Boxing


Santiago, Bradley Co-Featured As ShoBox Ends Year With A Bang

NEW YORK (Nov. 28, 2006) – One day before Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito co-headline a terrific world championship doubleheader on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, a spectacular 2006 season of late night Friday fistic festivities will end on Dec. 1 when unbeatens Mario Santiago and Timothy Bradley co-headline the final presentation of the year on “Shobox: The New Generation.’’ Santiago (16-0, 11 KOs), of Ponce, Puerto Rico, will face revitalized Salvador Garcia (14-3-2, 1ND, 7 KOs), of Whittier, Calif., by way of East Los Angeles, in the 10-round featherweight main event..

Bradley (16-0, 10 KOs), of Palm Springs, Calif. will make his anxiously awaited “ShoBox’’ debut against Jaime Rangel (30-9-1, 26 KOs), of Cordoba, Colombia, in an eight-round welterweight match.

Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, will promote the attractive doubleheader on SHOWTIME (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast) from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.

“Santiago and Garcia make for a very interesting main event,” said “ShoBox” analyst Steve Farhood. “Santiago is a fresh face in a wide-open featherweight division that needs new stars. He is a naturally talented boxer-puncher who should be a contender by the end of 2007. (But) Garcia is on a nice run of upsets. His specialty is defeating up and comers. He figures to be a tough test for Santiago.’’

Santiago will make his 12th start for Shaw since signing with the promoter in 2004. In addition, the “Ponce Prince” will make his third “ShoBox’’ and fifth Chumash appearances.

Garcia, who will make his SHOWTIME debut, enters the bout on a roll and knows a win will establish him in the eyes of the major boxing organizations, media and fans.

A victory will not be easy against a five-foot-seven-inch, 28-year-old, hard-punching southpaw who possesses good movement and works the body well. Already regarded as a rising star in the division, Santiago is the World Boxing Council (WBC) No. 10/International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA) No. 13 featherweight contender, and owns the WBC Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE) 126-pound title.

Garcia, however, does not figure to be overwhelmed or in awe of the surroundings. In fact, the five-foot-seven-inch, 27-year-old always is matched tough and should feel right at home. He has been the underdog in his last three fights against rising fighters, but has scored two impressive upset wins against Puerto Rican prospects. Since returning to the ring in August 2005, he is 4-0 with one no decision.

“I will fight anybody,” said the streaking Garcia, who accepted this assignment on three week’s notice. “I cannot afford to lose again. I have been fighting prospects the last year. They all thought they were to going to beat me easily, but they did not know my background. I can fight. You will see Dec. 1.”

A veteran of many international tournaments, Santiago was the Puerto Rican national champion at 119 pounds in 1998-99. From 1998-2000, he was a member of the Puerto Rican national team. His amateur career ended with a 45-7 record after he lost in his country’s Olympic Trials.

None of Garcia’s amateur fights took place outside of the United States, but he did go 87-13 and won a P.A.L. and Junior Olympics title in the early 1990s.

Both boxers were introduced to boxing at an early age. Santiago was six years old, while Garcia was 11.

“My father and his brothers were boxers. They taught me how to fight,’’ Santiago said. “An uncle taught me to punch the body. Now, it is my best weapon.’’

After failing to earn a berth on the Olympic team, Santiago made his pro debut at age 22 with a first-round knockout over Antonio Martinez April 27, 2001, in Hatillo, Puerto Rico. After winning his two other ’01 starts inside of the distance, Santiago fought the next 10 times in the U.S.

Santiago won his stateside debut and upped his record to 4-0 with a four-round decision over Calvin Shepard on March 30, 2002, in Reading, Pa. For the next 22 months, however, his fights were restricted to outside of the ring as he played musical chairs with managers, trainers and promoters.

“That is history. I have had new management for the last couple years and I am content now and very happy,” Santiago said. “My career is more solid than it has ever been. I am 28, but I feel young.”

When he returned to the ring on Jan. 15, 2004, Santiago took a four-round nod over Oliver Bolanos. He also was victorious in his next six ’04 starts before winning two in ’05. He is 3-0 in 2006.

