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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Charlo-Castano)

Charlo-Castano action. Photo from Showtime
19
Jul

CHARLO VS. CASTANO

Hi Dougie,

Hope you are well and enjoyed the cracking fight we got on Saturday night! 12 rounds of proper toe to toe action and some brilliant boxing. Yet more proof of why this sport needs more fights when the best fight the best. Undisputed fight or not, the rematch does not need selling!

Onto the result, I personally scored the fight narrowly for Castaño but I had no real issue with the draw. It was a close fight with plenty of swing rounds. That being said the 117-111 score was disgraceful, and that judge needs to either be removed from scoring fights or made to explain that score to a panel. In few other disciplines would such gross incompetence go unpunished.

Shamefully I have to admit Saturday night was the 1st time I’ve watched Jermell fight live. I wasn’t particularly impressed by his skillset.

For someone the media talks about as a potential top 10 p4p fighter, he didn’t look all that great to me and I thought Castaño had the superior craft, but Jermell’s power was his equaliser that kept him in the fight.

What were your thoughts on the action? – Tommy, Leeds

I thought the action was world class but not elite level. That’s OK. Even two club fighters can make for a tremendous fight if they’re evenly matched with contrasting styles, as we had with Charlo (the mobile boxer-puncher) and Castano (the aggressive stalker-technician). I thought their styles and ring mentalities meshed well and produced a hotly contested 12 rounds of undisputed championship boxing. Like you and many others, I thought Castano was the more consistent boxer and got a little more done than Charlo in slight majority of rounds. The still-unbeaten Argentine won seven rounds on my unofficial scorecard (watching from TV, not press row).

I thought Charlo closed very well. He needed a big round after the ninth and he found it in Round 10. I think he needed to keep the heat on Castano in Rounds 11 and 12, and failed to do so, but he still boxed well enough and had enough moments to edge both rounds and make for a legitimately close fight in my view. However, NEITHER junior middleweight looked like a world-beater to me. NEITHER has been dominant enough or accomplished enough to displace the likes of Juan Francisco Estrada, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Kazuto Ioka (Nos. 8, 9 and 10 in The Ring’s Pound-for-Pound Rankings). And I don’t care what petty biased fans or nationalistic U.S. boxing pundits think of that opinion.

I’m a big fan of both Charlos, but I think all the pound-for-pound talk (usually brought up by suck-up fans and scrub media in weak efforts to ingratiate themselves with the twins) is a distraction. It reminds me of when Mike Coppinger (congrats to him on the ESPN.com gig, by the way) tacked the twins at the bottom of his personal P4P list when he was doing a gig for Fox Sports prior to the Charlos’ Christmastime doubleheader vs. Tony Harrison and Matt Korobov a few years ago. One can argue that Mell deserved the nod vs. Harrison and that Mall did well vs. Korobov considering the Russian was a late replacement, but neither twin had the look of an elite boxer that night. I’m not saying that either lacks pound-for-pound potential but they have to fight the right fights and deliver the best performances on a fairly consistent basis to displace who’s in the mythical top 10 right now.  

Cracking fight we got on Saturday night! 12 rounds of proper toe to toe action and some brilliant boxing. Yet more proof of why this sport needs more fights when the best fight the best. Indeed. I think we’ve been treated to this more than a few times this year and I hope the sport can keep it up in as many weight classes as possible. The only thing we need more than the best fighting the best, is the best officials (judges in particular) working the best fights.

I personally scored the fight narrowly for Castaño but I had no real issue with the draw. Same here. Seeing that some fans scored the fight for Charlo is a bit head-scratching, but that’s boxing.

It was a close fight with plenty of swing rounds. True. I scored Round 5 for Charlo but could see it going to Castano. I scored Round 6 for Castano and could see it going the other way. I scored Round 11 for Charlo but almost scored it for Castano.

That being said the 117-111 score was disgraceful, and that judge needs to either be removed from scoring fights or made to explain that score to a panel. I’ll be shocked if the Texas commission even bothers to have him explain his scoring. There’s no way they’ll suspend him.

In few other disciplines would such gross incompetence go unpunished. In boxing it seems like the incompetent ones get rewarded with more prime gigs (as long as their “incompetence” supports the star or house fighter).

