Late-Surging Castillo Retains WBC Lightweight Crown

LAS VEGAS (Dec. 5, 2004) - Jose Luis Castillo took the last three rounds from Joel Casamayor on all three judges' scorecards to eke out a split decision Saturday on SHOWTIME. The defending WBC Lightweight Champion won the disputed nod by the scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 113-115. In the second world title fight on the telecast, undefeated IBF Super Middleweight Champion Jeff Lacy retained his belt with a hard-fought 12-round decision over the resilient Omar Sheika.. In the opening fight on SHOWTIME, unbeaten heavyweight contender Samuel Peter registered the biggest victory of his career with an impressive second-round knockout over Jeremy Williams.

Saturday's SHOWTIME telecast, which aired at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on West Coast) from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nev., was promoted by Top Rank, Inc. in association with Gary Shaw Productions, LLC and Cedric Kushner Promotions, LTD with Team Freedom and Duva Boxing.

Castillo (51-6-1, 45 KOs), of Sonora, Mexico, spotted the challenger the first two rounds before picking up the pace in the third. Still, Castillo needed the last three rounds to successfully defend his crown for the first time in his second stint as WBC 130-pound champion. There were no knockdowns in a hotly-contested bout that had the fans on their feet during the final nine minutes. Castillo captured the WBC lightweight crown for the second time with a 12-round unanimous decision over Juan Lazcano on June 5, 2004, in Las Vegas. Castillo initially won the WBC 135-pound world championship with a 12-round majority decision over Steve Johnston on June 17, 2000. Following three successful defenses, Castillo lost the title and a subsequent rematch to Floyd Mayweather in April and December of 2002.

Casamayor (31-3, 19 KOs), of Guantanamo, Cuba, had success boxing from the outside until faltering in the final nine minutes. Stepping up a notch in weight, the southpaw was quicker for the most part and landed his fair share of combinations. Casamayor won the WBA interim 130-pound crown with an easy decision over Antonio Hernandez on June 19, 1999. In his 21st start, he became the first U.S.-based Cuban defector to capture a world title when he won the WBA belt with a devastating fifth-round TKO over Jongkwon Baek on May 21, 2000. He made four successful defenses before suffering his first defeat on a controversial 12-round decision to Acelino Freitas Jan. 12, 2002, on SHOWTIME.

Article posted on 04.12.2004

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