Edgar Santana is not widely known outside of NY boxing circles, and when his name was announced as the Aug. 9 foe for Lamont Peterson (32-2-1), the IBF 140 pound titlist, many boxing fans reacted thusly: Who?
The 29-4 (20 KOs) hitter, aged 35, was a promising prospect, who built up a lofty record, after losing his sixth and seventh pro fights. Then he met 14-5-2 Harrison Cuello in NYC, and Santanas' 21-2 record became 21-3. He regained his professional bearings after that 2007 loss, and gained wins over Josesito Lopez (in April 2008) as part of a five fight win streak. A loss to 16-7 Manny Perez in 2012 occurred before he reeled off three straight wins, the last coming against Michael Clark last November. But along the way, Santana fell in with some bad influences, who helped lure him down a lawless path. Right before he was due to fight on ESPN on Aug. 6, 2008, Santana was part of a crew busted for intent to distribute cocaine. In a photo taken on the way to court, he was wearing a t-shirt with these words printed on it: "The pressure of survival in the big city will make you lose sight of your dream...hang in there - de la Vega."
The boxer, who had stepped away from the sport and tried his hand at cutting hair, got a taste of incarceration, only briefly…but that was enough, he says for him. He know knows, deeply, fully, he maintains, that he will stay on that straight and narrow, and keep his nose clean.
Please check out this video from the Boxing Channel, and acquaint yourself a bit better with one of those underdogs getting the chance of a lifetime on Aug. 9 at Barclays Center.
Santana speaks about his period and lockup, and I got the sense that this is one guy who could well rise to the occasion, and send a clear message to anyone asking, "Who?" when his fight versus Peterson was announced. We shall see…Let's see how it play out. I admit, part of me, the contrarian side, is hoping AT LEAST one of the underdogs, be it Rod Salka, Santana or Jarrod Fletcher, flips the script, and wins in grand fashion, if only to send a message to some of the media who act so cocky and snide and dismissive so very often. Because I love it when the Santana's of the world pull off majestic comeback stories, because of the power of the message, the statement it makes when someone who has fallen into the sort of pit he did gets out, dusts himself off, and excels.