Former NABF Junior Super Lightweight Champion Giovani Santillan (17-0, 9 KOs) is back in action this Friday, Nov. 20, against power hitter Rosbel Montoya (18-7, 16 KOs). Santillan vs. Montoya serves as the 8-round main event on Thompson Boxing Promotions “New Blood” fight card. We recently sat down with Santillan and got his thoughts on sparring with the great Floyd Mayweather, and how he feels about his upcoming opponent Rosbel Montoya.
Your opponent, Rosbel Montoya, comes into the fight with 18 wins, sixteen of those by knockout. What do you know about him?
“Montoya has a strong right hand. He likes to load up on that side so we’ve been working on taking that away and being mindful of his power.”
In March and April you had the opportunity to be a part of Floyd Mayweather’s training camp. He was getting ready for his mega fight against Manny Pacquaio, while you had a break in your schedule. What was it like to spar against an all time great?
“Anytime you spend time with a living legend, you have to embrace the challenge and learn as much as you can, as quickly as you can. Mayweather’s very intelligent. He’s always thinking in the ring. I had to be smart and set him up and really think about what I was doing. He’s definitely hard to hit, but it’s all about being smart with him. You can’t just move forward. I had to give him multiple looks. It’s very much like a chess match. I had to think three or four moves down the line or else he’d figure me out quickly.”
What did you take away from this experience?
“We were there everyday during his training camp for a total of about seven weeks. I saw how hard he works and the amount of effort that he puts in everyday. Seeing that discipline and dedication stuck with me the most. He doesn’t cheat drills, he doesn’t take days off. He trains as if he still has something to prove. Observing him was an incredible experience.
I don’t know about the other fighters that were there, but I was very excited to just be there and learn from one of the best to ever do it. Not a lot of people get a chance to do that so I feel very fortunate.”
You’ve had a productive training camp sparring with young upstarts Maurice Hooker and Mercito Gesta. How have they helped you in your preparation?
“Maurice is an excellent boxer. He’s undefeated for a reason. He has good speed and a lot of punching power. He really helped me tighten up my defense.
Mercito (lightweight) is a weight class below me so he has really fast hands and is very crafty. Overall, I’ve been getting really good workouts with both of them. It’s been a challenging training camp