<
>

Castillo punishes Lazcano for 12 rounds

6/8/2004

Jose Luis Castillo regained the lightweight
title with a punishing 12-round unanimous decision over Juan Lazcano in the HBO pay-per-view opener for the Bernard Hopkins-Robert Allen and Oscar De La Hoya-Felix Sturm fights.

Scores were 117-111, 116-112, and 115-113 for Castillo, who regained the WBC
lightweight title he had lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2002.

After a slow first round that saw both men trying to find their bearings,
Castillo attempted to close the distance a bit more aggressively in the
second, but Lazcano used an effective jab and movement to keep the Mexicali
resident at bay

In the third, Lazcano did his best to pick up the pace, but a minute in, he
caught a solid left hook from Castillo, who soon had "The Hispanic Causing
Panic" bleeding from the nose. Lazcano didn't back off, though, bloodying
Castillo's nose in return as the promised action finally heated up, only to
dip back to a more measured pace in the fourth as both tried to impose their
fight plans on the other.

At trainer Joe Goossen's urging, Lazcano started the fifth in aggressive
fashion, but the harder-punching Castillo eagerly obliged with short hooks
to the head and body that continued to rearrange Lazcano's features.

Most of the sixth was fought on the inside, and Lazcano scored his best
shots of the fight, two successive left hooks that put Castillo on his heels
momentarily. Yet by the end of the round, Castillo was firing back with his
own hooks in what was slowly becoming a grueling battle.

Lazcano scored with the hook and straight right efficiently in the seventh
as well, and even made sure to follow up after landing, unlike his work in
the earlier rounds. And though he wasn't hurting Castillo, he was scoring,
even though his foe was scoring and hurting him.

Some of the best sustained action of the fight took place in the eighth
stanza, with each bloodied battler landing thudding shots, and Castillo
holding a slight edge over the course of three minutes.

With little over a minute left in the ninth round, another round of brutal
attrition, Lazcano popped Castillo with a straight left that sent the former
world champion into the ropes and almost on the floor, but Castillo roared
right back with his own attack to prove not only that he wasn't hurt but also that he was the superior lightweight.

Castillo's pressure carried the tenth round, and in the eleventh, his body
attack finally appeared to have gotten to a weary Lazcano. And though the
punishment kept coming, Lazcano gamely fought back, even though Castillo had
left his face nearly unrecognizable, his eyes badly swollen and blood
coming from his nose and mouth.

With three minutes left to pull out the fight, Lazcano tried hard in the
closing moments to gain the victory, but without the firepower to hurt
Castillo, the El Paso native was unable to pull off a miracle.

With the victory, Castillo ups his record to 50-6-1, with 45 KOs. Lazcano
falls to 33-3-1 with 25 KOs.