At the age of 30, Francisco is an 11-year pro. A contender at 147 pounds, he has an aggressive, all-action style and is a fan favorite in Southern California.
He signed with manager Frank Espinoza in February, 2016.
Francisco has fought very good opposition since early in his career. Beginning in his ninth pro fight in March, 2008, five of of his next eight opponents were talented, undefeated prospects, and the other three were tough young veterans. It wasn’t all smooth sailing – Francisco was 4-3-1 in those fights. His last loss in that stretch was by eight-round unanimous decision against rising prospect Jermell Charlo – it was a very close fight that many observers thought Francisco deserved to win.
Francisco won 10 fights in a row after that which included one of his career-best wins – a 10-round unanimous decision against the heavily favored previously undefeated prospect Eddie Gomez on June 6, 2014.
In his last fight on April 22 in Carson, California, he lost a 10-round unanimous decision against Mahonri Montes.
Thesweetscience.com’s David A. Avila reported from ringside [excerpts]: Mahonri Montes knocked down Santa Barbara’s Francisco Santana, and that proved to be the difference in a split decision win that went 10 tightly contested rounds in the welterweight fight.
Santana was floored in the fifth round by a left hook that looked like a slip but it came after a punch and was counted. From that point on Santana changed the momentum and began pressuring the pressure fighter Montes but it was not enough to win the fight.
One judge scored it 97-92 for Santana, the other two saw it 96-94 and 95-94 for Montes. [End Avila item]
Francisco said, “I’m always in the gym, sparring a little bit, helping a few people out with sparring and training. I’m a gym-boy. I train at my coach’s gym, the KnuckleHeadz Gym in Ventura, California, and I go to the Wild Card for sparring.
“I always stay in shape. I’m not the kind of fighter that gets away and gets out of shape, then has to get back into it. I’m always pretty low on weight.
“I’m always learning different things. My style is that I can adapt to any kind of style. I feel that my style is unique. I don’t really like to imitate any other person’s style. I just like to do my thing – box, I can bang when I have to, fight on the inside, outside, do angles when I have to. So, I do a little bit of everything.”
“I never wanted soft touches when I started. I’m the kind of guy that never says ‘no’ to anything. Those were just the fights that they presented to me, and I just said, ‘yeah.’ I like to call myself a throw-back fighter – I’ll fight anybody, no picking and choosing. Back in the good old days, people would fight everybody, fight the best. When a fight comes up, I’m like, ‘Sure, why not?’ A fight is a fight. When you face adversity in a fight, you learn how to work around it and persevere.
“I think having those fights early on put me where I am today.”
“My friends call me ‘Chia’ – like a Chia Pet – ’cause of my wild hair. My hair just grows extremely fast all the time. Nobody in the boxing world knows me by my real name – they just know me as Chia.”