Santiago made his Chumash debut on July 15, 2004, and won a four-round decision over Anthony Martinez. He made it two straight at Chumash five months later with a six-round decision over Freddy Castro on Dec. 17, 2004.

Less than three weeks after stopping Filiberto Young in the third round, Santiago won his first “ShoBox” start and improved to 13-0 with a fifth-round knockout over Cornelius Lock on Oct. 21, 2005, at Chumash. Santiago was hammering away with relentless fury when the referee halted matters at 1:05.

“Beating Lock was a big step up,” Santiago said. “Some thought I was committing a big mistake by facing a world-ranked boxer with a lot more experience. But, I gladly accepted the opportunity. I want to challenge myself. I want big fights. I want to keep moving up in the rankings.”

Back at Chumash on June 2, 2006, Santiago won his second “ShoBox” start and the minor WBC belt with a seventh-round KO over Lenny DeVictoria (8-3 going in).

Santiago fought in his hometown for the first time in his last start and retained his WBC belt by recording three knockdowns en route to a fourth-round TKO over Andres Ledesma on Aug. 19, 2006.

Garcia was introduced to boxing by his father. “My dad took me to a gym at a sheriff’s station to keep me off the streets in East L.A.,” he said. “At first, I did not want to do it. But my father was like, ‘you want to be a little tough guy, you have to do this.’ So I started doing it and eventually I liked it.

“There was a lot of discipline, and I had to have good grades in order to box. But I stuck with it.’’

Inactivity has plagued Garcia throughout his pro career. Since his debut at age 18 on Aug. 28, 1997, he twice had to come back from lengthy layoffs. He was inactive for 21 months (August 1999 to May 2001) and for more than three years (June 2002 to September 2005).

“The layoffs were a combination of things,” Garcia said. “Fights fell out. I had managerial problems. I went with other trainers and they could not get me any fights. Sure, it was frustrating, but I kept training and got through it. Now things have sorted themselves out.

“This fight came as a surprise, but I had been busy in the gym, so it was not hard to get ready. I do not know much about Santiago, but he has two hands like me.”

Garcia, who has fought much of his career as a junior featherweight, possesses nice movement and skill and can switch effectively to the left-handed stance.

The no decision came in Garcia’s last start on Sept. 8, 2006. The fight against Fernando Beltran Jr. (27-2-1 going in) for the vacant WBC Continental Americas title ended prematurely after Garcia was cut badly over his left eye by an accidental clash of heads in the second. The bout was stopped at 2:22.

In his outing before last, Garcia registered an upset sixth-round TKO over Puerto Rican prospect Juan Cruz (13-1-1 going in) on April 8, 2006, in Las Vegas. In a major surprise the previous Jan. 21 in Las Vegas, Garcia scored a shockingly easy six-round unanimous decision over 2000 Puerto Rican Olympian and previously undefeated Carlos Valcarcel.

Bradley is a top prospect at 140 to 147 pounds. One of Southern California's best kept secrets, he was a boxer who used speed to win in the amateurs. Since going pro, the five-foot-six-inch, 23-year-old non-stop puncher with a megawatt smile and charismatic personality has become more aggressive.

A winner of four straight by knockout, the popular Bradley is making his seventh start in 2006. Most important to him is that he finally is appearing on television and getting his first opportunity to make a true and convincing impact on the boxing world.

“I took it slowly and was patient for a long time, Bradley said. “But, fact is, I waited a long time to fight on television. I am very excited about Dec. 1 and getting more exposure.”

Bradley is co-promoted by Orange County (Calif.)-based Thompson Boxing, who has promoted the boxer throughout his pro career, and Shaw, who signed the boxer in early November 2006.

“Timothy has such raw power and is always on the attack,” Shaw said. “Once we get him in front of a television audience, the secret will be out. Timothy is the real deal.’’

One of three children, Bradley was born and raised in Palm Springs, Calif. He started to box at age 10. “A friend told me I should come down to the boxing club,” he said. “I was always fighting in the street, and in school. I had fast hands.”

