Casamayor Set To Resume His Career

08.11.07 - Matthew Hurley: When Joel Casamayor, 34-3-1 with 21 KOs steps into the ring on November 10th against Jose Armando Santa Cruz, 25-2 with 14 KOs he will do so with his former trainer Joe Goossen. Goossen has a unique bond with the fighter that goes back several years and culminated in Casamayor’s first fight with the late Diego Corrales. Casamayor won that bout, stopping Corrales in the sixth round and then fighter and trainer went their separate ways. And Goossen’s direction led him into the camp of Corrales..

When the two fighters met up again in their rematch Goossen helped guide Corrales to an extremely close and controversial split decision victory. Casamayor eventually gained revenge in November of 2006, winning the rubber match. He hasn’t fought since.

The initial breakup between the two was not acrimonious. It had more to do with location and family commitments on Goossen’s part. According to an article by ESPN’s Dan Rafael, Casamayor’s management team wanted Goossen to continue training Joel in Northern California rather than at Goossen’s own gym in Van Nuys, California.

“We split up after the first Corrales fight,” Casamayor says. “There was a problem with my management team. They basically wanted me to go train in a camp and Joe couldn’t leave his family. So it wasn’t an ugly break up between us. We never had a problem. And basically it came time where I had been off for a year and I needed a lot of hard work, a lot of hard sparring. And I cold only think of one guy who could get me back on track and that’s Joe Goossen.”

After defeating Corrales in their third fight for the World Boxing Council lightweight title, which only Casamayor could win because Corrales didn’t make weight, the fighter nicknamed “El Cepillo” (the brush) found himself in an odd predicament. When he hinted that he would like to unify the titles instead of fighting the mandatory challenger the WBC, in its infinite wisdom, stripped him of their belt. Casamayor hadn’t even signed a contract, merely mentioned his desire to be undisputed champion, but before he could even savor his championship it was taken away.

Left with no title and no prospective fight on the horizon he spent his year long layoff rethinking his career, finally signing with Golden Boy Promotions and getting back together with Joe Goossen. The WBC then, inexplicably, granted Casamayor “Interim” champion status – yet another bit of lunacy from President Jose Suliman. That “Interim” title will be on the line when Casamayor takes on Jose Armando Santa Cruz at Madison Square Garden in his Golden Boy Promotions debut this Saturday.

Regardless of the WBC’s questionable tactics Casamayor is seen by the majority of fans and media as the legitimate lightweight champion. However, current WBA, WBO and IBF titlist Juan Diaz is a legitimate threat to his supremacy. David Diaz currently holds the WBC title that Casamayor won in the ring.

According to Oscar De La Hoya the fight with Cruz is only the beginning for Casamayor, although it should be noted that the fighter is thirty-six years old. “Joel Casamayor is a brilliant boxer and one of the most underrated champions of the last twenty five years,” the boxer/promoter said after signing him. “We are honored to have him on our team and with his talent and our promotional ability, we will get Joel the big fights he deserves and let the world see just how good he is.”

Casamayor is also not one to downplay just how good he thinks he is. In a piece written by Jason Gonzalez regarding a potential fight with Juan Diaz, Casamayor is dismissive. “If I fought Juan Diaz, I would beat him easily. He is a baby and he would be easy work.”

And in regards to the fighter everyone is clamoring to fight he is equally derisive. “Manny Pacquiao is good but he isn’t on my skill level. At best he is mediocre. He has so many flaws that I could easily exploit. He’s an exciting fighter but he won’t sign to fight me. He never mentions my name when he talks about moving up to 135. I’ll go down to 130 to whoop him.”

This attitude certainly reveals the confidence he has in himself but it also hints to the one accusation often leveled at him and his fight style – that he is a dirty fighter. Head butts, low blows and elbows often work their way into his game plan. He was once quoted as saying, “Boxing is dirty, period. Do you call judges who rig fights dirty? Do you call fighters who take dives dirty? The day I’m not ready to be a dirty fighter is the day I don’t fight anymore because it will mean that I have no heart for it anymore.”

Fair enough. But it was those “dirty” tactics that resulted in two points being deducted from his score by the referee in his bout with Acelino Freitas which then became one of the three losses on his record. Still, with Joe Goosen back in his corner and Golden Boy Promotions guiding his ship the fighter sees nothing but good times ahead.

“I’m looking forward to winning more world titles over the next two or three years and then retiring. Santa Cruz will be a very tough opponent on November 3rd but I will emerge victorious and then go on to bigger things.”

Article posted on 09.11.2007

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