Sharkie’s Machine: Castillo Beats Casamayor

By Frank Gonzalez Jr. - photo: Tom Casino/Showtime: Jose Luis Castillo (51-6-1-45 KO’s) got the job done Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas against the slick and always-dangerous southpaw, Joel Casamayor (31-3-0-19 KO’s).

Casamayor, the former Super Featherweight Champion who moved up to Lightweight has shown in recent bouts that he is not just a highly skilled technical fighter but at times, he can muster up surprising power. Moving up to 135-pounds and taking on one of the best in the division says a lot about his confidence. Casamayor has added ring legend Roberto Duran into his ever-changing training camp this time up.

This fight was a classic match up of the Matador vs. Bull. Early on in the fight, Casamayor was able to outbox Castillo and control the tempo. Castillo had a hard time finding Casamayor in the first three rounds and Casamayor’s superior boxing skills rendered Castillo ineffective. Joel was able to score some good shots and easily win the first quarter of the fight.

By the fourth round, things changed. Castillo was starting to step up the pressure and cut off the ring. Casamayor, the matador, was losing control over the bull and took to holding more often then punching. In that process, Castillo discover the tool he needed to win—attacking the body from inside the clinches. You had to pay very careful attention to notice how effectively Castillo was in the clinches. It was not flashy but it was effective.

Outside of his grit, power and heart, there isn’t anything particularly special about Castillo’s style of fighting. He comes straight at you tirelessly, always throwing punches. A slick defensive fighter with respectable offense can figure him out and beat him with elusiveness and counter punching as Floyd Mayweather Jr. did in 2002. But Castillo is the reigning WBC Champion in the 135-pound division for a reason…because he knows how to win. In this fight, Castillo always aimed his hooks at the body
before going upstairs and it was paying dividends. Little by little, Castillo was putting rounds in the bank in a fight that initially looked like he was going to lose.

As is customary in any Joel Casamayor fight, there were some moments of roughhousing that forced referee to work up a good sweat in trying to keep things clean. Casamayor threw a few low blows, had a few forearms to the neck, and would often push Castillo’s head down with his hands during clinches. There were plenty of warnings but no points deducted. But whatever Joel did, Castillo always kept coming forward, punching and landing enough shots to take rounds four through eight.

In the ninth round, they traded in the center ring and Casamayor scored the better shots. Boxing from the outside proved effective for Joel and he won the ninth by executing better ring generalship. Casamayor started well in the beginning of the tenth, landing the cleaner punches but Castillo took over midway into the round and won the last three rounds on my card by
outworking and outscoring Casamayor with effective aggression.

The Judges scores were:Carol Castellano – 115-113 for Casamayor.
Dr. Jen Kin – 116-112 for Castillo.
Dave Moretti – 117-111 for Castillo.

Sharkie’s Machine scored it 117-112 for Castillo.

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Joel Casamayor is a very good fighter who has come up short against his biggest opponents. He lost a decision to Acelino Freitas, split fights with Diego Corrales, losing the last one by decision and now he’s lost to Jose Luis Castillo. Where does he go from here?

There are a few guys he probably beats at Lightweight, like Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz, who’s still sort of ‘green’ even though he owns a Title. A rematch with Freitas is probably never going to happen if it hasn’t by now. There’s no reason for Corrales to fight him again so where does he go from here? I’d like to see him fight Julio Diaz or Juan Lazcano, two top guys in the division.

Congratulations to Jose Luis Castillo, who retained his Title against a quality opponent. What’s next for Castillo? He has fought 58 professional fights now and retirement can’t be too far away. He can continue to take on whatever mandatory challengers at Lightweight or he can move up to 140 and try to fight the man he said he wants to fight, the cream of the Jr.
Welterweight crop—Kostya Tszyu. That sounds mighty ambitious. All I can say is I wish him the best of luck.

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Article posted on 05.12.2004

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