Big Turnaround: Jorge Castro vs. John David Jackson (1994)

Big Turnaround – Carlos [Monzon] never did stop walking on the wild side and certainly never found the secret to controlling the raging temper that he mastered so well within the roped square. —Mike Casey

Opponents could never be sure what was going to spring out of Pascual “El León” Perez’s bag of tricks next. His arsenal was vast, and he knew when to press the action against fading foes. Given all of his accomplishments, in terms of name recognition, Perez is still underappreciated–-Marty Mulcahey

Boxing and drama are intertwined, and for gaudy records, great nicknames, legendary fights and especially high drama, I have always had a special fondness for fighters from Argentina. With the greatness and then sudden deaths of Carlos “Escopeta “(aka Shotgun) Monzon and “Vicious” Victor Galindez, thetragicomedy: of Oscar “Ringo” Bonavena, the incredible defensive wizardry of Nicolino “El Intocable” Locche, and more recently, the flair of Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, the swagger of Marcus René “El Chino” Maidana and the excitement ofLucas Martin Matthysse, the Argentineans have made a lasting impression on boxing, There have been others too numerous to list here, but few, except aficionados knew (or know) much aboutJorge Castro, probably because most of his fights were in Argentina.

The iron-chinned Castro fought the very best during a long 20-year career. Fighting as a pro since 1987, he went undefeated in his first 39 professional fights before losing to Lorenzo Luis Garcia (70-9-13 coming in) but his lifetime record against Garcia was 3-1. No stranger to championship belts and fights, he won the WBA Middleweight Title, the South American Cruiserweight Title, WBA Fedelatin Super Middleweight Title, the Argentine (FAB) Light Middleweight Title, and the South American Light Middleweight Title. He also battled for the WBC Cruiserweight Title, the IBF Cruiserweight Title, and the IBO Cruiserweight Title.

Among his ring accomplishments, he split a pair with the great Roberto Duran, beating him in 1997 and holds two wins each over Reggie Johnson (for the vacant WBA Middleweight Title) and John David Jackson. He also beat Peter Venancio (three times), Hector Hugo Vilte, Alex Ramos, Juan Carlos Gimenez Ferreyra, Fabian Alberto Chancalay, Imamu Mayfield, Derrick Harmon, and many other notables. His losses were against the likes of Sebastiaan Rothmann (who won the battle but lost the war and was never the same), undefeated Shinji Takehara, Terry Norris, undefeated Vasily Jirov, a prime Paul Briggs, undefeated Juan Carlos Gomez, and legendary Roy Jones, Jr.

The Setting  (1994)

American middleweight John David Jackson was streaking at 32-0 when he met Argentinian boxer/puncher Jorge “Locomotora” Castro (95-4-2 at the time) in an undercard bout to Felix Trinidad vs. Oba Carr and Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Tony Lopez. The PPV card was on neutral ground at the Estadio de Beisbol in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico on December 10, 1994. At stake was Castro’s WBA World Middleweight Title which he had won against Reggie Johnson earlier that year. Jackson, the former undefeated holder of the WBA title (he was stripped of the title for participating in a non-title fight), was clearly no slouch and had wins over Lupe Aquino, Chris Pyatt, Tyrone Trice, Reggie Johnson, and James “Hard Rock” Green.

The Big Turnaround

The fight featured one of the most dramatic endings in boxing history. Round 9 was named Round of the Year. Castro, heavy-handed and an outstanding counter puncher, was trailing badly on all three scorecards (71-80, 73-80 and 74-79). One eye was closed and the other was half closed. He was bleeding badly and pinned against the ropes in the ninth taking wicked shots and combos. Jackson was using him as a heavy bag.

Finally, legendary referee Stanley Christodoulou positioned himself to stop what had become a mauling as Jackson went for the certain kill. Just as Christodoulou started to raise his hands to signal the stoppage, Castro countered with a well-leveraged left hook on Jackson’s chin and Jackson went down like he had been sapped.

