Former 154-pound world champion Erislandy Lara and WBA Super Welterweight Champion Brian Castaño fought to a highly competitive split-draw Saturday at Barclays Center in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
With the draw, Castaño retains the WBA belt in what was the toughest test of his career against the longtime top 154-pounder in Lara. The judges scored the fight 115-113 (Castaño), 115-113 (Lara) and 114-114.
Castaño (15-0-1, 11 KOs), who was fighting in his first U.S. main event, held a large advantage in power connects (181-103) while Lara (25-3-3, 14 KOs) found success landing his left hand down the middle on his way to a 34 percent to 27 percent advantage in power accuracy.
In the close, difficult-to-score fight, five of the rounds were separated by three or fewer connects and three of those rounds favored Lara. In the final two rounds, Castaño ramped up the pressure and connected on 44 punches, while Lara landed only 24 punches across the championship rounds. Castaño won the final three rounds on all three judges’ scorecards. Without doing so, the Argentine would have lost his belt.
After the hotly contested fight, both fighters have options, including a rematch, in the talent-rich super welterweight division.
“I know I won the fight. I feel I was robbed,” a disappointed Castaño said.
“If he wants the rematch, I’ll give him the rematch. I waited for him this time so I can wait for him again if he wants the rematch. I would give him the rematch if he wants. I can also go ahead and fight any other champion that wants to fight me. I’m ready for whoever they put in front of me. Hurd or anyone else.”
In the co-feature, Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) earned a unanimous decision victory over a game Christian Hammer (24-6, 14 KOs). Although the judges scored the fight 100-90 and 99-91 twice, both men fought through bloody noses at different points in the fight and both were stunned in a back-and-forth second round.