Written by Tré Berry III | 07/18/2021
The fight was a thriller that brewed the tension from a slow, methodical start, and erupted in the middle rounds once the power was felt by both boxers, and them being able to hurt each other. After 🇦🇷Brian Carlos Castaño (17-0-2, 12KO) feverishly worked, and brought 🇺🇸Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (34-1-1, 18KO) to the ropes, to take advantage of him, particularly in sequences when his back was touching those ropes in the middle rounds, Charlo came roaring back down the stretch, hurting Castaño multiple times late, but wasn’t able to put his lights out, but did just enough to even the cards after 12 rounds, thus this fight being ruled a draw.
Sadly about the draw verdict – this was a fight that all-but promised that an Undisputed World Champion, with all 5 of the major title belts draped across the upper body, would be featured in a mega-bout like this, but a fight that we here at Project Combat expected to be close, was about as close as you could get with a draw verdict. Technically, this will go down as Charlo’s first defense of his Ring-Magazine World Title, since he didn’t lose that, or his WBA/WBC/IBF Title belts. Castaño in terms of the alphabet title picture recorded his first defense of his WBO title. The fight was a very good one, and hopefully they could run it back. Here is the full fight breakdown, and particulars of what transpired yesterday.
THE JERMELL CHARLO VS BRIAN CARLOS CASTAÑO FULL FIGHT BREAKDOWN
The first round was a cautiously fought one, with Charlo staying on the backfoot, circling, getting a gauge of Castaño’s movements, while the Argentinian came forward often, and methodically went about his approach, getting some decent body work in. The second round carried a bit of a different tune, as Castaño stepped up his work-rate, and while at the ropes, fired off a right hand, but Jermell countered him with a massive left hook that hurt Castaño, and went full throttle looking to stop him. Eventually Charlo let up, but Castaño was still gun-shy from the effects of the punch.
Castaño despite feeling the brute force of the vaunted Charlo punch power, continued to press forward, and slide step with Charlo to make the ring small, to where Jermell’s back kept touching the ropes. There is where Castaño fired off a left hook that stunned Charlo. Following it up with more return fire, Brian landed a much nastier left hook to the jaw that made Jermell go halfway down to the mat before regaining his legs, nearly tasting the canvas.
He was in big trouble there as Castaño wailed away with power, and the very vulnerable World Champion Charlo (at this particular time) was fortunate to hear the bell, to signify the end of a very eventful 3rd round for the WBO Champ. Round 4 featured a Charlo who was heavily weary of the power that he felt a round before, and fought largely defensively, as Castaño continued to walk him down, effectively cut the ring off, and punish the Houston fighter at his desired pace.
The tide of the fight had shifted big time by this point, as Jermell largely took off portions of the round trying to preserve himself and fully regain his cognition, by staying on the backfoot and constantly circling out of range. Mell made a pointed emphasis suggested by Head-Trainer Derrick James, to keep Castaño in the center of the ring, and stay off the ropes, where Castaño showcased having a significant advantage, being able to get in low, and get active.
From that standpoint, Charlo did so effectively, however he wasn’t able to implement his jab properly, due to Castaño’s superb use of the high-guard positioning to take his chief weapon away. Round 6 was more of a Charlo round, and was interesting to see both fighters reverse roles (both are capable of switching up), with Charlo now being the aggressor, and Castaño taking up the role as the outside, fleet footed boxer.
Charlo, though had an increase in success, however he still had trouble finding open lanes to fire, and often he didn’t let his hands go, seeing no open targets, while Castaño was able to pick and choose his spots, and follow up in combination. In the 7th frame, Jermell did well in the first half of the round, but Castaño, with steady use of the counter right hand, was able to control the rest of the round in large portions, seemingly having an answer for every pocket of success that Charlo was having in spurts during the round.
Round 8 was a carbon-copy of the second half of the previous stanza, and the Argentinian fighter appeared to hold full command of the real estate inside the ring, and dictated the pace of the bout. His combination punching in closed quarters often befuddled the tough-minded Houston fighter, and his jab (which is one of the best in boxing) wasn’t keeping Brian at bay due to his success rate in picking it off with his forearms.
It continued to go further downhill for the Champion of the World in the Super-Welterweight division (let’s not lose sight here, that was Charlo coming in), as round 9, you could feel the fight slipping away from Jermell, but for some reason, he wasn’t turning up the tempo the way he needed to, despite obvious moments that he wasn’t able to outbox his multi-faceted miniature opponent.
