Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime
FIT TO BE TIED
After 12 satisfying rounds at the AT&T Center in San Antonio on Saturday night between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano, we got a wholly unsatisfying result. The fight which was contested for the undisputed junior middleweight title of the world, ended in a draw.
The result in question, is being heavily questioned and debated (especially the scorecard of one Nelson Vazquez, who inconceivably had Charlo up by the tally of 117-111, while Steve Weisfeld had Castano up 114-113, and Tim Cheatam had it a draw at 114 apiece.)
The consensus is that Castano should've had his hands raised in victory and added the WBC, WBA and IBF belts to his collection, alongside the WBO strap he carried into the ring this past weekend.
You could call him the (un)disputed king at 154. But quite frankly, it isn't quite the same.
“I won the fight,” said Castaño. “There were some rounds that he did hit me and he hit me hard. But I won this fight."
After getting buzzed by a Charlo left hook as he charged forward in round two, he quickly regained his bearings in the next round and began to steadily chip away at the favored fighter. But he did it with controlled, disciplined aggression from his squared up stance, where he would carefully trudge forward, push Charlo to the ropes, and then pick his spots to let his hands go.
While some would argue that Castano should've been more relentless in his attack, the Argentine simply couldn't afford to be reckless against the quick, hard-punching Charlo; who has had a knack of bailing himself out with well-placed shots that have turned fights around in a blink of an eye. Castano understood that he needed to be calculating in his pressure.
But to his credit, from the third to the ninth, it was Castano who controlled the action. It was difficult to find a clear round in this stretch for Charlo, who's offensive attack was muted. Going into the championship rounds, there was a distinct feeling that things were slipping away from him. Those thoughts were echoed by his trainer, Derrick James, who clearly told his charge that they needed a knockout as they came down the stretch run.
And in the 10th frame, it was Charlo who once again visibly hurt Castano with a counter left hand off the ropes, that had him on unsteady legs for a good minute-and-a-half.
“My coach told me I needed the knockout in the ninth round and I just knew he knew what he was talking about,” said Charlo. “I trust my coach. This comes with boxing – wins, losses and draws.”
Charlo had the superior power of the two in this contest. In many ways it's what kept him in the fight. And it's what kept Castano from really opening up at times -- the threat of that power. He also had the faster hands than Charlo, with the quicker trigger pull. But the reality is that for long stretches of this fight, he simply kept his gun in his holster for too long.
Some will argue that Charlo closed hard. Perhaps, but rounds 11 and 12 were fought on relatively even terms. While Charlo had two occasions where he stunned Castano, for large swaths of that bout he was ineffective. There was no official winner this past weekend.
But it felt like it should've been Castano's night.
So the question is now: will we get Charlo-Castano II?
During the live viewing of this bout, in which I posted my scores round-by-round on Twitter(@steveoralekim) I had a score of 114-114. I gave rounds 2, 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12 for Charlo. With Castano taking rounds 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9.
Upon a re-watch of that fight, rounds 5, 6 and 11 (all of which I gave to Charlo) are stanza's that could've easily been rounds for Castano, who carried the action in those innings.
There is a case that Charlo won five or six rounds. There's also a case that Castano may have won seven or eight.
This much is clear, the large majority of the viewing public believed Charlo was fortunate to walk away with the draw and his three belts.
Speaking of questionable verdicts, it seemed like Amilcar Vidal was lucky to get the nod over Emmanuel Aleem on the Showtime opener, in what was an entertaining 10 round scrap... I'll say this about Rolly Romero, nobody can unite Twitter the way he can when he fights. Everyone seems to hate him... OK, with Fury-Wilder III getting postponed, what in the world are we going to do next Saturday night?.... My email is firstname.lastname@example.org......