Joel Casamayor Stops Lamont Pearson: Diego Corrales Not Impressed

07.07.06 - By Wray Edwards: First there was the ESPN Friday Night Fight between Joel and Lamont, then there was the verbal tag team match between Joel, Chico, Teddy, Joe and Louie DeCubas. The boxing match between Joel and Lamont was only slightly more entertaining than the post-fight verbal war. The main problem was that Lamont could not decide whether he wanted to box, or practice for the new Olympic sport of “Peek-a-boo backward running.”

joel casamayorPearson’s bi-polar ring persona which was a mix of about thirty percent offense and seventy percent cover-up, forced one of the consummate lightweight counter-punchers of the last decade to switch styles and come forward. It took El Cepillo about six rounds to get geared up to make a fight of it. From about the seventh round to the stoppage in the ninth, Casa continued to bore in more effectively with each passing moment.

There were one or two head clashes. The first put a small nick in Joel’s scalp but was not serious. For the first six rounds Lamont threw the more effective punches when he made his infrequent offensive efforts. It was interesting to watch Joel make the transition from the style which he used so effectively in his second fight with Chico at the Ledyard, as well as his wins over Daniel Seda and Antonio Ramirez, to the rundown he had to lay on Pearson.

I was ringside for Corrales, Seda, Castillo, and Ramirez. In each fight Joel displayed the classical discipline which he honed during his hundreds of amateur and professional matches. During this fight with Pearson it became obvious that Joel was not going to look especially good due to Lamont’s awkward style. Still, Casa displayed excellent footwork in relation to his balance and effective punching stance. He still has a habit of pulling straight back, which gets him tagged once or twice in every match, and brings that wide-eyed, surprised look to his face. It is a bit comical to me, and every time it happens he starts to roll out a little better and improves his head movement for awhile.

Once Joel’s offensive game was fully deployed and his superior conditioning gave him an edge Pearson was doomed. Pearson told the doc and the ref he was not able to continue as they examined the cut over his right eye. Few boxers who were otherwise willing and able to fight would have let a cut like that stop them. The Doc and the Ref surely would have let him continue, but Pearson realized he was beaten and was not interested in absorbing what was an increasingly damaging onslaught from Cepillo.

As Ring’s number one contender, Casamayor does have a point in challenging Chico to a rubber match. There are two main reasons that fighters will sign for a rubber match…money and personal pride. It was very interesting to see the plumped up Chico wax self-promoter as he trash-talked Joel and cooed “Bring me something to make it interesting.” Diego’s opinion that Casamayor is no challenge should be verified in the ring. He wants Joel to get a belt and then he’ll take a look. Fair enough.

Post fight, DeCubas (Joel’s manager) and Chico got into a shouting fest about rematch clauses and were still obviously stressed out about the split decision result of Casamayor/Corrales two. Tessitore had to pry them apart and attempted to restore order. Joel’s camp still harbors very hard feelings over the judging of that fight. It was close, but IMO Casamayor’s corner cut it too close and allowed partisanship to skew their assessments of who was winning the rounds. Spilt milk.

So what should Joel’s camp do to get Chico back in the ring with Casa? A belt would be good, but which one? Juan Diaz’ WBA strap would perhaps lure Diego back in range of Casamayor’s leather, but Joel is rated fifth in that sanction and IMO Juan Diaz is a protected fighter ever since he ducked Ebo Elder in Las Vegas. Better might be another meeting with WBO’s Acelino Frietas with whom he had a really close one four years ago. El Cepillo would certainly give Freitas a better scrap than Zahir did and the Freitas we saw ringside v Raheem would have his hands very full with today’s Casamayor.

Even if Corrales were to knock Joel clean out, or vice versa, it would bring a fitting conclusion to what has been a close and exciting boxing duet. At least the rubber match would be an actual rubber match. The potential trilogy between Diego and Castillo, which was irrevocably sullied and invalidated by Jose’s (IMO) deliberate overweight assault on Corrales in their second fight, is a lost cause. Everything possible was done to mess that one up. The second fight was held too soon. Media and money were allowed to cloud the judgment of Diego’s camp and it appeared that Castillo had absolutely no intention of making weight and was just interested in macho revenge…belt be damned.

In fact Diego Corrales could go a long way towards helping us all to forget the pall of disgust which Castillo’s behavior has cast over Chico’s recent career. Jose’s antics have detracted from what was one of the benchmark fights in the history of the sport, and spoiled the rhythm of Diego’s march to the HOF. Boxing ethics, nostalgia and many other factors would make this a really valid if not profitable encounter. Hey Chico!...don’t ever trust Castillo again.

Corrales trashing of El Cepillo overlooked the fact that styles make fights and who would look good trying to deal with Lamont? Casamayor, like many a boxer, has the ability to rise to the occasion and he would be “dangerous” when motivated by Chico in front of him one last time. See you at the fights.

Article posted on 08.07.2006

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