Round 10, Jermell did apparently get that message across in his head, and he stepped up his sense of urgency, looking to land the boom – which he did quite a few times. A short cross, hook combination made Castaño do the salsa dance, as it took away all of his coordination, as he wobbled backwards, hurt badly from the shots, and Charlo shot out of a cannon looking to chase him down with manevolent, vicious power.
Castaño tried, and tried multiple times to shake the cobwebs off, but he was damaged down to his boots, and as Charlo tried to finish him off, Castaño played keep away, using ALL of the ring to evade the danger, as he was close to being on the verge of getting knocked out. Charlo caught him with a few clean shots the remainder of the round, but fortunately for Castaño, he was able to survive the onslaught there.
Round 11, championship heart was shown by both men, especially Castaño, because Charlo was able to bust through his cagey defense with a prolonged, powerful combination that sent Castaño spiraling back off his back foot, into the ropes, as Charlo went and emptied the entire toolkit with one thing in mind – get him outta there.
Too bad that Jermell was able to hurt him once again with only 16 seconds left in the round, so two rounds in a row he did serious damage, but wasn’t able to take him out…BUT, those two rounds in a row made the consensus general scoring razor close, which of course set up an all-or-nothing final round, with all on the line.
Derrick James informed his fighter passionately that he needed to go get the knockout, perhaps feeling they were were either too far behind on the cards, or that the fight was too close to take any chances, and imploring his power-punching pupil to close the show and erase all doubt in the air. The 12th round was a great one, and although Charlo didn’t effectively sell out to throw all caution to the wind to get the KO like his Trainer wanted to, he had a very precise round, and was often first, landing the significant blows, enough to win the round. Castaño poured out what he had left, and it was amazing to see him actually get to the finish line, to hear the final bell, given what he had to endure in the last 3 rounds.
You want to talk about serious doubt in the air You could cut the tension with a knife in the AT&T Center in San Antonio, sort of a neighboring base for Jermell Charlo’s hometown of Houston, Texas, and with the angst palpable in the building, the overarching feeling was that they too knew that the fight was uncomfortably close, too close to definitely feel that their Champion would undoubtedly win on the scorecards – almost an acknowledgement knowing that Brian Castaño proved to be on Jermell Charlo’s level, step-by-step, and in lockstep.
I don’t know when this became popular, but it comes off weird to me to hear “Split-Decision” when they are rendering a draw verdict. Though technically it does make sense, it doesn’t resonate with me. When I hear Split-Decision, I tend to think that someone will be walking home the winner. With one scorecard going to Castaño, a WIDE score going to Charlo (which was pathetic, we will point that Judge out later in this breakdown), and the final judge having it squared up as dead even, the battle for Undisputed was not…..as it hit a snag.
For an analogy, if the fighters were the car, and the belts were the tires, then a draw verdict in an unifying Undisputed match is like the engine blowing out, so in other words, they were left where they started, and both retained their belts. Charlo would continue to hold his moniker as the Champion of the Super-Welterweight division, while Castaño was able to hold on to his WBO burgundy strap, perhaps feeling like he may have done enough to where he could have walked away with everything…but the fight was tight, and in terms of scoring, it is ultimately your call as to whom you felt the victor was.
Here were the official punch stats of the night, which seemed to accurately reflect the tone of the fight. We will also post the Official Scorecards, and bring attention to the errant one, while he will also present our scoring of how we had it here at Project Combat.
THE COLD HARD TRUTH Unfortunately, when it comes to EVERY high profile fight lately, or one that holds deep importance, whenever they get to the full 12 rounds, there is always one scorecard that is so far out of the realm of reality, that it screams the obvious sentiment of corruption, and we as boxing fans are sick and tired of it, even though we anticipate it. Nelson Vazquez card of 117-111 is pathetic.
Even more pathetic (and predictable) is what the people in power are likely to do – and that is nothing. Jim Erickson, of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation was pressed about what actions would take place on Vazquez horrendous scoring, and he declined to comment…AKA, this is what it is, we don’t really care, and take it how it comes.
While the fight was great, and the fighters put forth great effort worthy of Champions, we are left with the “here we go again” adage, as a reoccurring problem keeps happening, because people in power have no interest in boxing as an entity, only in its monetary benefits that it provides.