By Mark Elezaj
AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas – In a undisputed bout for the IBF, WBC, WBO and WBA junior middleweight titles, Jermell Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) and Brian Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs) went to war for twelve hard rounds, and the title fight end in a split draw.
The scores were 114-113 for Castano, 117-111 for Charlo, and 114-114.
The Fighting Voice had it 114-113 for Castano
The title fight marked the first time all four titles at 154-pound were on the line with Charlo keeping the WBC, WBA and IBF belts and Castano retaining the WBO belt as a result.
The fight started off slow with both men feeling each other out. Castano began to open up, attacking Charlo with more punches in the second. Charlo would begin to work off of his jab as Castano would try to close the distance and work his way in.
Charlo landed a counter left hook that buzzed Castano and followed through with a series of hard punches, but Castano was able to weather the storm and fight back.
The pace slowed down in the third. Charlo was working off of his jab, keeping Castano at bay, but Castano was able to land two hooks on Charlo at the end of the round that rock Charlo.
In the fourth, Castano continued to be the aggressor, pressing the action while letting his hands go.
In the fifth round, Charlo continued to work off of his jab, boxing from the outside and keeping Castano away.
Both warriors felt that they won the bout, Charlo because he almost knocked Castano down in the second round and Castano felt he won because he controlled the tempo during the middle rounds.
“I do believe I won the fight, I don’t believe it was that close,” said Charlo, with his twin brother, middleweight champion Jermall, nearby at the post-fight news conference. “I should be undisputed right now.”
More of the same action in the sixth round before both men started trading punches. Charlo, who was doing his best to stay off the ropes while throwing punches to Castano’s head and body as he landed a series of punches in the final seconds of the round.
In the seventh and eighth rounds, Castano jumped on Charlo, landing big shots that had Charlos back on the ropes. Castano continued to be the aggressor in the eight round, coming forward and landing the cleaner shots. Charlo tried to counter but was unable to land most of his shots.
The ninth round started off with Castano pressing the action and throwing shots to back Charlo up.
Round ten, Charlo caught Castano with a good counter that hurt him. He jumped on the injured fighter and continued to land big shots that hurt Castano throughout the round.
Round eleven, Charlo came out and continued to attack while working off of his jab. Castano, who seemed to still be hurt from the prior round, began to trade with Charlo.
Round Twelve, Charlo was throwing his jab and followed with hard shots while Castano, working behind a high guard, tried to close the distance and attack while working his way in. Both fighters began to trade punches near the ropes in the final minute of the round.
“A draw isn’t what I wanted to hear,” said Charlo. “I won this fight. I hurt him a lot more. My power is serious. I had him in trouble in the second and 10th rounds.
“This is my first time experiencing something like this. This comes with boxing – wins, losses and draws.”
“He threw a hell of a lot of punches,” Charlo said. “My skills and my ability and my power – I felt like I won this fight and I deserve to be going home undisputed. I am glad to have fought for undisputed. It’s different. I still hold my titles. I can’t wait to get home to my babies, take a break from boxing and then get back to the drawing board and see what’s next.”
Charlo added: “I will take a rematch. I don’t know when, but I would love to get back in there with him.”
Charlo moved to 34-1 with one drawn and 18 knockouts while Castano is now 17-0 with two drawn and 12 knockouts.
“I won the fight. There were some rounds that he hit me hard, but I won the fight,” Castano said of his simple but effective game plan.”
“I was hurt in the 10th round and I had to recoup,” Castano said. “Same with the beginning of the 11th round. But I did enough to win this fight. I hope I get the rematch. He is a great fighter. I need the rematch.”
~ The Fighting Voice ~