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Brian Castano: “I was robbed” against Erislandy Lara

Erislandy Lara

By Mike Smith: WBA ‘regular’ junior middleweight champion Brian Carlos Castano (15-0-1, 11 KOs) believes he was robbed by the judges last Saturday night in his fight against Erislandy Lara (25-3-3, 15 KOs) with their 12 round draw in front of 7,329 fans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. There’s already talk of a rematch between the two fighters. Just when that’ll be is unclear.

The former Cuban amateur talent Lara fought well early on when he was able to keep Castano at range, jabbing him, and not allowing him to get close. Castano started to have success by the second round with him bull rushing Lara, and hitting him with with shots to the head and body. Lara tried to clinch frequently, but Castano was having none of it, as he was able to force his way free to continue to work. Lara wanted the pace of the fight to be slow.

The way the direction of the fight was going by the fourth, it looked as if victory was assured for Castano. He was outworking the older Lara, and wearing him down with his activity. Castano was dominating Lara through the first six rounds with his pressure and high work rate. If the fight had continued in this way, Castano would have won an easy decision. Lara was trapped against the ropes frequently, and forced to take shots. Although the southpaw Lara blocked many of them, he was still hit a lot, and outworked.

Lara came on strong in the 8th round in taking the fight to Canelo, and hitting him with nice left hands. It appeared that Lara was taking over the fight. Castano had to give ground from the forward pressure that Lara was putting on him. Castano still was able to connect with a lot of combinations as Lara came forward to make the rounds close, and hard to score.

With the fight in the balance in the championship rounds, Castano went after Lara hard with body shots and nice punches to the head in the 11th and 12th rounds. Castano had Lara trapped against the ropes frequently, and he was able to get his shots off to dominate.

“If he wants the rematch, I’ll give him the rematch,” Castano said after the contest. “I waited for him. Anyway, I can wait for him again if he wants the rematch. I would [give] him the rematch if he wants. I can also go ahead and fight any other champion that wants to fight me. I’m ready for whoever they put in front of me. Hurd or anyone else.”

Lara said after the fight that he’d be willing to fight Castano or Hurd again. He doesn’t care which of the two he faces. If push comes to shove, Lara would likely prefer to fight Hurd again, as he’s the bigger name, and he holds the real WBA 154 lb title. Castano has the secondary WBA junior middleweight belt, and that one isn’t see as in as high regard as the WBA Super World belt.

The fight proved that Castano could compete with a highly talented Lara, and fight him to a virtual standstill. Castano looked a little bit better, which shows what kind of fighter he is. You still can’t say Castano is the best fighter in the 154 lb weight class, as would still have to prove himself against Jarrett Hurd, Tony Harrison, Jaime Munguia and Jermell Charlo before he could be called the #1 fighter in the junior middleweight division.

This was a fight in which Castano, a virtual unknown to the U.S boxing public, was counting on winning over the American fans with a nice win over the 35-year-old Lara on SHOWTIME. Instead of getting the win, however, Castano had to settle for a draw, which keeps him right at the same spot he was in going into the fight. The good news is Castano is still a world champion in holding his WBA ‘regular’ 154 lb title as he was going into the contest. but in the negative sense, Castano failed to get the victory, and that’s going to keep him from gaining much from the fight. Castano fought well enough to deserve the victory. Indeed, that’s what a lot of boxing fans were saying last Saturday night on social media. They felt Castano did enough to get the win.

The judges handed in these scores: 115-113 Castano, 115-113 Lara, and 114-114. Boxing News 24 had the fight a clear win for Brian Carlos Castano at 8 rounds to 4 last night. It was hard to figure out why the judges scored the fight the way they did. They felt that Castano come on strong in the last part of the fight. However, Castano also fought very well in the first half of the fight, which is when the judges gave Lara most of his rounds. Lara appeared to fight better in the middle portion of the contest.

“It was a good fight, a good clash of styles,” Castano. “I know I won the fight. I feel I was robbed. He’s an elusive boxer. I knew that. I prepared for that. I think it was a good fight, but I won. I know I won. I landed more punches.”

Using a blitzing attack, Castano took the fight to Lara in each round, staying on top of him, and burying his shots into his midsection and mixing them upstairs to the head. Lara was able to land some shots occasionally as Castano was burrowing inside, but mostly was missing due to the head movement he was using. Lara’s power was a little bit better, but he was missing a great deal.

Castano was in a tough situation where he was fighting a former long-time world champion that the judges, and the U.S boxing fans were well familiar with. It’s not all that shocking that the Argentinean Castano came up short in the fight. He landed more shots than Lara, pressed the action continuously, and looked like the better fighter of the two. Being the new kid on the block, Castano didn’t get the nod from the judges unfortunately. Never the less, Castano did get noticed by the fans, both casual and hardcore boxing fans, and they’ll be looking out for him for the next time he fights on American television, which for his sake, should happen soon.

Lara naturally thought he had won the fight as well, but it was hard to agree with him given how he was being outworked in every round of the fight by Castano. The only thing you could say about Lara is he landed some nice shots despite being outworked by a wide margin.

“It was a great fight, but I saw myself winning eight rounds tonight,” Lara said. “My punches were much more effective. He did have pressure, but I was dominating the pressure. I was definitely expecting that pressure because he waited a long time for this fight. Again, I demonstrated I’m not old. I’m still fine-tuned.”

This was easily the biggest fight of the former Argentinean amateur star Castano’s seven-year pro career.

Castano threw 863 punches for a 23 percent connect percentage with 195 landing, according to CompuBox. Erislandy landed 16% of his shots in connecting on 120 of 825 punches. The 825 shots was the highest punch total of Lara’s career. Before last night, the highest punch output for Lara was the 609 punches he threw against Delvin Rodriguez four years ago in June 2015.

It looked Castano was the one that was dominating with the pressure. Lara was just trying to move away, hold and be evasive. It wasn’t a situation where Lara was on the attack. It was the other way around for the full 12 rounds.

The 12 round draw is a big let down for Lara, who needed a win over Castano to come back from his 12 round split decision defeat at the hands of Jarrett Hurd last year in April. Although was a slight improvement for Lara from the performance he put in against Hurd last year, it wasn’t enough of a boost in his efforts for him to get a victory. Lara could have just as well lost this fight too, and it seems pretty he’s lost a step from the fighter he once was.

Lara’s boxing ability is still quite exceptional, but he’s not been able to get away from his last two opponents like he might have years ago. Hurd and Castano would have been trouble for Lara from the first fight of his career. Lara piled up a lot of wins early on in his career against weaker opposition. When Lara did fight tougher guys like Carlos Molina, Alfredo Angulo, Saul Canelo Alvarez and Vanes Martirosyan, he struggled. Lara tried his best to evade Castano, but he couldn’t stay away the way he needed to.

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