Brian Castano didn’t accuse Patrick Teixeira of trying to avoid him.
The unbeaten Argentinean contender just thinks Teixeira wanted an easier fight in his first defense of the WBO junior middleweight title. Though there were rumors during the pandemic regarding Teixeira facing an opponent other than his mandatory challenger next, the Brazilian southpaw will defend his 154-pound crown against Castano on Saturday night in Indio, California.
Neither Teixeira nor Castano has fought since November 2019, when Teixeira defeated Dominican contender Carlos Adames by unanimous decision to win his WBO belt.
“Teixeira is a good fighter, but maybe he didn’t want a fight with me in his first defense,” Castano told BoxingScene.com. “I think he wanted someone easier. It’s not that he didn’t want to fight me at all, but I’m convinced that he would’ve liked much better to face a lesser opponent or an easier opponent in his first title defense.”
Teixeira (31-1, 22 KOs) and Castano (16-0-1, 12 KOs) first were scheduled to meet April 25 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, the site of their rescheduled fight Saturday night. That card was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There was talk thereafter of Australia’s Tim Tszyu challenging Teixeira before Castano got his shot because Teixeira’s handlers believed Castano couldn’t get a visa to travel from Argentina to the United States. Castano arrived in the Los Angeles area to train in mid-September, however, because he thought the Teixeira fight could be rescheduled for late in November or sometime in December.
Tszyu (17-0, 13 KOs) is the WBO’s second-ranked contender in the 154-pound division, one spot beneath Castano. Once the Teixeira-Castano clash was rescheduled, the 26-year-old Tszyu agreed to fight fellow Australian Dennis Hogan (28-3-1, 7 KOs) on March 31.
Castano suspects Teixeira wanted to fight Tszyu before facing him.
“Carlos Adames is a great fighter, too, but Teixeira knows me,” Castano said. “We trained together in Vegas three or four years ago. We had one [six-round] sparring session in Vegas in 2017. He knows me and I know he is a strong guy, but maybe I’m a stronger fighter than his other opponents.”
Teixeira-Castano is the co-feature of a card DAZN will stream from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino (8 p.m. EST; 5 p.m. PST). In the 12-round main event, Joseph Diaz Jr. (31-1, 15 KOs), of Downey, California, will make a mandated defense of his IBF junior lightweight title against Tajikistan’s Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.