Shamefully I have to admit Saturday night was the 1st time I’ve watched Jermell fight live. You’ve missed out. Jermell, who had the reputation of being an overly cautious boxer early in his career, has been must-see TV since taking on Derrick James as his head trainer.

I wasn’t particularly impressed by his skillset. He’s very talented and passionate, but far from perfect. I’m OK with that. I like talented-but-flawed hotheads. Terry Norris, another fiery and athletic boxer-puncher from Texas, was my favorite fighter of the early 1990s. Norris was a more fluid and versatile boxer than Charlo, but he didn’t have Jermell’s chin (or size).

 

QUESTIONABLE DECISION

Hi Doug,

Hope all is well with you and yours.

I was lucky enough to be at the Charlo-Castano Undisputed Match in person. What a great effort down the stretch by both men but I was really impressed by Castano’s smart pressure throughout the fight. I could tell that Charlo was trying to time and counter Castano in the early rounds but he knew he truly couldn’t without leaving himself exposed to a return counter by Castano.

I didn’t score the fight live and I’m currently rewatching the match again on my DVR to see if I’m seeing a different fight from TV vs Live in Person. While in the AT&T Center, and before the scorecards were read, I had the fight being a split decision edging towards Castano. How did you see the fight? Hope we can have this fight run back again if they don’t have to satisfy their mandatory requirements. It really was that good if you love the sweet science portion of Boxing. – Eli

I thought it was a dramatic, compelling, and entertaining showdown. It’s what we expect to see in the prize ring when all the marbles are on the line.

My hunch is that we will see them share the ring again, but both might have to satisfy mandatory title defenses first.

I scored it seven rounds to five (115-113) for Castano. I’m glad you got to witness the undisputed championship live. I’m also glad that you were able to appreciate Castano’s “smart pressure.” I told my readers in the Monday Mailbag (and my followers on Twitter all week long) that Castano is not a one-dimensional pressure fighter. He had the pedigree, amateur background, pro experience, character, smarts, durability and style to provide Charlo with a legitimate challenge. And he lived up to his billing as a “live dog.” I was surprised to see as many fans predicting Castano to get sparked early in the fight as I did on my Twitter TL.   

Oh well, if they didn’t have a grip on who he is prior to the fight, they do now. I expect the Ring Ratings Panel to unanimously vote Castano from his current No. 3 junior middleweight ranking to No. 1. He’s got the resume for it: Charlo and Lara (both draws that he arguably won), plus victories over Michel Soro and Patrick Teixeira.

 

UNBIASED FROM ARGENTINA

Greetings Doug,

I hope you are doing great. I’m a longtime reader, and this is my first time writing to the mailbag.

I wanted to get your thoughts on the Castaño-Charlo fight. I’m from Argentina, so I will do my best not to be biased.

I scored it 115-113 for Castaño, so I’m not mad about the draw, and I do not think the end result was a steal, as many are saying. How did you score it? I’m especially curious to know about how you scored rounds 4-6 and 12 (which were the hardest for me).

I could see the fight going anywhere from 116-112 Castaño to 115-113 Charlo, but I think 117-111 for Charlo is crazy. This leads me to the question: what do judges prioritize when scoring even rounds? Do they have some sort of guidelines? For example, is damage more important than accuracy and ring generalship?

The fight was entertaining, and it seemed to me that Charlo had a really hard time figuring Castaño out, specially after he was wobbled in round 3. The sensation for me was that he looked like he had prepared for a different fight, almost uncomfortable, not letting his hands go until he connected Castaño in round 10.

This speaks highly of Castaño’s game plan and his ability to apply it and maintain focus throughout the fight, which I think made the difference for him, and allowed him to dominate the middle rounds up until round 9.

And also kudos to his physical conditioning and mentality to survive round 10 and the first minute of round 11. He was visibly hurt, and he showed great heart.

How possible is the rematch? I know I want one, but I also know there are other mandatories for them.

And who’s stock do you think was raised the most after this fight, and if the rematch were not to happen, who do you see them fighting next?

Before saying goodbye, I wanted to share some mythical matchups:

Sergio Martínez (prime, 2010/2011) – Jermell Charlo at 154

Sergio Martínez (prime, 2010/2011) – Braian Castaño at 154

Sergio Martínez (prime, 2010/2011) – Canelo Álvarez at 160

Love the mailbag, all the best! – Agustin

Thank you for the kind words and thanks for finally sharing your thoughts with the Mailbag.

