeles promoter Tom Loeffler’s “SuperFly” franchise, which made its third consecutive Southland stop Sept. 8 at the Forum, has enhanced the prominence of former four-division champion and No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, and the man who knocked him out last year at StubHub Center, Thailand’s World Boxing Council champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
Asked if there’s a chance that he’ll move his three-time “SuperFly” participant and former flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada to ESPN, promoter Fernando Beltran said, “Definitely. There’s not a chance. It’s a fact.”
Top Rank President Todd duBoef added, “We’d be interested in bringing in all of them: ‘Chocolatito,’ the Thai fighter … .”
Make room for the Philippines’ International Boxing Federation champion Ancajas (30-1-2) and Santiago (16-2-5), who entertained at Oracle Arena with Santiago delivering some head-rocking blows, especially early in the bout, while Ancajas leaned on his speed advantage to score more precise blows and produce the activity that gave him a 116-112 score from judge Michael Tate.
“Everyone saw the fight, and everyone saw that I won the fight clearly,” Santiago said.
Ancajas conceded, “My timing was a little off. He was a little awkward. … It was a good, entertaining fight. I felt like I pressed and did enough to win.”
Santiago’s heartfelt showing came after his promoter, Don Chargin, the former Olympic Auditorium matchmaker, died Thursday morning in San Luis Obispo after battling lung and brain cancer.
A 10-count of bell rings was conducted for Chargin, who was California’s longest-standing licensed promoter (69 years) after staging his first bout in the late 1950s in Santa Clara.
“It didn’t matter who you talked to in this sport — and we know how this sport can be — everyone liked him, and everyone who’d come to say hello to him when we’d be in Las Vegas approached with so much respect,” said Paco Damian, Chargin’s business partner since 2003, who added that they never wrote a contract between each other in their dealings.
In the main event, IBF super-middleweight champion Jose Uzcategui of Tijuana won a unanimous decision over Argentina’s Ezequiel Maderna (26-5) by scores of 98-92, 100-90, 100-90 in a non-title, light-heavyweight meeting.
Uzcategui (28-2) will move to a date with mandatory contender Caleb Plant (17-0, 10 KOs), according to manager Sean Gibbons, and Top Rank wants Uzcategui next year to meet the winner of the coming Gilberto Ramirez-Jesse Hart World Boxing Organization title fight.
Also on Friday’s card, Pico Rivera featherweight Rico Ramos (30-5, 14 KOs) cruised to a unanimous-decision victory over Mexico’s Daniel Olea (13-6-2) by three scores of 80-71.
And super-bantamweight Genesis Servania of the Philippines knocked out Tijuana’s Carlos Carlson 44 seconds into the third round. Servania (32-1, 15 KOs) battered Carlson, who failed to rise by the count of 10.