By Jake Donovan
It's not often these days that you will see two fighters each with 10 losses throwing down in a final eliminator AND being worthy of the opportunity. So goes the upcoming clash between resurgent featherweights Rocky Juarez and Robinson Castellanos.
The two square off Monday evening at Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, Texas. Both fighters were chiseled and on point during Sunday's weigh-in festivities.
Juarez (30-10-1, 21KOs) tipped the scales at a cut 125¼ lb, the same weight for his career-resurrecting upset win over Rene Alvarado last May. Castellanos (20-10, 13KOs) came in at 124¾ lb., the lightest he's weighed since his April '13 win over former two-division titlist Celestino Caballero to emerge as a surprise featherweight contender.
The winner will become the mandatory challenger to reigning featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez. Fox Sports 1 will televise the bout live (Monday, 10:00 p.m. ET/9:00 p.m. CT (local) time).
Once upon a time a silver medalist for the 2000 U.S. Olympic boxing team, Juarez was thought to be all but done following a three-year winless stretch before stopping Antonio Escalante in the 8th round of their Oct. '12 war in San Antonio. The win was supposed to breathe new life into his career, but 17 months followed before his next opportunity. It turned out to be well worth the wait, scoring a major upset over Alvarado, who three months prior had stopped Castellanos in nine rounds.
The knockout loss sent Castellanos a few steps back, having gained tremendous momentum following a four-year, 11-fight unbeaten streak that included the aforementioned upset over Caballeros. The 32-year old didn't let the loss disrupt his title dreams, getting right back in the mix with a shockingly one-sided 5th round knockout of previously unbeaten Ronny Rios last October.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America.