BoztheMadman Posted July 25, 2018 Share Posted July 25, 2018 His nickname was "El Pillin", which translated from Spanish means "the rascal", hence the subtitle of this thread. Daniel Santos was and is one of the more overlooked welterweights and super welterweights and fighters in general of his time. Due to his sometimes cautious, technical approach perhaps and the fact that he lived in Puerto Rico instead of USA, he got less fame than he deserved because he was an outstanding talent. He was a skilled and clever boxer, yet also possessed punching power, a good chin and a strong, sturdy build and wasn't afraid to brawl when needed. He won three world titles at two different weights. Born Daniel Santos Peña, 10 October 1975 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he grew up in Bayamon. His father Paquito Santos was a boxing trainer and his older brother Edgarito Santos was a professional boxer as well. Early in his life, Daniel was enrolled into a special school for sports, located in the training facility for Olympic athletes. He started competing as amateur in 1990 and in 1995 won a silver medal at the Pan American Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina, competing as a welterweight. He also participated in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and won a bronze medal at the same weight. He started his pro career later that year, debuting on 28 September against Andre Hawthorne and winning easily by TKO 1. His first 7 fights didn't go the distance, with all knockouts coming within 5 rounds, showing he had impressive power as well as the amateur pedigree. In his 21st fight, he won the IBA Continental welterweight title by TKO 2 against former Felix Trinidad-challenger Ray Lovato. It was in 1999, same as his next fight against another undefeated fighter, 16-0 Kofi Jantuah from Ghana. May 7th at the All American Sports Park in Las Vegas, Santos tasted his first defeat in a fast paced brawl against the strong and hard-punching Jantuah, when he was stopped in round 5; Santos had won the previous round and looked like he was just establishing himself after losing the first 3 rounds when he was hit by a left uppercut and then a right hand at the end of round 5 and fell to the canvas. Although he got up at 9 and looked able to continue, the referee Jay Nady waved it off. Despite this loss, he soon got an offer to fight the WBO champion, Akhmed Kotiev, an Ossetian-Russian fighter, and he took it. Kotiev was based in Germany and the fight happened at Hansehalle, Luebeck, Eastern Germany on 27 November that same 1999. Even though Santos by all accounts deserved to win, he was robbed and lost by a split decision. Because of the controversial decision, a rematch was soon mandated and happened 6 May 2000, in Neuss, Western Germany. This time there would be no controversial decision because Santos dominated the fight and put Kotiev down twice in round 5 to win by KO. In his first defense he took on the former WBO lightweight and light welterweight champion Giovanni Parisi of Italy, in his own homeland, Reggio Calabria, southern Italy. Parisi didn't look to be in the best shape and was knocked out in 4 by the naturally bigger and stronger Santos. Parisi later stated he hadn't trained properly. El Pillin then went to England for the first time to defend for the second time against Neil Sinclair at the Sheffield Arena. Both fighters were down in the first round but Santos again prevailed by knocking Sinclair out in the second round. Sinclair was very aggressive from the start and managed to put Santos down with a right hand but paid for his over-aggressiveness and overconfidence when Santo knocked him out with a perfect left hook to end his dreams of winning a world title. His third defense on 21 July 2001 against Antonio Margarito ended in a no contest after 1 round when Margarito suffered a bad cut on his right eye due to accidental headbutt from Santos. The two would meet again later. After this third defense, Santos vacated the title, feeling he was unable to make the 147 limit anymore and stepped up to the light middleweight division. In his very first fight there, 16 March 2002, he was matched against Luis Ramon Campas in a fight for the WBO title. Campas had previously reigned as the IBF champion before being dethroned by a young Fernando Vargas. The fight was dominated by Santos who bust up Campas, who only managed to win a couple rounds or so, before he had to give it up due to a deep gash over his right eye, after 11 rounds. It was determined the gash was caused by a straight left from Santos in round 10 and so Santos was proclaimed the winner by TKO, thus becoming a two-time, two-weight champion. His first defense was against Mehrdud "Margate Rock" Takaloo, Iranian-born Englishman who was one of the best fighters