Bradley’s father, Timothy Sr., was skeptical. “He did not think I would take it seriously,” the younger Bradley said. However, he convinced his father and went on to a stellar amateur career.

Coached by his father, Bradley won the majority of his 145 fights. He was a two-time National Champion and won titles at the P.A.L. National Tournament, the Under-19 National Tournament and the Junior Golden Gloves Championship.

In his bid, however, to make the 2004 United States Olympic team, Bradley was upset by Vanes Martirosyan, 35-22, in the U.S. Western Trials. Martirosyan went on to make the team.

Bradley was 20 when he made his pro debut nine days before his 21st birthday on Aug. 20, 2004. He was brought along slowly at the outset, but began giving signs he had the making of a future star after only a handful of starts. He captured the WBC junior welterweight Youth belt in his ninth outing.

“I have challenged Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.,’’ said Bradley, who is co-trained by his father and Joel Diaz, a former fighter and brother of former champion Antonio Diaz and current IBF champ Julio Diaz. “I think Junior is scared of me.’’

In his last start, the muscular, Southern California club favorite who reminds some of a young Shane Mosley, Aaron Pryor or Henry Armstrong scored two knockdowns en route to stopping Alfonso Sanchez (20-5-1 going in) at 2:44 in the first round on Oct. 16, 2006, in Ontario, Calif.

Rangel is a five-foot-seven-inch, 35-year-old southpaw who has been a pro since 1992. “El Martillo’’ always can be counted on to give his best.

In his last start, the battle-tested warrior bloodied Emanuel (Burton) Augustus’ nose before losing by 10th-round TKO on Feb. 10, 2006, in Mashantucket, Conn. Before it was stopped after Rangel went down for a second time in the 10th, the fight had been nip-and-tuck. After nine rounds, Augustus was narrowly ahead on two of the scorecards (86-85 and 87-84) and even on the other (85 apiece).

Rangel knocked Kendall Holt down in the first round on May 27, 2005, but wound up on the short end of a 12-round split decision in Pompano Beach, Fla. Penalized one point in the 12th for punching behind the head, Rangel lost 114-112, 115-111 and 110-116.

Three starts ago on Dec. 10, 2004, Rangel also started fast and rocked undefeated David Diaz in the first and second rounds from Chicago. The 1996 U.S. Olympian rallied in the great action fight, however, to register a ninth-round TKO. Diaz would go on to win the WBC interim lightweight title.

Rangel also dropped a 12-round split decision on Oct. 22, 2004, this time to Edner Cherry in Tampa, Fla. Rangel went down in the second and seventh, but rallied to sweep the last five rounds on one scorecard and four of the last five on another only to fall by 114-112, 115-111 and 111-115.

The only time Rangel dispensed a stinker in the last three years came Dec. 13, 2003, when then-defending World boxing Organization (WBO) titlist Zab Judah stopped him in the first in Atlantic City.

Blow-by-blow announcer Nick Charles will call the action with Farhood providing expert analysis. The executive producer of “ShoBox” is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing.

“ShoBox” will return Friday, Jan. 5, 2007, when Jean Paul Mendy (23-0, 12 KOs) battles Tony Hanshaw (21-0, 14 KOs) in the 12-round, super middleweight tournament final on SHOWTIME.

On Dec. 2, 2006, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will conclude its 20th anniversary with two welterweight world title fights (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). Cotto (27-0, 22 KOs) will face fellow unbeaten Puerto Rican Carlos Quintana (23-0, 18 KOs), for the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) title. World Boxing Organization (WBO) champion Antonio Margarito (33-4, 1 NC, 24 KOs) will risk his crown against No. 5 contender Joshua Clottey (30-1, 20 KOs) in the other.

For more information on “ShoBox: The New Generation” and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including complete fighter bios, records, related stories and more, please go to the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.


About ShoBox: The New Generation

Since its inception in July 2001, the critically-acclaimed SHOWTIME boxing series, “ShoBox: The New Generation” has featured young talent matched tough. The “ShoBox” philosophy is to televise exciting, crowd-pleasing and competitive matches while providing a proving ground for willing prospects determined to fight for a world title.

Article posted on 28.11.2006



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