by James Slater: Puerto Rican southpaw Daniel Santos is a fighter who all but disappeared from view after his points loss to Ukraine's Sergiy Dzinziruk in December of 2005. Santos lost his WBO light-middleweight belt on that occasion - after having held it since 2002 and after having defended it successfully against excellent fighters such as Fulgencio Zuniga, and the mighty Antonio Margarito, no less..
A good fighter, as his wins over Zuniga and Margarito show - Santos was also a WBO welterweight champion at one time (title never lost in the ring). It wasn't until the 32-year-old's win over Jose Antonio Rivera, however, that Santos got himself back in the spotlight. That 8th round TKO win earned him a shot at the WBA light-middleweight championship, and last night in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the Puerto Rican ripped the belt from holder Joachim Alcine.
Scoring a stunning 6th round KO in front of the previously undefeated Alcine's hometown fans, Santos put himself right back where he once belonged - at the top of the 154 pound division. Now a three-time world champion, the talented and underrated fighter known as "El Pillin" set himself up for some potential big money fights down the road. Not really known as a devastating puncher, Santos shocked many by the way he levelled the man who was born in Haiti but later relocated to Canada. A big left hand put Alcine, also a good fighter, down and out in the 6th. The man with the nickname of "Ti-Joa," who made boxing history last year by becoming the first fighter from Haiti to win a world title, had no chance of getting up. Santos had said he'd take the belt home, and he was as good as his word.
So what next for the now 32-3-1(23) WBA champ? Fights against the rival champions at 154 pounds would be very interesting, as would a third match with Antonio Margarito. Should Margarito wish to move up in weight after his hugely anticipated battle with Miguel Cotto - whether he wins on July 26th or not - another bout with Santos would prove massively intriguing. The two's previous meetings - back in 2001 and 2004 - ended unsatisfactorily. Fight one was over in a round and ruled a No-Contest, and fight two was stopped after ten rounds and ruled a Technical decision win for Santos. In both fights accidental head-butts that caused cuts on Margarito were responsible for the way the fights ended.
Surely a third fight, to decide which fighter is superior, would make sense? I'm pretty sure Daniel Santos would take a third go at "Tony."
For the moment, though, the new WBA light-middleweight champion of the world can savour and enjoy the fine win he got himself last night. Daniel Santos Back On Top Of The World After KO Win Over Joachim Alcine!