PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — Milt Santiago would walk around William Tennent High School the last two years and there were more than a few times when someone asked where the bruises and cuts on his face came from.
Teachers would approach and query, “What happened?” Then, Santiago would explain—he’s a professional boxer. Even more impressive is Santiago is 11-0, with 3 knockouts, and he started his pro career when he was a junior in high school. The 18-year old’s boxing arc received a nice jolt Saturday night at the Valley Forge Casino when he survived a flash second-round knockdown—the first of his career—and came back to easily win a six-round decision over Puerto Rico’s Jose Miguel Castro (4-5, 2 KOs). Santiago was the best fighter on the nine-fight card.
He showed great poise, ring generalship, and a boxing acumen well beyond his years. That comes from having over 200 amateur fights. He has a bright future ahead—and with it he could be the next generation of elite fighters to come from Philadelphia, joining future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins and 140-pound champ Danny Garcia.
“This is my 11th pro fight and you figure I would learn something after getting knocked down the first time, and I mean ever, not even as an amateur,” Santiago said. “I don’t think I even got knocked down. I thought I slipped. But I didn’t panic. I knew what I did wrong and I corrected it and finished off the last four rounds. I know where I am. I’m only 18 and I have a lot of years ahead of me. I know I can improve—I want to get better.”