All of a sudden, instead of stopping the fight in Jackson’s favor, Christodoulou began counting out Jackson. John David somehow managed to get up but he was done; he was ripe for the taking. He suffered two more quick and savage knockdowns and, with the 3-knockdown rule in effect, “Locomotora” completed the incredible comeback and retained his title with a decisive knockout in the ninth round. Clearly, this had been one of the most amazing, if unlikeliest, turnarounds in boxing history. Shades of Hearns-Barkley, Castillo-Corrales, Graham Earl-Michael Katsidis — Here it is in all its drama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feDnIAWjD_o

“ La mano de Dios”

At a press conference after the fight, Castro called his winning punch “La mano de Dios,” (The hand of God). The ending to that fight became legendary in Argentinean lore and was written about for months in many boxing magazines and books. In 1998, proving the first win was no fluke; Castro again beat Jackson this time by a close UD. He decked John David in the 4th and 8th rounds to win the vacant WBA Fedelatin Super Middleweight Title.

Many of Castro’s opponents have long since retired. Ramos is now involved with the Retired Boxers Foundation; Norris and Duran have been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Takehara and Jirov have retired while John David Jackson (with a final mark of 36-4) has become a leading trainer. Sadly, Jones fights on.

Still more drama

Jorge finally retired with an amazing 130-11-3 record (with an eye-popping 90 KOs) after crushing Colombian Jose Luis “La Pantera” Herrera (14-2 coming in) at the Municipal Patinódromo in Buenos Aires on January 27, 2007. In so doing, he avenged a previous loss in which Castro had been decked twice and TKOed by Herrera in four rounds in April 2006, only the second stoppage loss in his long career and in Argentina no less. . What made the loss even more shocking was that Castro was coming off a solid TKO win over capable Derrick Harmon.

Of course, in between, he had recuperated from a serious motorcycle accident and this likely played a role in his defeat. Still, given his awful showing, many thought it was time for Castro to finally end his glorious career and were amazed that he would even consider fighting again. For his part, the young and eager Herrera was poised to duplicate matters and send “Locomotora” out to pasture, but lo and behold he quickly became one panther in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Locomotora” redeemed himself and floored Herrera four times and also forced a standing eight-count in the second round before referee Luis Carlos Guzman stepped in and called a halt to the quick butchering  at the 2:28 mark.

While there was plenty of drama surrounding the circumstances of both fights with Herrera, the career of Jorge “Locomotora” Castro will always be defined by “La Manos de Dios.”

Hopefully, Castro will get a call one of these days from Canastota because he deserves it. Like Hall of Famer Eder Jofre, 72-2-4 with 50 KOs, considered to be the best Brazilian boxer of all time—and arguably the greatest bantamweight of all time—Castro flew under the radar far too long without getting his appropriate due.

Ted Sares is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several records. He enjoys writing about boxing.

 

 

Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-dollar bond :

Spectacular reversal is right. That was unreal. How do you rate it?


-JohnnyTango :

I remember the fight. Exciting as all hell! Thanks for sharing, Ted, and bringing back some pleasant old memories. Nice job!


-larueboenig :

Castro was lucky the fight was in Argentina. He would have been stopped on cuts in the States. He was bleeding like a sieve from both eyes. I had no idea Jackson was that good. He had some slick moves. No wonder he is a good trainer. Thanks Bro for a good read and a super video.


-BernieFer :

