LOS ANGELES – A heartbroken Alexis Rocha said he was reduced to tears in the dressing room following his knockout loss to Giovani Santillan at the Kia Forum on Saturday night.

The betting favorite Rocha got bruised, bloodied, and broken down, eventually succumbing to Santillan by being knocked down three times en route to a six round stoppage win in their welterweight bout. 

“It's tough as hell. I'm going to carry myself with my head up high,” Rocha told BoxingScene.com and other media after the fight. “It's boxing. The highest of the highs and lowest of the lows. There's no excuses. He was the better man. I'll be back better, 100 percent. I can promise everyone that.”

Santillan (32-0, 17 KOs) was indeed the better fighter, engaging Rocha (23-2, 15 KOs) in a brutal slugfest that started off competitive but ended in a demolition job with two knockdowns in the fifth and a final one in the sixth. 

Rocha said failing to make the adjustments required to turn the tide ultimately led to his demise. 

Santillan forced a fierce firefight and outlanded Rocha 167 to 110 and threw a total of 367 total punches, which ended up being 93 more than Rocha.

“He had his gameplan, and I had mine, and I just wasn't following my gameplan to box more,” said Rocha. “He was a tough guy and didn't hit too hard but you don't want to be in wars like that. I was just in the pocket trading with him. That was my downfall. I should have boxed a lot more.” 

The 26-year-old southpaw Rocha lost for the first time since dropping a unanimous decision to Rashidi Ellis in 2020, snapping a seven-fight winning streak.

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.