INGLEWOOD — Wearing the wounds of war, with a swollen face, bloodied nose, and fighting back tears from a bruised eye, Alexis Rocha appeared dejected when speaking to ProBox TV and other reporters backstage after losing to Giovani Santillan Saturday at The Forum in Inglewood.
"I'm down right now," Rocha told us. "It's a tough pill to swallow, but I'll be back. I'm built for this. I'm not giving up, that's not me. I brought a good crowd. If I lay on my back, I better be out. I down want to stay down. The referee waved it off. It is what it is."
Santillan loaded up on power and head-hunted throughout the fight to land a total of 129 significant shots from 267 thrown, dropping Rocha twice in the fifth round for a 10-7, before closing the show in the sixth.
The result was somewhat of an upset as Rocha — ranked at the time as the No.1 at the WBO — was a 4/1 favorite, fighting in front of a partisan crowd who chanted "Rocha! Rocha! Rocha!" all the way to a devastating end.
"That's what was tough," he told ProBox TV.
"Knowing I brought a big crowd and losing in front of a big crowd. It's tough, but it's boxing. The highest of highs and lowest of lows, and unfortunately I'm at a low right now."
Santillan, earlier in the night, told ProBox TV and other reporters that, despite the one-sided nature of the win, he regards Rocha to be "a very good fighter."
He told us: "I think he has a big future.”
Rocha, meanwhile, said: "I will be back better, 100%, I promise people that.
"I want to be back in the gym probably next week," he told us. "I won't be gone for long."