Roberto "El Tigre de Benidorm" Santos López

Discussion in 'World Boxing Forum' started by IntentionalButt, May 21, 2019.



  1. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Tyler went away. Tyler's gone. Staff Member

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    A couple of months from now will mark three years since he graced the ring - and two since he called it quits, if anybody (like me until doing some homework just now) was wondering where the hell he went. For any who didn't follow the boxing scene in Europe (particularly the Mediterranean) while he was active - you missed out, son. He was probably, for a time, my favorite journeyman in the sport. Think, like,
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    - but even better. All the same positive qualities we love about "Cœur de Lion" (in terms of both his personality and his intangibles between the ropes), plus a lot more skill. Naturally so - being a trainer partner, friend, and protégé of Sergio Gabriel Martínez ...and for much of his career promoted by "Maravilla".

    He was a combat sport multi-disciplinarian - almost, you might say, a polymath of pain infliction and endurance. From a young age he cross-trained in karate, Western kickboxing, and the dulcet science of the Marquess of Queensberry. In his youth and teens he racked up trophies and championships in the former two before switching his focus to boxing full-time in his early twenties. He retained some of the imprint of those other sports in his style, and was able to utilize them with awkward effectiveness, as have many other successful crossovers such as Vitali Klitshcko.

    Virtually every single 'blemish' in the latter half of his dozen-year campaign - specifically four of his losses and two draws - were robberies:

    1. Nikola Sjekloća - fought in Serbia; lo and behold the Serb and Montenegrin judge both saw it comfortably wide for Sjekloća. :rolleyes: Impartial accounts of the fight indicate that Sjekloća won the first couple of rounds jabbing and moving, then gassed and got beat up for several rounds, but closed well in the last couple. No extant video AFAIK.
    2. Luis Crespo - blatant home cooking for the Madrid prospect - who soon thereafter would go 3-5-1 across the rest of his unremarkable career, getting dominated by the very same pair of teutónes (Dominick Britsch & Marcos Nader) against whom Santos would officially go 1-1-2 but deserve to have three wins in four goes. There is video, see below. One has to bend over backwards to find more than a couple of rounds for the southpaw in this, and the fact that it was done is baffling as he can't have been seen as having enough upside to be worth screwing over the popular Santos (the Madrid crowd wildly cheered him, while a majority soundly booed their own native son Crespo during the scorecard reading)
    3. Dominick Britsch I - many international fans' introduction to Santos. On the Povetkin vs. Huck undercard. Britsch was dominated/exposed. Very fortunate to first off reach the final bell and secondly to get his bacon (and intact L-column zero) saved with a home-cooked draw. In their rematch seven months later he wasn't so lucky. Santos knocked him out in eight. :deal:
    4. Marcos Nader I - this was Santos' first defense of his new European Union middleweight title, obtained with his vanquishing at last of Britsch. Defending it on the road in the Austrian's backyard was a bold move - and led to a bad case of déjà vu. Another home-cooked draw for the unbeaten home fighter. :ohno Their rematch was a futile attempt to regain the belt, in hostile territory, with a savvy opponent that now had a full in-person scouting report to build a game plan around - in which Nader carefully jabbed and moved to earn, on my card as well as the judges', a hard-fought but clear points victory (
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      )
    5. Cédric Vitu - for all that French cuisine is lauded, this was yet another bit of home cooking leaving a sour taste in the craw of any Santos fan. Even the Frenchman knew he got worked over, and sank to his knees in exuberant relief when the scorecards were read out. Santos, as usual, was gracious in defeat but you could see the flicker of annoyance on his face before reaching down to extend Vitu a sportsmanlike hand.
    6. Maxime Beaussire - why return to France directly after the Vitu loss, taking on yet another local favorite, this one a young unbeaten with a rangy jab? Well, because that's just the kind of bad ass the Benidorm Tiger is. Beaussire actually did better IMO than Vitu, managing to force Santos on the backfoot at times, but overall I thought it should have been narrow for the Spaniard. Interestingly, the panel of three French judges felt otherwise...

