Jake Giuriceo faced his toughest competition to date Saturday and stepped up to the plate in a big way. Juan “Chago” Santiago (14-9-1) had plenty of big-fight experience under his belt, including capturing, and losing, the WBC Latino Super Lightweight title. Giuriceo scored a unanimous eight-round decision over Santiago proving his escalation to a higher level was warranted. It was by far, Giuriceo’s most complete fight in a long time.
“I felt awesome tonight. I felt like everything we ever worked on in all of my training camps came out tonight”, said Giuriceo. “I felt like I threw great punches. It is awesome that we can move up in competition . The boxing part was there, I was blocking punches and moving good. What me and Keith [Burnside] worked on coming into this fight was throwing punches that count and not wasting any.”
In the first round, Giuriceo controlled the pace of the fight. He showed the superior ring-general capabilities, and although he took a few shots, he landed many more, including a nice five-punch flurry on the ropes about two minutes into the round.
The second round featured Giuriceo mixing up his targets. He would start out with a glove to each side of Santiago’s body and then hit him with a hook. Santiago was taking and giving, but through two – Giuriceo, with slight blood showing in his mouth, was doing most of the giving.
The third was an even toe-to-toe slugfest that neither fighter backed away from the other’s punches. Santiago landed a couple of uppercuts and used a good jab throughout the round. Giuriceo continued to pound the body and throw the big hooks. It was a round that may have went Santiago’s way.
Giuriceo hurt Santiago in the fourth with a strong left hook knocking the former champion into the ropes. The Bull definitely scored well throughout the round, maybe his best of the fight.
The pace of the fight slowed slightly in the fifth as both fighters were starting to show signs of fatigue. Giuriceo finished the round strong enough to claim it. Giuriceo nailed Santiago with a good combination in the sixth round that stopped Santiago in his tracks. Santiago’s corner kept screaming for their fighter to attack claiming that Giuriceo was hurt. Santiago listened and paid a price each time he came forward.
In the seventh round, Giuriceo finished strong. Give Santiago credit, he was still fighting too. Giuriceo earned the round though, as ‘The Bull’, was fighting his style of fight, and winning, convincingly.
In the eighth and final round, the two fighters used about all they had left in the tank. Giuriceo looked fresher than Santiago did, and his punches were still crisp.
“”When I was working with Frankie [Duarte], we were focusing on getting more boxing skills”, admitted Giuriceo. “The boxing figured in tonight, but it all really came together. The Bull showed up tonight.”
The judges scored the fight 79-73, 80-72, 79-73, all in favor of Giuriceo (16-0-1), who cleared his biggest hurdle to date in front of Roy Jones Jr., who may extend the olive branch to some potential promoters.
“I was trying to move a little out there tonight hoping that he [Jones] would see me and hoping that maybe he will give me a call”, said Giuriceo. “The Lord has blessed me with opportunities.”
“Jake fought a great fight, we didn’t waste punches in there tonight”, claimed Keith Burnside, Giuriceo’s trainer. “This kid [Santiago] was tough. His losses are to very good fighters. Jake stepped it up, but there is still work to do. He is getting better each fight and we are going to come back stronger.”
The Bull is headed to the chapel to get married in a few weeks, that is his next step. After the honeymoon, he will get back to business and Joe Corvino, his manager, will carefully plan his next step with the whole team.
*All photos, Courtesy of Ron Stevens