Super bantam Ricardo Castillo is not as well known as his big brother Jose Luis. But he fights a lot like him and, while perhaps not his equal, he’s no slouch. He was 27-3 (17) against respectable competition going into his recent Telefutura-televised bout at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino.
Ricardo had never been stopped and the losses could be explained away; for instance, what were his handlers thinking putting him in against a seasoned Cristobal Cruz in only his 13th fight? (Cruz had been 22-3-1 at the time.) And is there any shame in losing a SD to the excellent South African Takalani Ndlovu?
This time was different, however.
Castillo had never faced anyone like the now 26-2 (18) Celestino Cabalerro. In fact, no 122-pounder has, until he finds himself in the ring with him, staring up this combative beanstalk of a man who blots out the sun.
At 2:02 of the ninth, the nearly 6-foot WBA titlist Caballero received a DQ win over Castillo. Ricadro never quit but big bro Jose Luis entered the ring and said “No Mas!”
No one should question J.L. on the matter. When he says enough is enough, it must be. Few have tested the limits of toughness and grit like this Mexican warrior.
Ricardo was never grotesquely busted up; he was simply soundly beaten and out-boxed, round after round, by a superior boxer. One who might be something very special—but he’ll need to face someone like Rafael Marquez before we can know for sure.
They used the opening frame to feel each other out. By the third Celestino was firmly in control, showcasing a rapier jab that he practically unleashed from across the ring. But the Panamanian is so confident in his game, he decided to not go the safe route and let Castillo work inside.
Even in the one place he could do damage, things were not going too well for Ricardo. He threw a blatant low blow and was docked a point for the infraction. They traded furiously right before the bell, and Castillo landed his best punch of the night, a loaded up right hook that snapped the titlist’s head back.
On top of everything else, Caballero has a good beard. He was unfazed, mentally or physically, by the shot.
Caballero is an exceptionally calm fighter, rarely showing much emotion on his face. But he doesn’t hesitate to ratchet up the intensity when he sees fit. He ripped Castillo’s midsection with wide but punishing hooks. It was more of the same in the sixth. Ricardo started going low again, but this time Celestino went into his bag of tricks, using his forearm and shoulder as weapons.
It was target practice for Celestino in rounds seven and eight. He didn’t throw combinations but threw one punch at a time to great effect. It was a display of the maxim, “Make him miss and then make him pay.” He never muscles a shot. Rather, he unleashes his long arms like a bullwhip.
Going into the ninth Ricardo could no longer hide his dismay. As he anticipated, he looked hapless in that last round. In the last minute Celestino connected flush with a straight right; it froze the other man’s legs and had them do a jig. Rather than just hold on, Castillo body-slammed his slender foe.
Maybe disgusted by his own action, Castillo turned his back and walked away, and was caught off guard when the ref allowed the action to resume. Right at that moment there was a commotion. Whereupon Jose Luis got on the ring apron and declared the fight over.
In the opening televised match, featherweight Adailton De Jesus earned a UD 8 over Noe Bolanos. All three scorecards were 74-78. De Jesus remains undefeated at 19-0 (17), while Bolanos got his first loss, falling to 11-1 (7).
Jorge Paez Jnr. also tasted defeat for the first time as a pro, and is now 13-1 (8). Journeyman Ramon Guevara, now 8-12 (6), caught him with a right hook that knocked him down as if by a gale force wind. Time of stoppage was 2:13 of the fourth.