Brian Castano still can’t understand how he wasn’t declared the winner of his 154-pound title fight against Erislandy Lara.
The unbeaten Argentinean contender settled for a split draw with Lara nearly two years ago because only one judge, Kevin Morgan, scored their 12-rounder for Castano (115-113). Another judge, John McKaie, credited Lara with winning seven rounds (115-113).
Judge Julie Lederman scored their back-and-forth encounter even (114-114) in March 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“Maybe I should’ve put a little more pressure on him, but I saw myself as the clear winner by two points,” Castano recalled during an interview with BoxingScene.com in advance of his fight against WBO junior middleweight champ Patrick Teixeira on Saturday night. “I’m convinced that I was the winner of that fight.”
CompuBox’s unofficial punch stats support Castano’s case.
According to CompuBox, Castano connected on 65 more punches overall (195-of-863 to 130-of-825). He had a huge edge in power punches (181-of-668 to 103-of-301), whereas Lara landed more jabs (27-of-524 to 14-of-195).
Castano (16-0-1, 12 KOs) agreed to an immediate rematch with Lara (27-3-3, 15 KOs), but it never materialized.
“I would’ve fought Lara again the next day or the next week,” Castano said. “That’s what I always wanted, the rematch. I think the fact that he survived that fight with a draw, they somehow rewarded him and he took another path against lesser opponents. I don’t think he wanted to fight me in a rematch.”
Sebastian Contursi, Castano’s manager, explained to BoxingScene.com that he thought that they had an agreement for a second fight with Lara just a few weeks after their first fight.
France’s Michel Soro, who was the mandatory challenger for Castano’s WBA world super welterweight title, had agreed to allow an immediate rematch as long as the winner would defend that championship against Soro in France in his following fight.
“All parties were in agreement at the time, including Michel Soro, because Soro was the mandatory,” Contursi said. “So, we had to request an exception from the WBA [to fight Lara again]. Everything was going well, until the point when something happened, which we still don’t know. Soro’s promoter changed lawyers in the middle of the process. They had already signed a waiver for the exception, and we were ready to fight Lara again. Everybody was on track.
“But all of a sudden, Soro’s promoter changed lawyers and they started arguing about a different path and the WBA never really responded to my emails from that point on. And then they put us into a corner, when they said we had to go to France to fight Soro again. But [Soro’s promoters] couldn’t really guarantee they were going to put the money in escrow. Because in the first fight between Brian and Soro, they took 10 months to complete the payment of Brian’s purse.”
The WBA subsequently stripped Castano of his title in June 2019. Lara won it two months later, when the Cuban southpaw knocked out obviously overmatched Ramon Alvarez in the second round of their August 2019 bout in Minneapolis.
Soro still has not fought for that title, despite that he is undefeated since Castano beat him by 12-round split decision in July 2017.
“Everybody in the business knows it would’ve been a great rematch on Showtime, with Brian and Lara,” Contursi said. “Everybody was interested, but I don’t really know what happened.”
Nevertheless, Castano can become a two-time junior middleweight champ if he beats Brazil’s Teixeira (31-1, 22 KOs) on Saturday night at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California (8 p.m. EST; 5 p.m. PST). DAZN will stream their fight as its co-feature before a main event in which Joseph Diaz Jr. (31-1, 15 KOs), of Downey, California, will make the first defense of his IBF junior lightweight title against Tajikistan’s Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12 KOs), the mandatory challenger for Diaz’s title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.