I’ll take the prime 154-pound Maravilla over Mell and Castano by close UD or MD. I think Alvarez wins a close, maybe controversial UD over the 160-pound version of Martinez thanks to one or two knockdowns. But it would be a tremendous fight. All of them would be. Martinez generally made for fun fights. He was great guy, too. All class. I’m glad he used to train in Oxnard, California, and that I got a chance to watch him train and spar on several occasions. I miss that dude and his team.  

I’m from Argentina, so I will do my best not to be biased. Don’t sweat it, Agustin. There’s plenty of American fans who aren’t worried at all about being biased in favor of Charlo (and one Puerto Rican judge, come to think of it).

I scored it 115-113 for Castaño, so I’m not mad about the draw, and I do not think the end result was a steal, as many are saying. How did you score it? Just like you. It seems like 115-113 for Castano is the most common scorecard among fans and media.

I’m especially curious to know about how you scored rounds 4-6 and 12 (which were the hardest for me). I scored Rounds 4 and 6 for Castano; Rounds 5 and 12 for Charlo. They were very competitive rounds.

I could see the fight going anywhere from 116-112 Castaño to 115-113 Charlo, but I think 117-111 for Charlo is crazy. I agree. It marred a very good fight, and potentially pushed away any casual fans who tuned in, which is a tragedy.

This leads me to the question: what do judges prioritize when scoring even rounds? It depends on what they value. Some value making the lead promoter/power brokers happy above anything that actually happens in the ring.

Do they have some sort of guidelines? They’re supposed to. Clean punching and effective aggression should be the main things they’re looking for.

For example, is damage more important than accuracy and ring generalship? If it’s the result of legal punches, yes. But accurate punches count (and obviously fall under the category of “clean punching”) and often do damage. Charlo’s accurate punching does “damage,” as did Castano’s best shots. Ring generalship and defense should come after effective punching and aggression, but that’s not always the case in high-profile prize fights.

The fight was entertaining, and it seemed to me that Charlo had a really hard time figuring Castaño out, especially after he was wobbled in round 3. From Round 4 through nine, I only scored Round 5 for Charlo (and that one was very close). He wasn’t busy enough and wasn’t able to land the right shots to sting Castano (as he had done in Round 2) and he wasn’t able to keep your countryman from walking him back to the ropes where he was often caught in a barrage.

The sensation for me was that he looked like he had prepared for a different fight, almost uncomfortable, not letting his hands go until he connected Castaño in round 10. He was getting outworked, which isn’t unprecedented, but he was also getting outmuscled and stunned in spots, which is rare for him. Castano put hands on Charlo and the unified champ wasn’t sure what to make of it. I think Derrick James did a good job of keeping it real with him between rounds and cracked the whip at the right time. Charlo needed those last three rounds to keep his Ring championship and sanctioning body belts.

This speaks highly of Castaño’s game plan and his ability to apply it and maintain focus throughout the fight, which I think made the difference for him, and allowed him to dominate the middle rounds up until round 9. As I stated in the Friday Mailbag, Castano is an example of the “Iceman” in boxing. He stays calm and focused (even though he’s an aggressive fighter). He doesn’t get rattled or discouraged when he’s frustrated or hurt. And as I noted in Monday’s Mailbag, he’s got real craft when it comes to closing distance without taking too munch punishment. He’s very good at blocking punches with that high guard of his.

And also kudos to his physical conditioning and mentality to survive round 10 and the first minute of round 11. He was visibly hurt, and he showed great heart. None of that surprised me, just as Charlo’s ability to turn the tide of the fight after dropping so many rounds was to be expected. These two junior middleweights earned their places atop the 154-pound division and their experience and resolve was on display on Saturday.

How possible is the rematch? I know I want one, but I also know there are other mandatories for them. A rematch if very possible, but I’d be surprised if it happened immediately.

And who’s stock do you think was raised the most after this fight, and if the rematch were not to happen, who do you see them fighting next? Castano’s stock was definitely raised more than Charlo’s, which may have dropped a bit. What’s next if they don’t do an immediate rematch? I think Charlo’s got an IBF or WBA mandatory due. Who knows who’s up to bat with the WBA’s “regular” and “gold” beltholders, as well as their No. 1 contender (Israil Madrimov)? The IBF’s No. 1 is Bakhram Murtazaliev, an undefeated but relatively untested Russian who trains in Southern California. I can see Team Charlo going for Murtazaliev. I can also see Castano being lured to Australia (and a very big purse) to face his WBO mandatory, Tim Tszyu, which is a very dangerous fight for your compatriot.

