Philly’s Milton “El Santo” Santiago beat Malik Hawkins in the amateurs in 2010. Hawkins lost for the first time in October after going 18-0. Santiago and his brothers put on many exhibitions before Milton’s father and trainer turned him professional.
In Milton’s pro debut at the age of 17 at the National Guard Armory in February of 2014 scoring a first round KO over Moses Molina. The future looked bright for him. Just two weeks later at Dover Downs he scored another first round KO over Christian Daniels. Just three weeks later he scored a decision win over William Lorenzo at Philly’s Sheet Metal Workers Hall. He was on a roll.
Just three weeks after that Santiago traveled to Vega Baja, Puerto Rico stopping Luis Ortiz Medina by KO in the first round in April. In May at the 2300 Arena in Philly he defeated Josh Beeman in his first 6 rounder. In June it was back to Bayamon, PR, defeating and putting into retirement Carlos Lopez, then 5-3, by decision.
In October at the Foxwoods Resort on the undercard of a world title Main Event Santiago and local boxers Paul Koon and Kyrone Davis all came back winners. Santiago defeated PR’s Arturo Santiago, 7-8-1, by decision winning all 4 rounds and scoring a knockdown.
In December Santiago ended his first year as a pro winning his eighth fight in ten months shutting out tough Travis Thompson, 7-11-3, over 4 rounds at Harrah’s Casino in Chester, PA. In February of 2015 marking his one year as a pro he traveled to Pittsburgh defeating PR’s Jose Valderrama, 4-8, over 6 rounds.
In April at the Valley Forge Casino he shut out New York’s Ray Velez, 3-6-1, over 6 rounds and back at Valley Forge in June defeating PR’s Jose Miguel Castro, 4-4, over 6 rounds. Then off to California, PA, in September along with Omar Douglas and Stephen Fulton all coming home victorious. Santiago defeated Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz Diaz, 8-3-1, over 6 shut out rounds.
In December Santiago ended the year at the Sands in Bethlehem, PA, winning a majority 8 rounder over Angel “Hit Man” Hernandez, 9-5-1, of Texas. Two fights before that Hernandez drew with Jesus Gutirrez, 13-0. It would be six months before returning to the ring back at the Sands defeating Ghana’s Osumanu Akaba, 32-10-1 who had 27 ko’s, over 8 rounds.
In August at the SugarHouse Casino in Philly Santiago defeated Dominican Ken Alvarez, 7-4-2, out of PR, over 8 rounds. In November with Javier Fortuna and Omar Douglas on top and unbeaten Danny “Swift” Garcia on the co-feature at Temple U’s Liacouras Center, Santiago defeated Argentina’s Claudio “El Tigre” Tapia, 28-26-4, over 8 rounds for his sixteenth straight win.
Suddenly the roof fell in when Santiago’s father came down with Cancer. Santiago stopped boxing until May of 2018, some eighteen months later he got a shut out six round win over Hondura’s Jorge “Chile” Munguia, 13-11, at the 2300 Arena in Philly. On top was Devin “The Dream” Haney and on the co-feature Joshua “Don’t Blink” Greer, Jr.
Santiago’s mother’s influence convinced him to give up boxing at the age of twenty-one do to not having his father no longer in the corner. None of the boxing people understood this but it was a family decision. It’s been two and a half years since his last bout but “what could have been” since for the then 17-0 (3), Santiago if he continued or at age twenty four certainly young enough to still come back?
In talking with one of his co-manager’s Eddie Woods this is what he had to say today: We went before the commission in PA to get to approval of a contract for Milton due to his young age of seventeen. We (co-manager Moz Gonzalez) spent thousands flying the father, mother and brother to Puerto Rico twice early in his career. We had him signed up with Al Haymon with him getting a bonus. The father was sick in the hospital and we helped out there, Moz (Gonzalez) and I. All of a sudden we were out. His son had one fight after leaving us against some nobody (Munguia) and asked me how his kid looked and I told him “not so good!” His father wanted all stiffs and that wasn’t the way you develop a fighter. I get a call about a month ago from the father who was in the hospital again telling me all I had done for them and how he should never had left us. I told him in a nice way “I’m out of the boxing business!”
Moz Gonzalez: His father was always late and I have a problem with that (this writer had the same problem with the father showing up an hour late for an interview as I was leaving and wanted me to interview him and I passed). The way I grew up was if you shook a man’s hand that was it. But you turn around and the same man had a knife in your back. It was hurtful when it happened. We had a good deal with Al Haymon. The son came to us after several fights and said he couldn’t stand his father and wanted “Bozy” Ennis the assistant. Eddie Woods fired the father. Haymon was moving us correctly. The mother would come to the fights crying sitting with their two other sons. Eventually the kid went back with his father. He started going backwards in his skills. His father was going to kidney dialysis and now back in with heart problems. I spent a lot of time and money and love boxing but all the slime people in boxing took its toll.