SALEM – The result was never in doubt.
Lawrence heavyweight Alexis Santos dominated veteran Marlon Hayes from start to finish, sending him to the mat for a final time just 1:14 into the fourth round with a flurry of rights and lefts before the referee put an end to the fight, moving Santos to 10-0 with nine knockouts in his young and promising career.
In his closest fight to his hometown since turning pro, Santos was greeted with a crowd reaction that made the building rumble. When he dropped Hayes in the fourth round, the roof nearly blew off the joint.
“I couldn’t hear anything but the people chanting, it was the best feeling,” Santos said.
A hulking figure, Santos was against a fighter in Hayes who seemed more interested in boxing with his mouth than his fists. Hayes could be seen not only chirping at Santos — a big mistake given the result — but also egging on his hometown fans. He incessantly waved his hands, pointing at the back of his head and complaining to the official about what he perceived as illegal shots.
“He kept grabbing on to me,” Santos said. “I think he knew what he was doing, he’s a veteran fighter and he was trying to take me off my game but I just needed to stay focused.”
When Santos stepped between the ropes, it was the first time he was able to even get a glimpse at his opponent. Hayes skipped Thursdays weigh-ins.
“I didn’t look at any film and (yesterday) was the first time I even saw him,” Santos said.
“I was always more worried about what I had to do. We talked going in about just sticking to the game plan and fighting the way we wanted to fight, so that’s all I was focused on. It didn’t matter who it was, we had a game plan.”