I was at ringside for this fight, covering for the Philadelphia Daily News, although I primarily was there for WBA junior welterweight champ Frankie Randall's seventh-round TKO of a Philly guy, "Rockin'" Rodney Moore, and to a somewhat lesser extent, the main event in which WBC super lightweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez stopped Tony "The Tiger" Lopez in 10 rounds, much to the gratification of the 25,000 or so semi-chilled spectators at Estadia de Beisbol in Monterrey. Here is what I wrote of a really remarkable finish to a fight that didn't seem like it was headed to that finish at all: ...Three of the four TV fights, all for world titles, were very good. One was an instant classic. Not that anyone could have expected so much of the World Boxing Association championship showdown between defending titlist Jorge Castro, of Argentina, and former champ John David Jackson, of Spokane, Wash. The book on Castro is that he is an undisciplined, rough-around-the-edges brawler, and Jackson's reputation is that of a safety-first, somewhat boring technician. But the two men engaged in a stirring slugfest, which after some early give-and-take, saw the lefthanded Jackson begin to dominate from the fourth round on. Through eight rounds, Jackson had transformed Castro's face into a bloody pulp. Then he went out to close the deal in Round 9. Jackson was battering Castro along the ropes and referee Stanley Christodoulou was on the verge of jumping in and sparing the Argentine further punishment when a miracle happened. A nearly blinded Castro missed with a wild right hand, which he followed with a crushing left hook to the jaw that sent Jackson collapsing to the canvas. Jackson, obviously dazed, beat the count, but he was out on his feet and a revitalized Castro wasn't about to let him escape. Castro knocked Jackson down a second time and was teeing off again when Christodoulou waved it off 2:43 into Round 9. "Somewhere in the ninth round the hand of God touched me," Castro (96-4-2, 67 KOs) said. "You saw the result." "I got careless," said Jackson (32-1, 19 KOs), who lived and trained in Philadelphia from 1984 to '89. "I got overconfident because I was shutting him out." Said (promoter Don) King: "No one can deny that what happened with Jorge Castro and John David Jackson was a Hollywood movie. It's something out of `Kid Galahad' with Elvis Presley, where the hero gets beat, beat, beat, but at the last minute he finds the strength to pull out a victory. He made the possible out of the impossible. Sylester Stallone made $200 million on that premise." As improbable as Castro's turnaround was, several questions beg to be asked. Why, given the quick trigger pulled by other referees in some of the earlier bouts, did Christodoulou allow Castro to hang around so long? Was he, too, an instrument of divine intervention and somehow aware that Castro was about to unload a punch straight out of a "Rocky" script?


-Kid Blast :

I was at ringside for this fight, covering for the Philadelphia Daily News, although I primarily was there for WBA junior welterweight champ Frankie Randall's seventh-round TKO of a Philly guy, "Rockin'" Rodney Moore, and to a somewhat lesser extent, the main event in which WBC super lightweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez stopped Tony "The Tiger" Lopez in 10 rounds, much to the gratification of the 25,000 or so semi-chilled spectators at Estadia de Beisbol in Monterrey. Here is what I wrote of a really remarkable finish to a fight that didn't seem like it was headed to that finish at all: ...Three of the four TV fights, all for world titles, were very good. One was an instant classic. Not that anyone could have expected so much of the World Boxing Association championship showdown between defending titlist Jorge Castro, of Argentina, and former champ John David Jackson, of Spokane, Wash. The book on Castro is that he is an undisciplined, rough-around-the-edges brawler, and Jackson's reputation is that of a safety-first, somewhat boring technician. But the two men engaged in a stirring slugfest, which after some early give-and-take, saw the lefthanded Jackson begin to dominate from the fourth round on. Through eight rounds, Jackson had transformed Castro's face into a bloody pulp. Then he went out to close the deal in Round 9. Jackson was battering Castro along the ropes and referee Stanley Christodoulou was on the verge of jumping in and sparing the Argentine further punishment when a miracle happened. A nearly blinded Castro missed with a wild right hand, which he followed with a crushing left hook to the jaw that sent Jackson collapsing to the canvas. Jackson, obviously dazed, beat the count, but he was out on his feet and a revitalized Castro wasn't about to let him escape. Castro knocked Jackson down a second time and was teeing off again when Christodoulou waved it off 2:43 into Round 9. "Somewhere in the ninth round the hand of God touched me," Castro (96-4-2, 67 KOs) said. "You saw the result." "I got careless," said Jackson (32-1, 19 KOs), who lived and trained in Philadelphia from 1984 to '89. "I got overconfident because I was shutting him out." Said (promoter Don) King: "No one can deny that what happened with Jorge Castro and John David Jackson was a Hollywood movie. It's something out of `Kid Galahad' with Elvis Presley, where the hero gets beat, beat, beat, but at the last minute he finds the strength to pull out a victory. He made the possible out of the impossible. Sylester Stallone made $200 million on that premise." As improbable as Castro's turnaround was, several questions beg to be asked. Why, given the quick trigger pulled by other referees in some of the earlier bouts, did Christodoulou allow Castro to hang around so long? Was he, too, an instrument of divine intervention and somehow aware that Castro was about to unload a punch straight out of a "Rocky" script?
Great stuff, BF. Many thought Castro had done the trick with a right but it was a "crushing left hook" that did it. It was a marvelous thing to behold.


