Last night's lightweight Showtime bout between Jose Luis Castillo and Rolando Reyes proved to be more of an easy sparring session for Castillo in preparation for Diego Corrales than an actual fight.
Castillo 54-7-1 (47 KOs), the two-time WBC lightweight champion was the heavy favorite against a relatively unknown Rolando Reyes 26-4-2 (16 KOs), the reigning NABO champion and until recently number five rated contender by the WBO. Castillo showed us all exactly why tonight.
Round one opened with Castillo establishing a very good jab. Reyes appeared cautious in the beginning and for good reason, as Castillo began to land vicious combos, backing Reyes against the ropes. Castillo displayed superb accuracy, working the body perfectly to set-up paralyzing left hooks to the head. Right from the start it appeared it would be a long night, or quite possibly a very short one for Reyes.
Round two began very slowly with a dull first minute, Reyes then started to use his jab, but to no effect as Castillo launched forward, unleashing combinations featuring his signature left hooks to back up Reyes. Reyes attempted to answer with some left hooks of his own, but Castillo just kept landing more combinations. Castillo took the second easily, landing gruesome power shots as Reyes continued to back up into the ropes, almost asking to be knocked out.
The third began with Castillo repeatedly launching his jab. Reyes tried to put the pressure on but Castillo simply picked off all of his shots with ease. Castillo then began to move forward behind a barrage of left hooks. Reyes then began to answer back with a crisp left jab followed by some beautiful straight rights. The fighters then began to exchange, most of the time coming out even. Reyes then started to use a nice uppercut which led to a few combinations. Even round.
Round four started off with Castillo landing a number of jabs and left hooks. Reyes answered back with some counter rights. Once again the two exchanged and once again it came out even. Castillo began to back Reyes up at the end of the round, but Reyes got Castillo off of him with a couple of nice right uppercuts. One more time, even round.
Round number five was a very passive round for both fighters, basically a boring chess match. Castillo won the fifth only because he was the slightly busier fighter. Round six began the same way as the fifth, boring, lifeless, and painful to watch as. After about a round and a half, as the fans began to express their impatience, Castillo finally received a sudden wakeup call as he rushed forward, delivering an all-out assault to Reyes’ body and head. Reyes tried to answer back and though he was landing from time to time it was not enough to stop the raging Castillo.
The seventh began in a more interesting fashion, as referee Laurence Cole deducted one point from Castillo for repetitive low blows. That seemed to motivate Castillo as he began a full-scale demolition of Reyes, landing blistering hooks and bone-crushing rights. Reyes appeared to be scared to come anywhere near Castillo, but, then again, who could blame him? You would be petrified too if every punch you threw you got hit with 16 harder ones in return. Castillo's round, but it was only 9-9 due to the low blow.
In round eight Castillo came out fast and strong, landing quick jabs and lighting combinations. Castillo laid back a bit, and began to box more. Castillo appeared more conservative than usual, almost as if he was saving himself for the big fight with Corrales. Reyes continued to run scared, not willing to commit to any of his punches. Castillo continued to pick and choose his shots as it appeared Reyes was just trying to survive the fight, get his paycheck, and be able to tell his grandchildren that he went the distance with Jose Luis Castillo.
Castillo opened round nine once again asserting his great jab. As he continued to press forward, Castillo was landing at will as Reyes was unable to establish a consistent offense. Castillo continued to pick and choose against a very cautious Reyes and breezed through another easy round.
Round ten started with a series of left hooks by Castillo, as it became very clear that this fight was, well… not really a fight at all. Castillo began to walk down Reyes again, landing some more blistering combinations. Reyes was able to back up Castillo with a nice right but Castillo came right back in.
Round eleven came, and happened to be a very rare round for both fighters. It was Reyes' first time ever in the eleventh round, and only Castillo's seventh time in 62 fights, the last being again Joel Casamayor in 2004. Castillo once again established his jab early, showing he could indeed compete in the later rounds, contrary to popular belief. Reyes landed a few nice rights but never followed up, it was always one and done… and at this point, Reyes was done.
Round twelve was almost a pointless round, with both fighters doing nothing, even smiling at each other at one point in the round.
The judges scored the lopsided bout 116-111, 117-110 and 119-108, all for Castillo. The Sweet Science scored the bout 119-109 for Castillo.
Castillo showed the world a lot about himself last night. He proved that he could indeed go twelve rounds. In addition, I believe that Castillo fought smart, dominating, showing spurts of rage, and at the same time getting through safely to face Diego Corrales in a mega rubber match in June.
Though the fans booed much of the inactivity in the fight, one must look back to August when WBC heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman defeated Monte Barrett. Consider this, if your opponent refuses to fight and insists on backing up… what else can you possibly do?