Gomez Defeat Surely Signals The End For Jose Luis Castillo

by James Slater -Former "Contender" star Alfonso Gomez, 22-4-2(11) ended the career of the man who may well have been the most exciting fighter of the 2000s when he stopped the late, great Arturo Gatti back in the summer of 2007, and this past Saturday, on the under-card of the Pacquiao-Clottey fight, the 29-year-old almost certainly ended the career of another sensational crowd-pleaser, in Jose Luis Castillo.

Forcing the way-past-his-best 36-year-old to remain on his stool at the end of the 5th-round in their all-Mexican showdown, Gomez conformed what we all pretty much knew anyway; Castillo is a shot fighter with nothing left to offer.. There is no conceivable way the burnt out warrior with the incredible 60-10-1(52) record will be able to convince even his most hardened fans that he is a fighter who is still worth watching. Anything's possible, and if Castillo does need money he may actually fight again, but his days as a credible fighter are now over and hopefully the man who gave us at least three classics when he was at or near his prime can find something else to do with his life.

Sure, it's not my place or anyone's place other than the fighter himself to decide when it's time for him to hang up the gloves, but after looking so faded and old against Gomez retirement is clearly the sole sensible option "El Terrible" has. And it shouldn't come as any wonder how the gutsy Mexican with the heart of a lion is feeling the effects of his long and at times brutally hard career at age 36. A pro since way back in 1990, Castillo, the quintessential Mexican fighter, faced a who's who of the lightweight division in the early to mid 2000s.

To this day, many good judges argue that Castillo beat the superb Floyd Mayweather Junior when they met for the first of two fights in 2002. And who could ever forget the first, epic battle Castillo had with the late Diego Corrales? Factor in Castillo's wars with the likes of Juan Lazcano and Julio Diaz, as well as his later fights with guys like Ricky Hatton and Sebastian Lujan, and it's no wonder the possible future Hall of Famer's tank is empty today!

Ever since what was arguably his last good showing - the 4th-round KO over "Chico" in their 2005 return fight - Castillo has looked less and less effective at doing what once came so naturally to him. In seeing him being made to quit on his stool against the relatively light-hitting Gomez, for what is the only time in his twenty-year pro career, it became obvious the final ring appearance had been made (or should have been made) by Castillo.

As will be the case with his one-time rival, Ricky Hatton, who is also strongly rumoured to be on the verge of announcing his retirement, Castillo will be missed by the fans. Yet there is just no way the Mexican warrior can turn the clock back, and that walk into the sunset is calling loudly. 2010 may mark the year two of the most popular and watchable lower-weight fighters were finally convinced to call it quits.

Article posted on 16.03.2010

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