    I'll admit to having never seen any of the matches from his first six years in the pros - and thus will allow that all of them may have been legit. Certainly we can surmise that countryman Gabriel Campillo at least probably got a 'clean' win over him when they met early days, as the slick "El Chico Guapo" would blossom into a veritable world class operator and had every tool at his disposal to be a stylistic nightmare for Santos. His other conquerors, also from Spain, were Ruben Díaz Peña (went on to be a minor force on the Euro scene until very recently, still fighting well into his late thirties) and Othman Amnad twice over (although Santos would have the last word in the rivalry, avenging the consecutive losses - a UD and TKO in 2007 - by knocking Amnad out in 2010 in a defense of the Spanish 168lb title in their highest-stakes meeting), leaving him with no cause for disgrace, as those were all very solid domestic rivals.

    In terms of his W column, the highlights are that gratifying kayo in the Britsch rematch, eking out a SD over Zakaria Attou in France (in the first leg of a three-fight stand there, which only went downhill from there with the Vitu and Beaussire decisions), knocking out French middleweight champion Francois "The Warrior" Bastient in 2011, and dominating 11-0 Blas-Miguel Martínez for his second defense of Spain's national super middleweight title. On paper, decent but not exactly the stuff of legend. Correct all those robberies, however...

    After the compounded sting of suffering his first set of back to back losses in nine years in those last two star-crossed visits to L'Hexagone, he rebounded with a pair of confidence-building triumphs over soft competition at home in the summer of 2016. He then angled for a European title shot - or for the phone to ring for any interesting opportunities - and was finally about to return to action in July of 2017 after spending nearly a year on the shelf, with a fight lined up against Emmanuel Feuzeu at super middleweight, co-headlining with Kiko Martínez vs. Franklin Varela in his own hometown of Benidorm - when Santos abruptly pulled the plug and retired a fortnight ahead of the card. He cited difficulties with putting his body through all the rigors of making weight (even 168lbs, despite having fought at 154 and 160 for years), and said he just physically at this age didn't feel right anymore.

    He since has opened a gym and coaches a wide swath in a plurality of senses: from pros to novices, fellow Spaniards and fellow Hispanophones from across the pond in Mexico, and in both the arts of the fist and high-kicks. On social media he preaches caution for all fighters in ruining their bodies with forced confinement into weight categories that don't suit one naturally, and warns of the deleterious long-term effect this can have on health as well as longevity in the ring.

    All hail El Tigre! ¡Feroz y duro siempre!
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    Santos vs. Crespo:


    Santos vs. Vitu:


    Santos vs. Britsch II:


    Santos vs. Attou:
     
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  2. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Tyler went away. Tyler's gone. Staff Member

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    I've watched the knockdown in round 5 of Santos vs. Crespo like a dozen times now, and I'm honestly still unclear on whether or not referee Ignacio Conejero made the right call in applying the count on El Tigre. :thinking:



    The frame cuts off at their waists/upper legs, so you can't really see whether Santos was tripped as he pleaded earnestly in the immediate aftermath. Crespo was taking a licking against the ropes and did land a desperation counter right hook in that exchange just before Santos went down. On the one hand, it was a light glancing blow on which Crespo had a very small amount of leverage. On the other hand, it did appear to clip Santos on his left temple - which is a spot that can lay even the most iron-chinned gladiators low if the button is pushed in just the correct manner. Complicating matters is the positioning of their feet - it does appear that Santos was a bit off-balance from jumping in and piling the power shots on Crespo, and that Luis did then step forward off the ropes while flinging that high right hook, potentially trapping Santos' lead foot in a vice grip before the punch landed.

    Tough call, I don't envy Conejero being in that position - and don't begrudge the call, ultimately. It shouldn't have mattered, however. Even giving the 5th to Crespo 10-8 ought still to result in a 57-56 victory for Santos.
     
  3. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Tyler went away. Tyler's gone. Staff Member

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    I'd recommend checking out the above fights, plus any others you can find on YT, dailymotion, and the like. Fans of Kiko Martínez will find that his amigo Roberto is essentially like a super-sized version. :thumbsup:

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  4. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Tyler went away. Tyler's gone. Staff Member

    352,935
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    Sportsbook:
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    Nov 30, 2006

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