Just a few months ago, Alexis Rocha was one of the leading candidates for Terence Crawford. The 26-year-old earned his spot as one of the best welterweights around and was essentially on the verge of a world title shot.
Of course, things didn’t go his way as Crawford managed to get Errol Spence Jr. in the ring. It was everything he was hoping for as a lopsided victory led to Crawford wrapping every major 147-pound title around his waist.
Since then, the 35-year-old has made his intentions known that he’s only interested in fighting for the biggest paychecks. Meaning, Rocha doesn’t fit the mold. With a matchup against Crawford ostensibly off the table, Rocha needed to remain busy. Although he could’ve taken on a soft touch, Giovanni Santillan was given the call. His record was a perfect one, making him an ideal target for Rocha.
This past Saturday night, the California native waltzed to the ring smiling and full of confidence. Roughly 18 minutes later, however, he was a bloody mess on the mat. Losing for the first time in three years was a difficult pill to swallow. Rocha (23-2, 15 KOs) had done his best to create separation from most of his contemporaries. Now, it’s all washed away.
Despondency has begun to creep in. Rocha’s championship aspirations have wilted away, at least for the time being. He now sits toward the bottom of the welterweight ladder. The climb back near the top is long and one that would leave some fighters unsure of themselves.
No one is coming to help. Rocha knows it. The only panacea that will be coming his way is the one he creates for himself.
“I’m a hold my head up high,” Rocha told a group of reporters. “I have a great f—— team behind me. We’re gonna go to the top.”