Jorge Fernando Castro in the Hall?

16.04.07 - By Ted Sares: Colombian Jose Luis "La Pantera" Herrera, 14-2 coming in, met Jorge "Locomotora” Castro, 129-11-3 with 90 ko's at the time, at the Municipal Patinódromo in Buenos Aires on January 27, 2007. Castro was looking for redemption having been decked twice and tko'd by Herrera in 4 rounds in April 2006, only the second stoppage loss in his long career. What made the loss even more shocking was that Castro was coming off a solid tko win over Derrick Harmon. Of course, in between, he had recuperated from a serious motorcycle accident and this likely played a role in his defeat. Given his awful showing, many thought it was time for Castro to finally end his long and glorious career and considered it a wonder (if not one fraught with danger) that he would fight again. "La Pantera," younger and five inches taller than the aging Castro, was poised to duplicate matters and send  "Locomotora” out to pasture..
It was not to be. "Locomotora” redeemed himself in his rematch and then some, as he decked Herrera 4 times. Jose Louis also received a standing 8-count in the 2nd round before referee Luis Carlos Guzmán stepped in and called a halt to the slaughter at the 2.28 mark. “La Pantera” was one panther in the wrong place at the wrong time. Castro fought like a man possessed. All the more remarkable when you consider what he has gone though during his long career.
Thirteen years prior to his payback win (December 10, 1994 to be exact), Castro, who possessed heavy hands and was an outstanding counterpuncher, met tough John David Jackson for the WBA Middleweight Title at the Estadio de Beisbol in Monterrey, Mexico. The fight, named Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year, featured one of the most dramatic endings in ring history. Castro was trailing badly on all three scorecards (71-80, 73-80 and 74-79). One eye was closed and the other was half closed. He was bleeding and pinned against the ropes taking wicked shots and vicious combos. Referee Stanley Christodoulou positioned himself to stop this legal assault and battery. As he started to raise his hands to signal the end, Castro landed a hard right hand on Jackson's chin and John David went down. All of a sudden, instead of stopping the fight in Jackson's favor, Christodoulou began counting him out, but John David managed to get up. He suffered one more savage knockdown and "Locomotora” completed the comeback and retained his title with a decisive knockout in the ninth round.

Clearly, this had been one of the most amazing, if unlikeliest, turnarounds in boxing history. Shades of Hearns-Barkley...Castillo-Corrales….Graham Earl -Michael Katsidis….  At a press conference after the fight, Castro called his winning punch "La mano de Dios," (The hand of God). The ending to the fight became the stuff of Argentinean lore.

In 1998, proving the first win was no fluke, Castro would beat Jackson again, this time by a close UD. He decked John David twice in the fourth to secure the victory.

Then on June 18, 2005, Jorge was involved in a motorcycle accident in Buenos Aires in which he suffered a collapsed lung and broken ribs. Roberto Duran had almost been killed in a similar dramatic accident also in Argentina in 2001. The similarities of the two accidents are eerie. Both in Buenos Aires; both involving life threatening lung and rib injuries; both requiring emergency surgery. And both men had fought each other twice, once in Buenos Aires and once in Panama. Unlike Duran, Jorge Castro recuperated and was able to resume his career, and given the brutally redemptive manner in which he won his last fight, hopefully we can count on seeing him fight again.

“Locomotora” has been fighting as a pro for 20 years and won his first 40 professional fights, but few except aficionados know much about him, maybe because most of his fights have been in Argentina. Nonetheless, he has fought the very best during his long career. Indeed, he split a pair with Robert Duran beating him in 1997 and holds two wins each over Reggie Johnson (for the vacant WBA Middleweight Title) and John David Jackson (in 1994’s Ring Magazine Fight of the Year).

He also beat Peter Venancio (three times), Hector Hugo Vilte (52-11-3), Alex Ramos (39-8-2), Juan Carlos Gimenez Ferreyra (51-9-3), and Fabian Alberto Chancalay (43-6-1), Imamu Mayfield (21-3-1), Miguel Angel Arroyo (52-7-2), Lorenzo Luis Garcia (78-21-18) and many, many other tough customers. His losses were against such rugged foes as Shinji Takehara, Terry Norris, Vasily Jirov (a fight in which he came in overweight and fat), Paul Briggs, Juan Carlos Gomez and Roy Jones Jr. (by UD).
No stranger to championship belts and fights, he won the WBA Middleweight Title, the South American Cruiserweight Title, WBA Fedelatin Super Middleweight Title, the Argentine (FAB) Light Middleweight Title, and the South American Light Middleweight Title, As well, he battled for the WBC Cruiserweight Title, IBF Cruiserweight Title, and IBO Cruiserweight Title.

Like Hall of Famer Eder Jofre, 72-2-4 with 50 ko's, considered to be the best Brazilian boxer of all time....and arguably the greatest Bantamweight of all time, Castro has been flying under the radar screen far too long without getting his appropriate props. Many of Castro’s opponents have long since retired. Ramos now heads the Retired Boxers Foundation; Norris has been inducted into the Hall and Duran will go in this year; Takehara has retired as has John David Jackson. Jones and Jirov are still trying to recapture the magic. Yet Jorge fights on and wins.

Currently, he has a record of 130 wins, 11 losses and 3 draws. His 90 knockout wins rank him among the most prolific knockout winners in boxing history.

When his time comes for consideration, he should get a very close and, I submit, favorable look.

Article posted on 16.04.2007

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