Jermell Charlo retained his WBC and IBF super welterweight titles despite the result not going the way he would have wished.
In an epic battle between two of boxing’s elite, Charlo and WBO counterpart Brian Castaño battled to a 12-round split decision draw.
One of the judges took the shine off the fight by scoring 117-111 to Charlo. Nelson Vazquez should hang his head in shame.
They fought in the main event of the action live on SHOWTIME from AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Both Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) and Castaño (17-0-2, 12 KOs) laid it all on the line in their quest to become the first-ever undisputed 154-pound champion in the four-belt era.
“Shout out to San Antonio for coming through. The win is what I wanted to hear,” said Charlo. “I won this fight. I hurt him way more than he did to me. Castaño is a real warrior. But my power is serious at this weight division.”
“I won the fight,” said Castaño. “There were some rounds that he did hit me, and he hit me hard. But I won this fight. I want to thank San Antonio.
“I want to thank SHOWTIME and Al Haymon for this fight. It was a great opportunity.”
Both champions flashed their power early on. Castaño was staggered by a counter left hook in the second.
“He returned the favor in the third, buckling Charlo with his own left hook toward the end of the frame.
Houston’s Charlo found success in the middle rounds by boxing and moving from the outside. Castaño was just as effective when he could maneuver Charlo toward the ropes and unload rapid-fire combinations.
The Argentine kept Charlo on the defensive for much of the ninth, focusing his attack on the body.
Immediately after that round, Charlo trainer, Derrick James implored his fighter to pick up the pace. Charlo responded with his best round in the 10th, bouncing off the ropes with a left hook that left Castaño on shaky legs for much of the stanza.
Charlo picked up where he left off in the penultimate round, landing more big shots on a tentative Castaño.
“My coach told me I needed the knockout in the ninth round, and I just knew he knew what he was talking about,” said Charlo.
“I trust my coach. This comes with boxing – wins, losses, and draws.”
“I was hurt in the 10th round, and I had to recoup,” said Castaño. “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.”
With the fight hanging in the balance, both fighters let their hands go in the final round. According to CompuBox, Charlo landed 151 of 533 (28.3%) punches in the fight to Castaño’s 173 of 586 (29.5%).
Castaño held a slight advantage in power punches, landing 164 of 400 (41%) to Charlo’s 98 of 246 (39.8%) while Charlo out-jabbed his opponent by a significant margin, landing 53 of 287 (18.5%) to Castaño’s nine out of 186 (4.8%).
After 12 rounds, the judge’s scores were split, with 117-111 for Charlo, 114-113 for Castaño, and 114-114 draw, ending the fight in a split-decision draw.
“He threw a hell of a lot of punches. My skills and my ability and my power – I felt like I won this fight, and I deserve to be going home undisputed,” said Charlo.
“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. Then get back to the drawing board and see what’s next. I want to be undisputed. That’s what I want. That’s my destiny.”