-Kid Blast :

Spectacular reversal is right. That was unreal. How do you rate it?
Second only to Castillo-Corrales, but a very, very close second IMO


-Domenic :

Excellent, excellent article. Man, the mid 90's were replete with great fights.


-Panselmo :

I used to show this fight to non-boxing fans, to try and show them the dramatics that are involved with boxing. I will say, if this fight were to be held anywhere outside of Castro's country, it would've probably been stopped on cuts. OR, it could've been stopped a few moments just before Castro ended it with that hook off the ropes. Amazing freaking comeback. Good **** Ted! PHA '16


-stormcentre :

Great read.


-Kid Blast :

I used to show this fight to non-boxing fans, to try and show them the dramatics that are involved with boxing. I will say, if this fight were to be held anywhere outside of Castro's country, it would've probably been stopped on cuts. OR, it could've been stopped a few moments just before Castro ended it with that hook off the ropes. Amazing freaking comeback. Good **** Ted! PHA '16
Anselmo, you rock, literally


-Kid Blast :

Great read.
Why thank you Storm.


-Kid Blast :

Excellent, excellent article. Man, the mid 90's were replete with great fights.
As were the 70's with heavyweights and the 8-' with light heavyweights.


-Tex Hassler :

It was a turnaround of some magnitude and not just a small turnaround. Rapid change maks boxing exciting and we need more excitment in our sport today.


-Kid Blast :

It was a turnaround of some magnitude and not just a small turnaround. Rapid change maks boxing exciting and we need more excitment in our sport today.
Thank Reverend Hassler. Excitement = more fans. Gatti-types = more fans.


-King Beef :

