Robin Castellanos is grinning and winning. In a sensational twelve round bout for the opportunity to become WBC champ Jhonny Gonzalez’s mandatory challenger, Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos 21-10 13KO’s and Rocky Juarez 30-11 21KO’s put on a show of will, resolve, and guts.
After a feeling out round in the first Juarez came out jabbing in the second, landing left hooks while Castellanos was throwing hard straight right hands and long uppercuts that set the pace for the back and forth action that would take place for the rest of the night. Fighting at a ferocious pace neither fighter backed down as the rounds went on with Castellanos flashing a villainous grin as he kept coming, firing long looping shots that would rock the former top prospect and Olympic silver medalist Juarez.
During the fifth round Juarez opened up a cut on the right eye of Castellanos, the same eye that was cut open during his five round destruction of then undefeated prospect Ronny Rios. Exchanging punches in the corner Juarez threw a wild left hook leaping off his feet and turning his body so that his momentum swung him to the canvas without being touched prompting referee Guadalupe Garcia (who was decked out in lime green) to terribly rule a knockdown. Following Garcia’s mistake Castellanos opened up a cut that appeared to be on the hairline of Juarez from what appeared to be a headbutt.
The exchanges heated up in the sixth round with Juarez continuing to land his short left hooks while on the inside. Castellanos would allow Juarez in and take a half step back to land searing right uppercuts then throw looping shots over the top to stop Juarez dead in his tracks.
Castellanos landed a hard right hook left uppercut combination in the eighth that appeared to have Juarez in trouble until Juarez came firing back, landing a left hook to remind Castellanos that he was a live fighter. Towards the end of the round a cut was opened up under the left eye of Juarez ensuring the cut-men for both fighters were earning their paychecks for the evening
Through rounds nine, ten, and eleven the action was merciless as the momentum swung back and forth with Castellanos just getting the better.
As both fighters came out for the twelfth round the crowd was cheering in the Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio. Castellanos came out launching missiles and landed a straight right, left hook combination that dropped Juarez for the first real knockdown of the fight. Moments after Juarez got to his feet he was dropped again by a hard right uppercut, Juarez managed to beat the count only to be dropped again by, yes another right uppercut. Making it to his feet Juarez not only tried to survive the round but he stood and traded like a warrior until the final bell.
Hats off to both fighters for delivering a glorious fight that showed two fighters with double digit losses make the most out of an opportunity neither of them probably expected a year ago. Juarez stated prior to the fight that if he lost this would be his last fight. A veteran with a roster of fights against some great fighters, Juarez never won the big one after coming out of the Olympics in 2000.
Castellanos moves on to become the mandatory challenger for 126 pound titlist Jhonny Gonzalez in what could be a very interesting matchup between two tall lanky punchers that could produce some serious excitement.
Keandre Gibson 12-0-1 5KO’s won a unanimous decision against Nelson Lara 15-7-5 8KO’s with scores of 80-72 three times. Gibson who is clearly gifted with speed, athleticism, and a solid frame didn’t impress in a fight that was closer than the scorecards showed. Lara had been stopped in his previous three fights and was clearly outmatched against Gibson but he still managed to force Gibson to fight his fight in spots and showed that Gibson has some defensive holes as he was able to land his right hand over and over.
Gibson showed a pattern that was consistently inconsistent, starting every round sharp with the jab, and side to side movement. Lara would finally get close enough to throw a punch and Gibson would stand and trade taking more punishment than he should have, rather than spinning out and resetting with his superior speed and footwork.
Gibson has some work to do before stepping up to the next level and these types of mistakes are to be expected this early in a young fighters career, let’s just hope they get noticed and corrected before he steps up the level of comeptition.
Javier Rodriguez 12-0-1 2KO’s stopped Quincy Wesbie 2-8 in the 5 round dropping him with a nice looking counter left hook. Wesbie was out as soon as he hit the canvas prompting referee Rafael Ramos to call a halt to the action at 49 seconds into the round.