The storyline was already written before the fight even happened.
Former world champion Antonio DeMarco (33-9-1, 24 KOs) was easy pickings. He was fresh off back-to-back losses against Maxim Dadashev and Jamal James.
Sandwiched in between them were wins against Eddie Ramirez and Luis Solis, before losing another three straight.
At age 34, DeMarco provided just enough name recognition as a former world champion to be a credible opponent. But not many were expecting him to give Giovani Santillan (26-0, 15 KOs) much of a fight.
Granted, much of that had to do with Santillan’s sparkling undefeated record rather than his work in ring, but still, an easy win was pre-written in the books for him.
Yet, come fight night on June 16, 2020, from the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Santillan had anything but an easy time against him.
DeMarco came out of the gates slow and steady. It was the type of pace that the veteran fighter needed to fight at in order to go the full 10 rounds. Santillan, though, seemed more than willing to fight at the slower pace. And for much of the contest, he seemed to pay for it.
DeMarco landed whenever he wanted. Uppercuts and shots to the body were his preferred weapon of choice, while Santillan fired off a few shots of his own.
The already slow pace of the fight, slowed even further as neither man was able to close the show with an eye catching shot. For the most part, every round was hard to choose a winner. But for what it’s worth, ESPN commentator and former two division world champion Andre Ward had DeMarco just narrowly edging out Santillan by a score of 96-94.
Ironically enough, that was the exact score from two of the judges. But instead of favoring DeMarco, they gave the edge to Santillan and awarded him the close majority decision victory.
Final Grade For Santillan: C
Antonio DeMarco looked good tonight. But he is in no means a contender. This was essentially supposed to be Giovani Santillan’s coming out party, but he simply failed to impress.
He still has time to improve. And even with the victory, he still has a long ways to go before he becomes a contender.