Casamayor Wins Impressively: "El Cepillo" Drops Katsidis Three Times En Route To Stoppage

By Phil Santos - - In an action packed, highly entertaining fight, Joel Casamayor defended the Ring Magazine Lightweight Championship against Michael Katsidis. Joel Casamayor came in as the champion and with a lot to prove. In his last fight against Jose Armando Santa Cruz he was the beneficiary of a gift decision in the eyes of most observers. He has been a part of many memorable battles but a combination of his age, long layoffs and numerous ring wars seemed to have taken their toll on ďEl Cepillo."

Michael Katsidis was regarded as the younger, stronger fighter whose pressure packed; power punching style could be the perfect foil for the apparently declining Casamayor.

It didnít take long for things to heat up as Casamayor snapped straight left hands into the grill of the on charging Katsidis. Twice in the 1st round the challenger had to lift himself off the canvas. Katsidis showed plenty of heart and weathered the early Casamayor barrage.

The Casamayorís southpaw stance was giving Katsidis fits. He continued to bury left hand counters momentarily pausing Katsidisís attack.

By the 3rd round Katsidis finally found success hammering Casamayor with body shots and well timed right hands. This was the most difficult round to score as Katsidis scored the harder punches but it was Casamayor who was the more technically sound and consistent.

Katsidis appeared to be wearing down the aging champion but Casamayor would not quit. They traded rounds with Katsidis winning the 4th and Casamayor taking the 5th on my scorecard. The exchanges were exhilarating with both men swinging for the fences. You had the sense that this fight could end at any moment.

That Katsidis was floored twice in the 1st was now becoming a distant memory as he took the fight to Casamayor. In the 6th Katsidis poured on the pressure and knocked Casamayor clean through the ropes with a combination that began with a body shot and was punctuated by a right hand. With the smell of blood n the air Katsidis went for the kill. The crafty Casamayor managed to survive the round but looked as though his confidence and stamina were beginning to abandon him.

They again exchanged rounds with Casamayor taking the 7th, bouncing back nicely after the knockdown, and Katsidis winning the 8th. As the 9th round began the fight was very much up for grabs but the momentum seemed to favor Katsidis. After multiple warnings given to both fighters a point was deducted from Casamayor for a low blow. For some fighters the point deduction could have been a reason to go into the tank however it seemed to light a fire under Casamayor. He rallied to win the 9th on my card and appeared to have found his second wind.

In round 10 Katsidis continued to walk down the champion with Casamayor firing off stiff counters to try and discourage him. Just then it happened. Katsidis charged in shooting a right hand at Casamayor and the champ responded with a thumping left hook that crumpled Katsidis to the canvas. Katsidis beat the count but was visibly shaken. Casamayor jumped on the wounded challenger and referee Jon Schrole stopped the fight.

Casamayor has reestablished himself as a worthy champion and erased much of the doubt and criticism that his less than stellar performance against Santa Cruz had earned him.

Article posted on 23.03.2008

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