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Boxing Throwback Thursday: Floyd’s phantom victory? Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Jose Luis Castillo

A classic fight which showcases one of the darkest moments of Floyd Mayweather Jr's career inside the ring.


Floyd Mayweather Jr may have depicted a perfect career by winning against all of his 49 opponents, and he has already built his place in the boxing’s hall of fame. However, his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo has a huge career significance, especially to those who were able to watch the fight back then. His controversial win is still a big topic when his toughest fight is the subject matter.

Let’s take a look back at the fight which is regarded by many as Mayweather’s phantom victory…

The fight

Both fighters made the 135-pound weight-limit. The fight night came and as expected, Castillo, who generally capitalised on his power, was the heavier fighter with a nine-pound weight advantage at 147.5 pounds. While Mayweather on the other hand, stuck to rely on his speed and didn’t add much weight at 134.5 pounds.

This was the first lightweight bout for ‘Pretty Boy’ as he decided to vacate his WBC super-featherweight title to move-up in weight and vie for Castillo’s WBC lightweight belt.

Mayweather, who is renowned as one of the best defensive fighters of all time, started strong in the opening round as he found early success with his counter-punching and blinding speed. Castillo tried to answer him with power punches but he sustained a bloodied nose after the round.

In the second round, Mayweather continued to land the cleaner punches as he moved around and patiently waited to counterpunch. Castillo was still yet to showcase any X-factor into the fight.

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The third round came and Mayweather continued his power jabs. Castillo found some rhythm to put more pressure and force on Mayweather against the ropes. Castillo landed significant clean power-punches to signal his presence and score a round. Castillo continued to give more frustration to Floyd in the fourth round with a more rugged approach, and gave less opportunity for counterpunches, something that created a less comfortable environment for Mayweather compared to the first three rounds.

Castillo’s success went on for the next two rounds. Although Mayweather showed no signs of slowing down, Castillo was clearly dictating the tempo as he continued to have a boost in confidence while keeping the fight to a brawl to his advantage.

Having the feel of his nine-pound advantage, Castillo opened the second half of the fight strong as he manhandled Mayweather and pulled the trigger with a barrage of power-punches towards the end of the seventh round. The eighth round was close but Castillo had a point deducted due to a punch being thrown when the referee signalled a break.

Castillo remained as the aggressor in the last three rounds which should at least have given him an edge in a close fight.  Mayweather wasn’t able to use his speed with consistency in the last six rounds of the fight as Castillo successfully brought the fight into his own style. Mayweather had a point deducted for using his elbow in the 10th round.

After a tightly-contested match, the judges scored the fight 115-111, 115-111, 116-111 in favour of the challenger, Mayweather.  HBO’s unofficial scorer Harold Lederman had it for Castillo.

The crowd booed the decision. Boxing analyst and personality Larry Merchant also stated that he thinks that Castillo won the fight.

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Niko Quirapas

Niko Quirapas is a nurse by profession. He's a self-taught sports writer from the Philippines who specializes in boxing and basketball.

Boxing Throwback Thursday: Floyd’s phantom victory? Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Jose Luis Castillo

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