by James Slater: A Mexican warrior of the highest order during his lightweight prime, it looks as though the end has come for Jose Luis Castillo. Moving up to welterweight because neither 135 or even 140-pounds were realistic weights anymore, Castillo’s 147-pound debut did not go as planned..
Fighting the tough Argentine Sebastian Lujan last night in California, the 34-year-old former great was well beaten over ten rounds. The scores were as follows, 99-91, 99-91 and 98-92 – all for the 28-year-old Lujan. Castillo fell to 56-9-1(48). His conqueror improved to 30-5-2(20). Hit plenty throughout the bout, Castillo was simply overwhelmed by a fresher, younger fighter. The Mexican legend tried his best, but he simply does not have it anymore. And who is really surprised? After engaging in some of the most brutal and draining wars seen in the modern day history of the lightweight division, Castillo has the right to be feeling it all today.
It was always going to be a tough struggle for the former two-time WBC lightweight champion to make it as a welterweight. But with no other choice since he could not make a lower weight any longer, Castillo gave it a shot. His attempt to come again as a welterweight having failed, it seems the only sensible option for the man from Mexicali to take is one of retirement. After having given his all since his pro debut way back in May of 1990, Castillo has earned it.
Facing the best consistently through his 66-bout career, “El Terrible” met a who’s who of fellow greats. Who can forget Castillo’s classic encounters with Stevie Johnston (Ring magazine’s Upset of the year award winner for 2000), Juan Lazcano, Julio Diaz and Joel Casamayor? Castillo won those fights, but he is arguably best known for the sublime fights he lost. The first fight with the late Diego Corrales was, as anyone who saw it knows, (and there cannot be many fight fans who have not by now) one of the greatest fights of all-time. Losing after “Chico” somehow found the energy for one last assault in the 10th round of the bout that took place in Las Vegas three years ago, Castillo won the return by 4th round KO five months later.
Two other fights Castillo lost were his two meetings with Floyd Mayweather Junior. But here too, the Mexican hard man won much praise. Indeed, to this day many people feel the March 2002 bout Castillo and Mayweather had was won by Castillo. The two met again, with “Pretty Boy” being taken the full 12 rounds a second time. Never has Mayweather been pushed so hard as he was in fight one though.
In more recent years the effects of the wars he’d fought began to show visibly on Castillo. Two light-welterweight fights on from his over-the-weight KO over Corrales, Castillo met Ricky Hatton. Crushed in the 4th round by a single body shot, the end could have come there. In need of money, however, the veteran version of Castillo refused to retire. One more win followed, before last night’s failed welterweight invasion.
With nothing more to give – and nothing required to confirm his greatness – it is to be hoped Jose follows the advice he will surely hear from anyone who cares about him .