[br] title="The Sweet Science - Boxing News"[/br] [br][/br] by TED SARES[br][/br] Carlos [Monzon] never did stop walking on the wild side and certainly never found the secret to controlling the raging temper that he mastered so well within the roped square. ---Mike Casey[br][/br] Opponents could never be sure what was going to spring out of Pascual ?El Le?n? Perez?s bag of tricks next. His arsenal was vast, and he knew when to press the action against fading foes. Given all of his accomplishments, in terms of name recognition, Perez is still underappreciated---Marty Mulcahey[br][/br] Boxing and drama are intertwined, and for gaudy records, great nicknames, legendary fights and especially high drama, I have always had a special fondness for fighters from Argentina. With the greatness and then sudden deaths of Carlos "Escopeta ?(aka Shotgun) Monzon and ?Vicious? Victor Galindez, thetragicomedy: of Oscar ?Ringo? Bonavena, the incredible defensive wizardry of Nicolino "El Intocable? Locche, and more recently, the flair of Sergio ?Maravilla? Martinez, the swagger of Marcus Ren? ?El Chino? Maidana and the excitement ofLucas Martin Matthysse, the Argentineans have made a lasting impression on boxing, There have been others too numerous to list here, but few, except aficionados knew (or know) much aboutJorge Castro, probably because most of his fights were in Argentina. [br][/br] The iron-chinned Castro fought the very best during a long 20-year career. Fighting as a pro since 1987, he went undefeated in his first 39 professional fights before losing to Lorenzo Luis Garcia (70-9-13 coming in) but his lifetime record against Garcia was 3-1. No stranger to championship belts and fights, he won the WBA Middleweight Title, the South American Cruiserweight Title, WBA Fedelatin Super Middleweight Title, the Argentine (FAB) Light Middleweight Title, and the South American Light Middleweight Title. He also battled for the WBC Cruiserweight Title, the IBF Cruiserweight Title, and the IBO Cruiserweight Title.[br][/br] Among his ring accomplishments, he split a pair with the great Roberto Duran, beating him in 1997 and holds two wins each over Reggie Johnson (for the vacant WBA Middleweight Title) and John David Jackson. He also beat Peter Venancio (three times), Hector Hugo Vilte, Alex Ramos, Juan Carlos Gimenez Ferreyra, Fabian Alberto Chancalay, Imamu Mayfield, Derrick Harmon, and many other notables. His losses were against the likes of Sebastiaan Rothmann (who won the battle but lost the war and was never the same), undefeated Shinji Takehara, Terry Norris, undefeated Vasily Jirov, a prime Paul Briggs, undefeated Juan Carlos Gomez, and legendary Roy Jones, Jr.[br][/br] The Setting (1994)[br][/br] American middleweight John David Jackson was streaking at 32-0 when he met Argentinian boxer/puncher Jorge ?Locomotora? Castro (95-4-2 at the time) in an undercard bout to Felix Trinidad vs. Oba Carr and Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Tony Lopez. The PPV card was on neutral ground at the Estadio de Beisbol in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico on December 10, 1994. At stake was Castro?s WBA World Middleweight Title which he had won against Reggie Johnson earlier that year. Jackson, the former undefeated holder of the WBA title (he was stripped of the title for participating in a non-title fight), was clearly no slouch and had wins over Lupe Aquino, Chris Pyatt, Tyrone Trice, Reggie Johnson, and James ?Hard Rock? Green.[br][/br] The Big Turnaround[br][/br] The fight featured one of the most dramatic endings in boxing history. Round 9 was named Round of the Year. Castro, heavy-handed and an outstanding counter puncher, was trailing badly on all three scorecards (71-80, 73-80 and 74-79). One eye was closed and the other was half closed. He was bleeding badly and pinned against the ropes in the ninth taking wicked shots and combos. Jackson was using him as a heavy bag.[br][/br] Finally, legendary referee Stanley Christodoulou positioned himself to stop what had become a mauling as Jackson went for the certain kill. Just as Christodoulou started to raise his hands to signal the stoppage, Castro countered with a well-leveraged left hook on Jackson’s chin and Jackson went down like he had been sapped.[br][/br] All of a sudden, instead of stopping the fight in Jackson’s favor, Christodoulou began counting out Jackson. John David somehow managed to get up but he was done; he was ripe for the taking. He suffered two more quick and savage knockdowns and, with the 3-knockdown rule in effect, "Locomotora? completed the incredible comeback and retained his title with a decisive knockout in the ninth round. Clearly, this had been one of the most amazing, if unlikeliest, turnarounds in boxing history. Shades of Hearns-Barkley, Castillo-Corrales, Graham Earl-Michael Katsidis -- Here it is in all its drama: [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feDnIAWjD_o]
->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feDnIAWjD_o
[br][/br] ? La mano de Dios"[br][/br] At a press conference after the fight, Castro called his winning punch "La mano de Dios," (The hand of God). The ending to that fight became legendary in Argentinean lore and was written about for months in many boxing magazines and books. In 1998, proving the first win was no fluke; Castro again beat Jackson this time by a close UD. He decked John David in the 4th and 8th rounds to win the vacant WBA Fedelatin Super Middleweight Title.[br][/br] Many of Castro?s opponents have long since retired. Ramos is now involved with the Retired Boxers Foundation; Norris and Duran have been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Takehara and Jirov have retired while John David Jackson (with a final mark of 36-4) has become a leading trainer. Sadly, Jones fights on. [br][/br] Still more drama[br][/br] Jorge finally retired with an amazing 130-11-3 record (with an eye-popping 90 KOs) after crushing Colombian Jose Luis "La Pantera" Herrera (14-2 coming in) at the Municipal Patin?dromo in Buenos Aires on January 27, 2007. In so doing, he avenged a previous loss in which Castro had been decked twice and TKOed by Herrera in four rounds in April 2006, only the second stoppage loss in his long career and in Argentina no less. . What made the loss even more shocking was that Castro was coming off a solid TKO win over capable Derrick Harmon.[br][/br] Of course, in between, he had recuperated from a serious motorcycle accident and this likely played a role in his defeat. Still, given his awful showing, many thought it was time for Castro to finally end his glorious career and were amazed that he would even consider fighting again. For his part, the young and eager Herrera was poised to duplicate matters and send ?Locomotora? out to pasture, but lo and behold he quickly became one panther in the wrong place at the wrong time.[br][/br] ?Locomotora? redeemed himself and floored Herrera four times and also forced a standing eight-count in the second round before referee Luis Carlos Guzman stepped in and called a halt to the quick butchering at the 2:28 mark.[br][/br] While there was plenty of drama surrounding the circumstances of both fights with Herrera, the career of Jorge ?Locomotora? Castro will always be defined by ?La Manos de Dios.?[br][/br] Hopefully, Castro will get a call one of these days from Canastota because he deserves it. Like Hall of Famer Eder Jofre, 72-2-4 with 50 KOs, considered to be the best Brazilian boxer of all time?and arguably the greatest bantamweight of all time?Castro flew under the radar far too long without getting his appropriate due.[br][/br] Ted Sares is one of the world?s oldest active power lifters and holds several records. He enjoys writing about boxing.[br][/br] [br][/br] [br][/br]
Timely post, they just replayed this fight last week on Showtime’s classic fights


