Forgotten Classics: Jose Luis Castillo vs Joel Casamayor

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By: Steve Gallegos

When it comes to boxing, Mexico and Puerto Rico have a huge rivarly and it has produced some memorable bouts over the years; however Mexico vs Cuba is an underrated rivarly and it produces some interesting matchups stylistically.

Mexico is known for their come forward, in your face style, while the Cubans are known for their slick, skillful defensive boxing. When the two styles collide, it can sometimes make for a very interesting, exciting chess-match. That was the case when lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo met up with the slick, defensive wizard Joel Casamayor.

In 2004, Jose Luis Castillo was at the top of his game. He was in his second reign as the WBC lightweight champion and Ring Magazine recognized him as the legitimate lightweight champion. Castillo mixed it up and had already defeated top notch fighters such as Stevie Johnston and Cesar Bazan. He went 24 rounds with Floyd Mayweather and gave him a run for his money in both fights, losing both by decision. The first fight with Mayweather was close and many thought Castillo deserved the decision.

After Mayweather vacated his lightweight title in 2004, Castillo regained the title by decisioning Juan Lazcano in convincing fashion. Joel Casamayor was at a bit of a crossroads in 2004. The former WBA super featherweight champion had been on somewhat of a rollercoaster ride for the last year. He went 2-1 in his last three bouts, including splitting bouts with Diego Corrales, in which the first fight was a sensational war. He began 2004 by losing a close, split decision to Corrales and he followed it up with decision win over Daniel Seda four months later.

Castillo and Casamayor met on 12/04/04 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for both the WBC lightweight title and the Ring Magazine lightweight title. Going into the bout, many questioned Casamayor’s style and his tendancy to be dirty at times. Castillo said that Casamayor wasn’t a dirty fighter and that he was rough inside the ring.

The first round was tactical as Casamayor stayed out of harms way and took advantage of Castillo’s habit of starting slowly. Casamayor dictated the tempo with his excellent movement and counter-punching. Rounds 2-6 were more of the same as Casamayor dictated the pace with his lateral movement and crisp counter-punching. While he wasn’t landing the hardest shot, they were racking up points. Castillo continued to come forward, putting on the pressure which made Casamayor use his legs more. In the 7th round, Castillo began to turn the tide by getting in some right hand shots that stopped Casamayor in his tracks. Castillo’s shots did have more pop on them and when they landed, they hurt Casamayor.

Castillo continued the pressure in the 8th as he was able to rough Casamayor up on the inside with shots to the body and head which caused Joel to grab and hold. Casamayor still got in some good shots; however they lacked the sting that they had in the previous rounds. The two fighters exchanged shots at the end of the round and they continued to fight after the bell, which caused both corners to come into the ring to have them separated. Roberto Duran, who was working Casamayor’s corner told him in between rounds to box him and not stand and fight.

In the ninth, both men would stand and trade shots, both having success. Casamayor had to dig a little deeper in this round and was able to land some some hard straight left hands which gave him the momentum. In the 10th, Casamayor would dominate the most of the round by giving Castillo angles while landing his counter-shots. Castillo continued pressing forward, applying pressure and in the last 15 seconds of the round, got in a good combination to the head and the body which hurt Casamayor, causing him to tie up. Castillo would dominate the 11th with his ongoing pressure. The fight appeared to be on the table going into the 12th and both fighter’s faces were busted up and swelled due to the hard shots exchanged. Castillo continued the pressure and was determined to close the show to retain his title. As the final seconds winded down both men traded shots wildly; however Castillo’s shots did the damage and the final bell sounded with Casamayor being rocked.

It was hard to determine who the winner was. Was Casamayor’s early dominance enough to secure a victory or was Castillo’s constant pressure and hard punching throughout the second half of the bout enough to retain his title. The end result would be a split decision win for Jose Luis Castillo in which two judges scored the bout 117-111 and 116-112 for Castillo and the third judge scored the bout 115-113 for Casamayor.

Castillo would begin 2005 with a 10th round TKO and then he would be involved in one of the best fights of the decade and all time with Diego Corrales in which he would drop Corrales twice in the 10th before being stopped towards the end of the round. Castillo would knockout Corrales in the rematch, however he wasn’t able to win back his title due to his inability to make the contracted weight of 135 lbs.

Castillo and Corrales were set to meet again in June, 2006, however Castillo again failed to make the weight, therefore the fight was scrapped. He would move up to Jr. Welterweight and would challenge Ricky Hatton for his world title, however he was stopped in four rounds by a body shot. He continued to fight on up until 2013 going 8-4 with 8 KO’s. He hasn’t fought since March of 2013 and he hasn’t officially announced his retirement. His record stands at 64-11-1 with 55 KO’s.

Joel Casamayor would get a third fight with Diego Corrales 22 months later and would win a split decision, winning the lineal lightweight title. He would defend that title twice before being stopped for the first time in his career by Juan Manuel Marquez in a pretty exciting fight. He would go 2-2 in his next four bouts, losing lopsidedly to both Robert Guerrero and Timothy Bradley. His record stands at 38-6-1 with 22 KO’s. While the Mexico-Cuban rivarly isn’t as big as the Mexican-Puerto Rican rivarly, it has provided some classics such as this one when Jose Luis Castillo and Joel Casamayor waged war in one of the lost gems of the early 2000’s.

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[ic_add_posts tag=’Forgotten-Classics’]

Warriors Boxing Congratulates Luis DeCubas On Induction Into Florida Boxing Hall of Fame

Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing wishes to congratulate his friend and business partner Luis DeCubas for being inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame over the weekend.

DeCubas, best-known for having promoted, and co-managed a long list of boxing greats, including Roberto Duran, Joel Casamayor and many other top Cuban fighters who escaped the island seeking freedom, was honored for his contributions to the State of Florida’s boxing scene, as well as the world.

“Luis has given his life to changing the lives of so many Cuban boxers and he deserves this great honor,” said Leon Margules. “The list of great fighters and fights he has worked with or on is endless. I am proud to call him a dear friend and business partner.”

DeCubas arrived in the United States in 1966 in Minneapolis when he was nine years old and has become one of boxing’s best-known advisors.

“It is very important to Luis that Cuban fighters who defect receive the opportunities he did in the US,” continued Margules. “I’m truly happy he has been recognized for his amazing contributions.”

Other living inductees for the Class of 2014 included former world champion Mike McCallum and top contenders Francisco Arreola and Jose Ribalta, trainer James “Buddy” McGirt, manager Fred Levin, promoters Walter Alvarez, and Felix “Tutico” Zabala, historian Don Cogswell, boxing writer Santos Perez, boxing official Paul Herman, participants Ed Levine, and Leo Thalassites.

Posthumous inductees included all-time-great Kid Gavilan, contenders Tony Alongi, Carl “Red” Guggino and James Salerno, trainers Jose Caron-Gonzalez and Moe Fleischer and boxing official Alvin Goodman.