 

DARING TO BE GREAT

Dougie,

Hope all is well with you and your family. I know we all miss the mail bags, but certainly appreciate that they take time that you can’t possibly always have.

The first question pertaining to Jermell Charlo vs Brian Castano is, is it enough just signing to fight for the Undisputed Championship? I ask, because I found the fight pretty frustrating from a couple points.

First, Jermell Charlo: I don’t care about what you think of the scoring or him personally, no one who knows boxing could have watched that fight last night without thinking it could have been a very easy night for him. Every time he pushed forward with his jab Castano had no answer, but instead he chose to put himself on the ropes and look for a counter that might end the night early.  Instead of a flashy KO, he ends up with a Draw and probably more than a few people thinking it was a hometown gift. Do you think he’s a lazy fighter or is he just too in love with his power? For a guy who wants P4P recognition, do you think this approach will ever win over the panel?

Brian Castano: He proved he was a solid fighter and definitely proved he could take a punch, but he certainly didn’t seem to understand how the scoring system worked, especially when the crowd is for the other guy. I didn’t score the fight, but I thought most the early rounds were close (2 and 3 being the exceptions), so I don’t see how Castano and his corner could feel safe going to the cards. Should he have sold out (fought like he needed the last round) or do you think he was too damaged at that point?

Judges and Commentators: 117 to 111. Was this an outrageous score? Do you ever get the feeling judges even the score out when things are close, but others stick to what they prefer stylistically? I definitely do on both counts. The funny thing for me is I usually favor the fighter who’s coming forward, but that wasn’t the case last night. While I didn’t score the fight, I actually felt that Castano was fairly ineffective in his aggression and despite being frustrated by Jermell, I did think his jab was getting through. Do you think the commentators make mountains out of mole hills? Is that their job, do you think it generates interest or creates more angst?

Did either of these fighters truly dare to be great? Is there any reason to think a rematch will be better? If it wasn’t for THE title at 154, would you want to see it?

Thanks for reading and your continued work. – Scott

Thank YOU for reading and sharing and for understanding when I don’t have time to post a mailbag.

Did Charlo and/or Castano dare to be great? No, probably not. They didn’t fight THAT type of win-or-die-trying battle. This wasn’t Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez (rematch and rubbermatch at 122 pounds) or my man Chocolatito vs. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (first fight) or Juan Estrada (rematch). It wasn’t Corrales-Castillo I, OK? But it was a damn good fight and it was for all the marbles at 154 pounds. So, I’ll give both junior middleweights their props for daring to be the BEST in their division. There’s honor in that.

Could the rematch be better? Yeah, it could be if both fight with more urgency, which is possible. I can see it being more one-sided – either way – as well, depending on who makes the right adjustments. Both could improve on what they put forth on Saturday. Charlo could have worked the body and uppercuts more whenever Castano got in close and he could have done a better job of staying off the ropes. Castano could have worked his jab and feints more as he cut off the ring.

And, YES, I would want to see this matchup again even if all the 154-pound belts were not on the line. It’s a good style contrast/mash-up and they seem to be on the same level.

I found the fight pretty frustrating from a couple points. Lighten up, Scotty, it was a good fight.

First, Jermell Charlo: I don’t care about what you think of the scoring or him personally, no one who knows boxing could have watched that fight last night without thinking it could have been a very easy night for him. Those who thought it was going to be an easy night or could have been an easy night if he did one or two things better or differently are not giving Castano enough credit for his boxing ability. If Charlo could have simply walked Castano down he would have. That’s how he’s wired. If he knows he can spark his opponent without getting zapped in return, he goes for it.

Every time he pushed forward with his jab Castano had no answer, but instead he chose to put himself on the ropes and look for a counter that might end the night early. Charlo did not “choose” to go to the ropes, Castano walked him there. However, Charlo could have spun out sooner than he did on several occasions.

Instead of a flashy KO, he ends up with a Draw and probably more than a few people thinking it was a hometown gift. “More than a few”? LOL. Are you on social media?

Do you think he’s a lazy fighter or is he just too in love with his power? He’s not a lazy fighter but he may have fallen in love with his power a little bit.