-Kid Blast :

Wow. I didn't know that.


-Gabrielito :

I was introduced to Jorge Castro when he colored his hair orange to get into the ring with Vassily Jirov. All the snickering about Castro's chubby physique was squelched as he proceeded to battle the natural cruiser weight champ to a stand still, blasting Jirov with teeth rattling counters .


-Kid Blast :

I was introduced to Jorge Castro when he colored his hair orange to get into the ring with Vassily Jirov. All the snickering about Castro's chubby physique was squelched as he proceeded to battle the natural cruiser weight champ to a stand still, blasting Jirov with teeth rattling counters .
That was his thing--the counters. Very tricky guy--very underrated .


-oubobcat :

I was going down memory lane with this fight on Showtime a few weeks ago. It was a stunning comeback to say the least. Jackson was in control and literally on the verge of stopping Castro. The Showtime announcers were commenting before the start of the 9th round that there was "no reason for the fight to go on." Castro was beaten up and cut badly. In the 9th, Jackson was seemingly landing at will with the referee watching Castro very closely seemingly on the verge of stepping anytime. And then after Jackson hurt him and Castro appearing out came the left hook from Castro in between Jackson's barrage of punches that caught him squarely on the chin. What a comeback and what a fight....and a fight that deserves a lot more attention as it is truly an all time classic.


-stormcentre :

Yep Castro had a lot of fights and was about as tough, durable, confident, and seasoned as you get. Dude could usually make it to the finish line with even top contenders without too much training; or so I heard. :) :)


-brownsugar :

Never knew that,. ..great historical recollection.


-stormcentre :

Never knew that,. ..great historical recollection.
Yep, when P. Briggs fought him I heard some stories from the gym that Jorge prepared at, and Jorge's entourage. Over the following years and through my travels the ore interesting ones seemed to check out. Dude was hardened steel. Didn't always care for the best lead time and/or preparation before bouts; even 10 and 12 rounders. Just went in and gave it all. Guys like that both, freak me out and earn my respect. Not sure about to what degree he may or may have not cared for lead time and/or preparation before bouts; but Glen Johnson was a bit like that too. Anyway, for a snicker, check out Castro's alias . . . "Locomotora" I don't even know the correct translation for that, but still love my interpretation of it.

Just under 150 fights. Better than 60% KO rate. Less than 15 losses.

Dude's gotta be doing something right.
Storm. :) :)


-Kid Blast :