In terms of drama and competitiveness, the first undisputed champion fight at 154 pounds in the four-belt era delivered on its promises. Unfortunately, that didn't stop Brian Castano and Jermell Charlo from having their efforts marred with questionable scoring.
Castano (170-2), the WBO champion, had to settle for a controversial split draw after outboxing Charlo (34-5-1, 18KOs), before holding off a rally at AT&T Center San Antonio.
Judge Tim Cheatham gave it 114-114, while Steve Weisfeld scored it 114-112 in favor of Castano. Charlo won the head scratcher with Nelson Vasquez scoring 117-112 for Charlo. This allowed him to keep his WBA, WBC, and IBF titles. CBS Sports scored it 116-112 for Castano.
Although Charlo seemed to lack urgency in the middle of the fight, and the 31-year old counter puncher was too selective in his output, Houston's native picked up the pace significantly over the last three rounds. Charlo injured Castano in Round 10, but couldn't stop him or drop him. This led many to believe Castano (a native of Argentina) had done enough.
CompuBox reports that Castano defeated Charlo in 12 rounds, by a margin 173 to 151. This includes 164 to 99 power shots.
"My coach said to me that I needed a knockout, and I knew that he meant it. He is trustworthy. It's the first time that something like this has ever happened to me."
Charlo has been following the same trend for many years: he is too patient and wants to finish the fight with one shot, despite Derrick James's instructions. In 2018, Charlo lost a controversial decision to Tony Harrison. Charlo was seen to have a low output and looked down on the scorecards in their rematch. One year later, Charlo scored a late victory.
Castano fought bravely to stop his foe, even though Charlo had the better shots. Charlo was far too eager to fight the ropes which made Castano bully him and act as the ring general during a series close rounds.
Castano was even more impressive because he closed rounds with big flurries that could've, or should've, easily won the judges' favor at the conclusion of each competitive frame.
Castano stated, "Basically, the fight was won." Castano said, "There were some rounds where he hit me. He struck me hard, but I won the fight.
"I was hurt in the 10th round. I was trying to recover a bit in the 11th round but I won the fight. I was able to win the fight.