CARSON, California – Sebastian Contursi couldn’t believe what he had heard.
Brian Castano’s manager had to ask again during their post-fight press conference if one of the judges, Glenn Feldman, actually scored eight of nine completed rounds for Jermell Charlo on Saturday night. Connecticut’s Feldman indeed had Charlo ahead, 89-82, entering the fateful 10th round of the Charlo-Castano rematch at Dignity Health Sports Park.
The other two judges, Oklahoma’s David Sutherland (87-84) and California’s Zachary Young (88-83), had Charlo in front by closer scores when the Houston native sent Castano to the canvas twice during the 10th round and stopped him in a surefire “Fight of the Year” candidate.
Buenos Aires’ Castano and Contursi congratulated Charlo for his performance and accepted that boxing’s first fully unified 154-pound champion of the four-belt era decisively defeated the former WBO junior middleweight champion. Contursi crushed the judges, though, particularly Feldman, for how they saw what was a closely contested bout before Charlo found his rhythm and began to build a lead in the final few rounds.
“My comment on that – bullsh!t again,” Contursi said. “Even worse than in Texas. … This is a joke. We didn’t know [until the press conference].”
Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) and Castano (17-1-2, 12 KOs) fought to a controversial split draw in their 12-round title unification fight last July 17 at AT&T Center in San Antonio.
One judge, Puerto Rico’s Nelson Vazquez, absurdly scored nine rounds of that back-and-forth fight for Charlo, 117-111. New Jersey’s Steve Weisfeld scored that bout for Castano, 114-113, and Nevada’s Tim Cheatham scored it a draw, 114-114.
CompuBox counted 21 more punches overall for Castano on Saturday night (194-of-610 to 173-of-559). According to CompuBox’s unofficial statistics, Castano landed more power punches (175-of-411 to 142-of-303) and Charlo connected with more jabs (31-of-256 to 19-of-199).
The judges’ scores confused Castano after what he considered a much closer fight than at least two of their cards indicated.
“What can I say? Everybody is entitled to their own judgment,” Castano said. “But, you know, probably I have to start changing and become, myself, a counterpuncher because it’s not working with the judges.”
Charlo caught Castano with a left hook that caused a delayed reaction and dropped Castano to one knee with 52 seconds to go in the 10th round. Castano answered referee Jerry Cantu’s count at five, but Charlo capitalized on Castano’s condition and finished off the disoriented ex-champion less than 30 seconds later.
A left to the head and a left to the body sent Castano to his gloves and knees with 34 seconds remaining in the 10th round. Cantu waved an end to their bout at 2:33 of the 10th round, as Castano struggled to get up from that second knockdown.
“It was definitely a tough fight,” Castano said. “I need to watch it, of course. But what I really like is the atmosphere, how the fans and the people get caught up in the heat of the fight. It’s always a pleasure for me to transmit that to fans. That’s my style.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.