20 Years Ago: Mayweather-Castillo II; When Floyd Left No Doubt

12/07/2022 - By James Slater - Comments

To this day, you will have no trouble finding more than a few fans, experts, pundits who feel strongly that Floyd Mayweather’s perfect 50-0 record should actually read 49-1. The man these people say defeated the then “Pretty Boy” but was denied the victory due to some controversial scoring is Mexican warrior Jose Luis Castillo.

In April of 2002, Mayweather, carrying an injury to his left shoulder, was awarded a bitterly contested 12 round unanimous decision over Castillo. The scores were pretty wide at 116-111, 115-111 and 115-111 again, all for Mayweather, who took home Castillo’s WBC lightweight title. HBO’s unofficial fight scorer Harold Lederman had it 115-111 for Castillo, and he wasn’t the only one who felt “El Terrible’s” up close, rough and ready, constant pressuring style and approach earned the defending champ the win.

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But imagine how doubly controversial the decision win Mayweather was awarded with would be today had there not been a return fight! Mayweather, to his credit, gave Castillo an immediate rematch, this on December 7 of 2002. This time it was a different story.

Mayweather, his left shoulder fully healed, fought a different fight (Mayweather did show during his career that he was a boxer able to figure a guy out in a rematch, this after having struggled with him the first time round). It wasn’t as exciting as the first fight, yet Mayweather, who went in there vowing to “box more, no power shots, be smart,” didn’t care about the boos from the crowd. Mayweather jabbed effectively and his right leads served to keep the slower Castillo off-balance for long periods.

Castillo was frustrated, he was outboxed and he was outmanoeuvred. Castillo’s notable success in the first fight came when he was able to get Mayweather into something approaching a slugging match, this not Floyd’s game. The second time around, Mayweather fought smart as well as safe. It was actually closer on the cards this time, with Mayweather winning via scores of 116-113, 115-113 and 115-113 again, but Castillo had no arguments about his defeat.

“I never figured him out. I think he fought a more intelligent fight this time,” Castillo said post-fight. “I never felt I did anything this time.”

There was no need for a third fight. Mayweather had left no doubt this time; with Lederman agreeing, having the fight 115-113 for Mayweather.

In short, Mayweather did what the great ones do when they have a rough, tough, close and debatable fight with a rival – they give him a rematch opportunity and they beat him with no room left for doubt. In some ways, though it was no classic fight, Mayweather’s rematch win over Castillo ranks as one of his best wins. Certainly, the second win over Castillo ranks as one of Mayweather’s most important victories.