in UK in the division. It happened 17 August 2002 in Cardiff. Takaloo was a brawler and action fighter with a hard punch and he managed to put Santos down in round 4, after first stunning him with a left hook and then putting him down with a follow up left and a few more punches. Santos recovered and dominated the rest of the fight by patiently boxing and moving instead of brawling. Takaloo on the other hand seemed to fade as the fight went on and in the end, Santos retained his title by a unanimous decision. After soundly outboxing and decisioning Fulgencio Zuniga and Michael Lerma in his second and third defenses, he signed to fight Margarito again, 11 September 2004 at home in Puerto Rico. The fight was a war from the start and Santos opened best and took the first three rounds. Margarito had a strong round 5 where he caught Santos flush with a right hand and rocked him. Santos came back and won rounds 8 and 9 and cut Margarito on the right eyebrow so severely the fight had to be stopped just as round 10 was about to commence. It went to the scorecards and 2 judges favored Santos, 87-84 and 86-85 while the third had Margarito ahead 86-85. He had signed a contract with Warriors Promotion earlier that 2004 and then decided to terminate it after one year, in early 2005. Don King then announced he wants to take over Santos, which he did. However, all this kept him out of the ring for over a year and in his fifth defense on 3 December 2005, Santos lost his title by UD to the up and comer from Ukraine, Serhiy Dzinziruk, fighting in Germany. Technically sound and tall Dzinziruk was dominant in the first 4 or 5 rounds before Santos started coming on but just as he was starting to establish himself, he was hit by a surprise uppercut in round 8 as he was coming forward and dropped. It influenced both the rest of the fight and the scorecards, as Dzinziruk reestablished control over the fight and in the end won by 115-112 on all three scorecards. Santos was then away from the ring for 8 months before returning in August 2006 and beating the journeyman Will Evans by KO 1 in a middleweight fight. He decided to remain a junior middleweight and then faced the former world champion Jose Antonio Rivera, another Puerto Rican boxer-puncher. The fight was in Madison Square Garden, 6 October 2007. Rivera put up a good fight but was in the end worn down by the stronger and superior Santos, who knocked him down in round 8 and then battered him until his corner threw in the towel. The fight was the WBA eliminator, so now he was the mandatory challenger of Joachim Alcine, the new WBA champion who had defeated Travis Simms for it earlier. Alcine had a perfect record of 30-0 and was more of a boxer than a puncher. As he was based in Montreal, that is where the fight happened, 11 July 2008. Early on, Alcine had the edge, but Santos came back in round 4 and hurt Alcine with three successive left hands which drove him to the ropes. In round 6, Alcine was on the attack again but was hit by a perfect left hook set up by a right hand from Santos which caught him flush on the jaw and knocked him right out. He was then supposed to defend against Nobuhiro Ishida on 3 January 2009 but that fell through. Don King proposed a fight against reigning WBC interim champion Sergio Martinez, but Santos refused, stating he had less than a month to prepare for it after a long period of inactivity. Ricardo Mayorga was also brought up as a possible opponent but the negotiations never took off. And so...it again went too long before he was back in the ring, against Yuri Foreman, 5 years younger but with far less mileage on him. It took place 14 November 2009 at the MGM Grand and Santos looked heavy and out of shape while Foreman was in splendid shape and jabbed Santos into submission, while Santos landed some harder shots but was unable to keep up and really establish himself. He was also down twice, in rounds 2 and 12, and subsequently lost by wide scores. Santos had gained 19 pounds between the weigh in and fight night, coming into the ring at 173. Aged 34 now and with nothing left to win or prove and struggling to stay in shape, Daniel "El Pillin" Santos decided to call it quits. He left behind a record 32 wins, with 23 ko's, 4 losses and 1 draw. He has only been stopped once, by premature stoppage and early on in his career, by the same man who laid out Marco Antonio Rubio flat in 33 seconds. Santos was not one of the fastest fighters of his time but had everything else a fighter can desire. He was clever, strong, tough and hit hard and also had heart and "cojones" as well. He famously said "I don't entertain", but he could be entertaining as well. He remains a popular figure in Puerto Rico and also among true boxing afficionados everywhere. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.