Jose Luis Castillo pauses Father-Time; Glen Johnson clocks out

Jose Luis Castillo 63-11-1,(54)KO vs Ivan Popoca 15-1-1,(10)KO
10 Round Welterweight

2-Time Lightweight Champion and 22 year pro Jose Luis Castillo surprised many people when it was announced he was making a return.  His performance in the ring this night had remnants of the Castillo of old and was a good display of solid boxing skills developed and kept over time.

Popoca was coming off of his 1st loss and a KO loss at that so there were questions.  Its fair to say they had chosen the former champion in a gamble that he just didn’t have much left and Popoca would walk away rebounding from his previous disappointing encounter in the ring.

The action began early with Castillo landing a barrage of his signature left hooks that staggered Popoca.  The younger challenger showed little movement or elusiveness and paid for it yet made it through the 1st round.

Castillo entered round two cool and collect which clearly was attributed to his experience and the youngster couldn’t cope with it.  He took his time and found a spot for the left hook almost at will and it didn’t stop.

As the third round closed there was a clash of heads that only bloodied the canvas more than what it was.  Castillo looked like an old race horse with one last race left in the tank and Popoca’s face looked like Castillo had ran over it.  The young warriors character could not be questioned though as he stuck to his guns and traded with the veteran.

Popoca kept entering the pocket throwing some solid lefts hoping the older Castillo couldn’t handle it, however Castillo not only took them but demonstrated superior ring generalship in controlling the fight which prompted the referee to stop the fight after eight rounds and award Castillo a well deserved win.

The former champion had been coming in from a lengthy lay off from a TKO loss by Alfonso Gomez in March of 2010 and redeemed himself to show why his name is still relevant in the game.

Main Event:
Andrzej Fonfara 21-2,(12)KO vs Glen Johnson 51-16-2,(35)KO
10 Round Light Heavyweight Division

Former Light Heavyweight Champion and 2004 Fighter of the year Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson strapped the gloves on one more time in a gutsy attempt to position himself for a run at a world title shot by taking on a young and improving Andrzej Fonfara who posed some valid risks.

Both fighters started off establishing a strong lead jab.  Johnson lured Fonfara into an inside exchange and delivered the better of the shots through round two.  Fan favorite Fonfara who makes his hometown in Chicago had a large Polish audience supporting him from the entrance all the way through the end of the fight and he clearly fed off of it. 

During various moments Fonfara chose to stay at close quarters banging with the heavy handed veteran, rather than using his extensive height and reach advantage.  The crowd was standing for much of the fight as both fighters showed true grit in a back and forth battle throughout the fight.

As the later rounds came, the paced increased and it was Fonfara who began to find openings behind Johnson’s muffs.  The veteran stuck to his game plan of working his way to the inside and going to the body, however Father-Time limited the amount of actual damage he inflicted on his younger opponent and clearly showed his age was catching up to him.

Fonfara kept landing solid right hands around Johnson’s defense and staggered the ex-champion more than once.  Neither fighter was able to completely dominate the other but it was Fonfara who did enough work to rightfully pull the decision.

Johnson later announced off camera that he was hanging them up and announced his retirement.  He can do so proud of what he has accomplished this far.  Johnson displays a resume that hosts numerous top world class opponents and has built a reputation as a fighter who comes to leave it all in the ring.  His fan friendly still will be missed and is appreciated.  Best of luck champ.

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