By Jake Donovan
Rene Alvarado scored what is being considered an upset, but perhaps instead a reality check with a 9th round stoppage of Robinson Castellanos, Saturday evening in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
With Abner Mares removing himself from a planned rematch with Jhonny Gonzalez, all eyes were on the streaking Castellanos, a hardened veteran who has emerged as an unlikely featherweight contender. Once considered an easy night's work with a meager record of 8-9, the featherweight managed to peel off 11 consecutive wins heading into Saturday's affair.
The win that caught everyone's attention and confirmed his status as a featherweight contender was an upset split decision over former champ Celestino Caballero on the road in Panama last April. There was plenty worth talking about among his previous nine consecutive wins, but topping Caballero left him as an instant favorite among the sport's hardcore fan base.
Following up with a 6th round knockout of perennial spoiler Derrick Wilson last October, big plans were in store for his 2014 campaign. Kicking off the year was a make-or-break fight with former title challenger Rene Alvarado, of Nicaragua.
The night's work ended up breaking him, it seems.
Castellanos was given early warning signs of a long night in store. A cut developed over his left eye in the opening round, though the Mexican seized control of the action in round two.
Alvarado assumed control of the action in round three, overcoming brief two-way exchange to take over for good midway through the fight. Castellanos never showed any quit, but the onslaught of power punches eventually left him with no choice.
The end came in round nine, and in highly violent fashion. Alvarado launched a power punching attack that had Castellanos figuratively on the run before literally on the canvas. The top featherweight contender remained down, taking the full count to officially put the perceived upset in the books.
Alvarado picks up the biggest win of his career, improving to 20-2 (14KO). It comes less than seven weeks after his brother, Felix Alvarado fell just short of upsetting reigning junior flyweight champ Kazuto ioka on the road in Japan last New Year's Eve.
Castellano's three-year, 11-fight win streak comes to a crashing halt. The 31-year old falls to 19-10 (12KO), even worse losing out on what could have been a mandatory title shot versus current featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez.
The bout aired live on Televisa and (in select markets) Fox Deportes.
Tags: Robinson Castellanos
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox