Damien ‘Sugar’ Vasquez battling in the trenches with Alexis Santiago ahead of their Oct. 14 return dates in Glendale, Ariz. (Photo: Chris Robinson)
By Chris Robinson
It’s been a few years since I first crossed paths with Damien Vasquez.
Then just 16 years old, there was a special kind of underground buzz about Vasquez at the time, with some claiming that the young Colorado native was even going heads up in sparring at the time with seasoned professionals.
I was able to catch Vasquez ahead of his latest return date, as he could be found putting in eight spirited rounds of sparring with top-flight bantamweight prospect Alexis Santiago inside of the Bones Adams Boxing Gym in Las Vegas this past Wednesday afternoon.
Santiago is 25 years old and recently signed with Mayweather Promotions as he inches closer towards contender status in the bantmaweight division.
It was clear to tell that Vasquez was the slightly smaller guy in there and at just 18 years old he obviously has less experience on the pro stage. Santiago is 19-3-1 with 8 knockouts while Vasquez is 7-0 with 3 knockouts.
Santiago too has been progressing nicely and is ranked #6 in the WBO. His recent signing with Mayweather Promotions should jumpstart his career in several ways.
Still, it was pretty special to see Vasquez perform so well against Santiago. At the end of the day it’s just sparring, but the fast-paced work was a pleasure to watch and neither man felt the need to back down an inch when things got heated.
Both Santiago and Vasquez are now training under the watchful eye of respected Cuban trainer Ismael Salas, so it was a natural fit and could open the door to some future sessions.
Both fighters are set to appear on the Oct. 14 edition of “Premier Boxing Champions” in Glendale, Ariz. Check the action out on ESPN this Wednesday at 9 PM/ET and please click HERE to learn more about Damien’s cause.
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Chris Robinson can be reached at CRobinson@hustleboss.com