By Marc Livitz: Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas and Alejandro “Peque” Santiago used contrasting styles, hard punches and crowd pleasing moments at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on Friday evening.
Although Santiago may have appeared to do enough to lift the IBF world super flyweight title from Ancajas, the ringside judges submitted very different scorecards to not only allow Jerwin to keep his belt, but hand Santiago his second consecutive draw and the fourth in his last nine contests.
Southpaw champion Ancajas (30-1-2, 20 KO’s) used his jab to keep Santiago at arm’s length in the opening round. Tijuana, B.C. native Alejandro feigned his own jab to try to move in closer. They were each able to move inward in the second, yet it was the champion from the Philippines who found more success as he found his lead glove and overhand left. The last ten seconds of the period were pure fireworks as rapidly thrown shots were exchanged, pretty much to a 50/50 split.
Santiago (16-2-5, 7 KO’s) was at a height disadvantage of over three inches, yet only one inch in reach. He connected with a nice left hook over the outstretched arm of Jerwin in the third. The first true clinch in the bout came in the opening minute of round four and Ancajas caught Alex with a quick left hook to the head. Referee Lou Moret wasn’t needed much up to this point. “Peque” Santiago scored with a left hook of his own, which was set up by a hard right, much to the delight of the crowd in Oracle.
Alejandro connected with another hard right midway through round five and was beginning to find more success with his left hook. He absorbed a well placed right jab to the face in the next stanza from Ancajas, who also connected with a 1-2 up high shortly afterward. Jerwin did better in the eighth, as he looked to time his Mexican opponent’s inward motion and catch him on the way in. Santiago’s corner stopped just short of chastising him when he sat down on his stool for a short break between rounds. He was urged to stop chasing his foe and instead take the fight to him. “Pretty Boy” Ancajas kept sticking his right handed jab outward and forced Santiago to take chances if he planned to land a meaningful shot. While Ancajas seemed content to land one punch to close the show, his adversary from ‘TJ’ wouldn’t go away. Another short scrap closed round nine as Alex landed a hard left hook to the head.
As the championship rounds began, the two men looked like two of the absolute best of the 115 pound weight class. The shorter fighter, Santiago had a good tenth by way of his tactics and movement. An astronomic betting underdog, Alex was more than holding his own inside the ring with the IBF titleholder.
A looping right hand spun Ancajas in the closing minute of round eleven as his confidence appeared to grow and grow, all while venturing past ten rounds for the first time in his six-year career. Gloves were touched as the twelfth and final round was underway. Jerwin did his best to keep Santiago away from him in the closing minute. He jabbed, danced and dodged. A fine bout would go to the scorecards.
Michael Tate scored it 116-112 for Ancajas, while Marshall Welker saw a lopsided bout to the tune of 118-111 for Santiago. The familiar sound of ‘114’ before the second number was mentioned dampened the mood as Chris Wilson saw the bout as a 114-114 draw. Jerwin Ancajas retained his title with the sixth successful defense.
Additional Results from Oakland
Rico Ramos UD 8 Daniel Olea - Bantamweight
Justin Cardona KO 3 Arturo Izaguirre - Lightweight
Genesis Servania KO 3 Carlos Carlson - Super Bantamweight
Joshua Greer, Jr. TKO 3 Giovanni Delgado - Bantamweight