Alexis Rocha is set to embrace his most significant challenge in some time as he continues to wait for his shot at a world title. The rising contender, who is currently the number-one contender for the WBO welterweight appears to be fighting undefeated welterweight Giovani Santillan, who is co-promoted by Top Rank Inc., according to reports by BoxingScene.com's Jake Donovan. That report alleged a potential date of October 21st in Southern California.
Golden Boy Promotions is based out of Southern California, as well as Rocha and Santillan both train out of the Southern California area.
Recently, ProBox TV News caught up with Golden Boy Promotions President, Eric Gomez who spoke on Alexis Rocha.
"We're going to be patient with Alexis Rocha," Eric Gomez told ProBox TV News. "
Now a big question leading into the bout will be if an interim title will be on the line. Both fighters hold high rankings in the WBO welterweight rankings and with Terence Crawford occupied at the moment, the advent of an interim title could be a very real possibility. This was alluded to in our conversation with Gomez, who seems to believe like many others that Crawford will be a junior middleweight very soon.
"Crawford, obviously great performance (against Errol Spence Jr), historic performance by Crawford," furthered Gomez about the undisputed welterweight champion at the moment, who Rocha is mandatory for. "(Crawford) has indicated that he wants to move up to (junior middleweight), but he hasn't done it officially yet, but if he does Alexis would be available to fight for the vacant (WBO welterweight title). So we are not pressuring Crawford, he deserves the time in the limelight. Once (Crawford) makes the decision, the WBO has indicated that Alexis could be in line to fight for a vacant title."
Given that the card will be more than likely promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, it will likely headline a DAZN card in the future given Golden Boy's distribution deal. Since losing Rashidi "Speedy" Ellis, Rocha has been extremely active fighting seven times since his lone career loss.
"We are targeting a possible stay-busy fight if nothing shakes out with the WBO," told Gomez to ProBox TV News. "We want to keep him busy. He is probably [the most active] fighter not just for Golden Boy, but in boxing if you have really seen what he has done in the last year, year and a half. He has been really busy."
The 26-year-old southpaw from Santa Ana returned in January to stop Georgie Ashie, via a highlight-reel KO, but has been forced to wait given the log-jam at the top of the welterweight division that saw Terence Crawford become the undisputed welterweight world champion.
Gomez takes pride in the maturity and growth that Rocha has shown over the past few years.
"We want to keep [Rocha] busy because he keeps getting better and better," said Gomez. "(Young fighters) will learn more from a loss than a win, and I think that is what happened to (Rohca in the Ellis fight). I think he learned (a lot more) in that fight, and has become so much better, so much more active. Not only with the fights he has had but also with his combinations (in the ring), punches, you could see the progression in him. He has gotten so much better since that fight."
As for his opponent, Giovani Santillan, his opponent, has been in a weird spot. He signed a co-promotional deal with Top Rank Inc. and had a hard fight with Antonio DeMarco, and since that bout, it seems like the hope was that Josh Taylor would move up to welterweight creating his big fight. That has yet to happen, and he has been sitting around, but not staying all that busy. In his most recent fight, he won a close ten-round points decision over Erick Bone which ended his eleven-month layoff.
For Alexis Rocha, this bout signifies another step in his quest to secure a world title shot. With his place in the upper echelons of the division secured, this matchup serves as a testament to his progression and the pride that Golden Boy Promotions takes in his development as he inches closer to the ultimate goal—a shot at championship glory.