Casamayor-Castillo: The Road Back - Day 2

10.17.04 - By Wray Edwards: On December 4th Joel Casamayor is scheduled to box Jose Louis Castillo, 30, for the WBC Lightweight Championship. Last July third Joel “El Cepillo” Casamayor, now 33, took on Daniel Seda as a first step back up in his career after his split decision loss to Diego Corrales in March of this year. The match with Seda, which went the distance, turned out to be a rust preventer and warm-up to what might lie ahead. Joel trained in Vero Beach with by Buddy McGirt for that event.

This bout will, however, be a very different ball of wax. Joel and his management team have decided to make the move to 135. Casamayor will be trained by John David Jackson at a California Camp in the mountains near the Pacific Coast.

El Cepillo at 5’7” is just one inch shorter than Castillo. The statistic which really catches the eye here is the number of fights and KO percentages. Joel whose record is 33-2-0 (19) averaging a KO percentage around 60%, will face a boxer with an impressive record of 50-6-1 (45) who has averaged 90% in that department (78% overall).

Castillo’s two most recent losses, which both went the distance, were to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in April and December of 2002 with Verdell Smith being the meat in the sandwich at 40-64-2 on August 8. After his last bout with Floyd, Jose took on some really beefy Welterweight exercise fighting Gustavo Corral (8-4-2), Saul Duran (34-9-2) and Derrick Parks (14-1-2). This might be looked at as the fight equivalent of wearing heavy gloves in training as he elected to face some bigger opponents in the ring.

Castillo, from Sonora, Mexico, then fought Juan Lazcano for the vacant WBC Lightweight Title. This bout went the distance as the hardy Lazcano battled Jose as well as the debilitating effects of a respiratory infection he contracted in the days just before the fight.

Casamayor’s conditioning and readiness for the Seda bout in Miami appeared to be about 80% of his full potential. ESB sitting at the apron noted that he seemed self conscious during the contest. This writer does not consider that to be a good sign. Nailing the other guy should take absolute precedence over merely looking good for the judges or fans. He will need much more than that to effectively confront the hard-hitting Castillo. Joel’s decision to move so quickly to a career-defining event, might reflect his realization of advancing age which is often more at issue in the lower weight classes.

Officials at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas have told ESB that they are still in negotiations with media to select a carrier of the event. Insiders with the Casamayor camp have stated that major details still have to be finalized before the Las Vegas venue is a lock. The Ledyard Center in Connecticut has also been mentioned in the competition for the event. Of course Showtime is possibly in the mix. Mandalay Bay executives also revealed that they are negotiating a big boxing weekend with De La Hoya’s “The Next Great Champ” production as a tie-in event on Friday night December 3rd. No undercard has been announced yet.

Casamayor’s manager Louis DeCubas has just arrived in Los Angeles on his way to participate in Joel’s training for this benchmark fight in El Cepillo’s career. This move by Casamayor shows a considerable amount of courage and motivation. Perhaps he’s hot on Diego Corrales’ heels, not content to let him escape up to lightweight and avoid their often discussed and elusive rubber match. Should Joel prevail against Castillo, it’s not impossible that he will go looking for Chico with another belt in hand. Casamayor certainly deserves this shot, but he will have to train to a career best to make it happen.

Watch this space for the latest developments as negotiations and commitments for this match will be inked in the next few days.

Article posted on 17.10.2004

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