Home Boxing News Walter Santibanes springs the upset on Manuel Flores with dominant victory

Walter Santibanes springs the upset on Manuel Flores with dominant victory

Walter Walter Santibanes lands on Manuel Flores. Photo credit: Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy Promotions

It was supposed to be a coming out party for super bantamweight prospect Manuel ‘Gucci Manny’ Flores 15-1 (11) but it turned out to be anything but.

The 24-year-old pride of Coachella was headlining his first Golden Boy Fight Night on streaming service DAZN and was expected to arrive with a bang.

Unfortunately for his rabid crowd of fans at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, it was more like a whimper.

At 5-foot-7 southpaw Flores towered over his much shorter opponent, Walter Santibanes 12-2 (2). But the Phoenix, Arizona native took away Flores’ physical advantages from the opening bell and never let up.

The first two rounds were reasonably close but Santibanes was determined not to stay on the outside on the end of Flores’ punches. He bulldozed his way in and once in punching range, let off short shots in quick succession – rips, uppercuts, hooks and overhand rights.

CompuBox had Santibanes outlanded Flores in every round of the 10-round bout from the third onwards. Flores only outlanded him in power shots in the opening frame, 17-14.

Although he waded forward without much of a jab through the first half of the bout, Santibanes found his stick in the sixth round and used it effectively for the rest of the bout to set up his thudding shots.

Despite his height and length, Flores was unable to keep Santibanes on the outside and failed to use his feet or lateral movement to offset the underdog’s attack. His game plan wasn’t helped by the fact he rarely threw more than two punches at a time, often settling for a single jab that Santibanes simply walked through.

Even when Santibanes clumsily switched stances, Flores was unable to capitalise on the change up.

In what was essentially a one-sided drubbing, all three judges scored the bout to Santibanes. Judge Edward Hernandez Sr saw it 100-90, while judges Sergio Caiz and Fernando Villarreal both had it 99-91.

Santibanes was magnanimous in victory.

“I showed nothing but respect to Manny, to my team, to the crowd tonight,” said Santibanes. “I know the crowd is not in my favor, but I came to do my job. I try to work hard in the gym, and this is what I have to do; this is my job. I want to go down to 115 lbs, but I’ll fight whomever they throw at me at any weight. I’ll fight anyone.”

Flores vowed to be back.

“We’re going back to the drawing board,” said Flores. “We didn’t get the victory today, so we have to go back, adjust and work to come back stronger.”

According to CompuBox, Santibanes was very accurate, going 261 of 649 (43%) in total punches, compared to 135 of 689 (20%) for Flores. In power punches, Santibanes was 195 of 418 (47%) besting Flores’ 106 of 307 (35%).