Alexis Rocha didn’t need to fight Giovanni Santillan. He was already ranked the number one contender in the WBO and simply needed to bide his time and wait patiently for a world title shot. That, of course, would’ve resulted in ring rust. With Terence Crawford holding every major trinket at 147 pounds, Rocha wanted to remain active.

After stopping two opponents dead in their tracks earlier this year, Rocha had several conclaves with his representatives and demanded another fight before the year came to a close. Immediately, they came to him with Giovanni Santillan.

He was undefeated and had an impressive track record, so Rocha wanted his scalp on his mantle. This past weekend in Inglewood, California, at the Kia Forum, Rocha did his best to keep the winning train alive. Santillan, however, saw the bright lights that he’s seldom afforded and took full advantage.

In short, Santillan pummeled his man. Rocha (23-2, 15 KOs) was outboxed, out-brawled, and flat-out outclassed en route to losing via sixth-round knockout.

Since turning pro in 2016, Rocha has fought the entirety of his career at 147 pounds. For nearly a decade, the highly-ranked contender did his best to knock off everyone that was placed before him. Outside of his setback against Rashidi Ellis in 2020, Rocha dominated. At no point did the 26-year-old ponder the idea of fighting in another weight class. His loss to Santillan, nevertheless, has Rocha thinking just a bit about his future.

Although he didn’t commit to any decisions just yet, Rocha did leave the door open on a possible move seven pounds south to compete in the super lightweight division.

“I feel myself fighting at 147,” Rocha told a group of reporters after his disappointing loss. “I always said I can probably make 140 but we’ll see in the future.”