For a guy who wants P4P recognition, do you think this approach will ever win over the panel? It hasn’t done so yet.

Brian Castano: He proved he was a solid fighter and definitely proved he could take a punch, but he certainly didn’t seem to understand how the scoring system worked, especially when the crowd is for the other guy. He seemed to win over much of the crowd by the end of the fight. He did that by giving his all. It wasn’t enough in the eyes of two of the official judges, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand the scoring system. He may have won the fight with the same performance with a different set of judges.   

I didn’t score the fight, but I thought most the early rounds were close (2 and 3 being the exceptions), so I don’t see how Castano and his corner could feel safe going to the cards. What makes you think they felt “safe”?

Should he have sold out (fought like he needed the last round) or do you think he was too damaged at that point? He was damaged AND tired, as was Charlo, by the championship rounds.

Judges and Commentators: 117 to 111. Was this an outrageous score? It wasn’t a good score, Scott. Was it as egregious as Adalaide Byrd’s 118-110 tally for Canelo in the first GGG bout? No. But it’s close. It’s in the neighborhood. And that’s a bad neighborhood.

Do you ever get the feeling judges even the score out when things are close, but others stick to what they prefer stylistically? I definitely do on both counts. Yes, on both counts (and, no offense, but I’m glad you’re not a professional judge).

I usually favor the fighter who’s coming forward, but that wasn’t the case last night. While I didn’t score the fight, I actually felt that Castano was fairly ineffective in his aggression and despite being frustrated by Jermell, I did think his jab was getting through. His jab got through in spots, but a lot of Charlo’s punches (including some that were counted by CompuBox) were blocked by Castano, and I don’t think his jab was enough to offset or outscore the hard body punches, left hooks and right crosses that Castano landed while pressing forward (or when Charlo was on the ropes).

Do you think the commentators make mountains out of mole hills? Yes.

Is that their job, do you think it generates interest or creates more angst? It shouldn’t be their job. Their job should be to call the damn fight, however, I know that some producers and directors want more than that, which can create some interest among casual boxing fans but it generally creates angst among the hardcore sect.

 

INCOMPETENCE OR CORRUPTION

Hi Doug,

I hope you are well.

Another day, another incomprehensible scorecard stealing the limelight from what was otherwise a great fight.

I am finding it harder and harder to believe that it’s just pure incompetence behind these scorecards. These scorecards just seem to appear inexplicably, from nowhere, to miraculously rescue A-side fighters when they are on the cusp of losing a fight that they are expected to win. It’s just too convenient and too frequent, to be poor judges, doing a poor job.

The frequency of these scorecards, and the fact that they are never returned against the perceived A-side, suggests that there’s an incentive for those judges who return them. What else can we reasonably believe other than it’s simple corruption? Whether that’s cash in someone’s back pocket, ‘corporate hospitality’, untraceable crypto deposits, or good old fashioned hookers and coke, is anybody’s guess.

What are your thoughts on the question of incompetence vs corruption? Our sport is crying out for an independent body to address these matters and rectify them. Will we ever see this?

To simply offer a rematch somewhere down the line doesn’t represent justice. It just represents two bites at the Apple for the fight favourite who fell short the first time around. It sucks that a fighter can put themselves through hell to come up with the performance of their life, that should cover them in glory, just to have it rubbed out by the incompetence or corruption that is not being addressed in the sport. Cheers. – Jaded Fan

I’ll make this short because I know I’ll be talking about this particular issue again before the end of the year, probably before the end of summer. I can’t call Nelson Vazquez’s scorecard corrupt because I have no proof that it was preordained or “paid for,” so I have to call it incompetence. (And having said that, I should point out that there are fans, like our friend Scott from the previous email, who don’t think – or don’t know – that 117-111 for Charlo is out of line.)

But I’ll add this: Vazquez and all the judges are paid by the promoter. If they have to travel from out of town or state or country to get to the event, their travel and their lodging is covered by the promoter. Their payment comes from the promoter. This is a bad look when the judge pulls a Vazquez or a Byrd. It’s not a good look even when they get it right.

Bottom line: Promoters should not pay for the judges. The commissions should pay the judges and cover their travel. And if the commissions lack the funds to do so, I believe the networks that showcase mid-level to world-class boxing should step in to cover these costs.

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s or Doug’s IG Live every Sunday.

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