Boxing is an odd sport in comparison to others given its subjective nature of scoring. In the NFL you score a touchdown it is always six points, in basketball a three pointer is a three pointer, etc you get the point. In boxing the rounds are scored by who wins the round and that is subjective on the various criteria of clean effective punching, ring generalship, effective aggression and defense. A criteria like ring generalship can also be very subjective in nature as well and can explain judges turning in different scorecards. The fact that there is no instant replay of rounds (minus fouls and knockdowns in various commissions) and judges sit in a fixed spot viewing the fight from one angle it is a very hard job. In many fights the class difference is big and the rounds can be easy to score but at the highest level with two contrasting styles jockeying for control it can be tough to score a fight. Due to this reason, I am hesitant to cry robbery in close fights and rarely use the term for clickbait hypoerbolic titles.
With that said, many have labeled the recent fight between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano a robbery. I score a lot of fights and feel I score like a judge as I routinely turn in scores matching the officials. I have a fascination with controversial fights and enjoy scoring them multiple times to try and get perspective as to what the judges were looking for and how they got to the score they turned in. Sure you could say well they were bribed but that takes the fun out of it. In this post I will watch the rounds of the fight scored for Charlo by the judges that differed from my scorecard. I will provide an analysis of each round and a score and by the end tally a scorecard reflecting a change if there is any.
My original score card:
Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Final
Charlo 9 10 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 112
Castano10 9 1010 10 10 10 10 9 9 9 116
Analysis Upon Second Viewing
Round 1: This round was scored by Nelson Vazquez for Charlo and went against the scores from Steve Weisfeld and Tim Cheatham. Minute one sees Castano taking to the front foot and forcing Charlo to retreat though Jermell does not touch the ropes or corner. They each stick out a few jabs but nothing scores as they are caught on each other’s gloves. Tactical initial minute though ring generalship favors Castano despite no scoring work by either. After about thirty seconds Castano patiently walks Charlo back into a corner and throws a few wide punches with both hands and scores one or two punches but nothing solid. Charlo does not budge but does remain in the corner. Charlo tries to jab him away and Castano throws two and has a left hook partially blocked. Castano throws a few set up punches and scores an overhand right to the head, his cleanest punch. Charlo misses or grazes with a follow up combination and Castano stays on top of him. Castano clearly takes minute two of the round with clean punching and ring generalship. Minute number three is more of the same with a measured but aggressive Castano scoring the only meaningful blow with another overhand right with less than ten seconds left.
Score: 10-9 Castano
Thoughts: This is a horrible scoring from Nelson Vazquez as Castano forced the action in the round. Charlo was constantly backed up and was cornered more than once. The only meaningful punching came from Castano as almost everything Charlo threw was caught in the gloves of Castano
Round 4: Nelson Vazquez unilaterally scored this round 10-9 for Charlo and differed from both Weisfeld and Cheatham. Castano and Charlo meet in the middle of the ring at medium range and send out a few probing jabs into each other’s guards. Nothing is effective as Charlo attempts a right hand down the middle but it is blocked. Charlo backs up and tries a few jabs and Castano brings over an overhand right, the crowd cheers but it is tough to tell if it scored. Castano scored a right hand to the body and Charlo backed up toward the ropes and circled all the way out. Castano finished the opening minute with Charlo along the ropes and he scored a light combination and Charlo stuck out a jab that was blocked. Neither fighter dominant in the opening minute but Castano out scored Charlo and kept him backing up. Charlo throws a jab followed by a left hook the Showtime analyst Mauro Renallo calls a landed punch but it landed right on Castano’s glove and did not appear to do any damage. Castano comes forward with about four or five punches and nothing scores cleanly as Charlo comes back with three of his own but Castano alternates blocking with each arm and fends off the response. With 1:26 to go Charlo scores a clean right hand down the middle unblocked though Castano is unmoved. Castano throws alternating hooks one is partially blocked the other scores cleanly. A third shot catches Charlo around the ear and he points to the referee as Castano stays on top of him. Castano goes right cross left hook but misses and the two trade right hands and Charlo’s seems to be the better connect. In the final minute Charlo scores again with a righ hand down the middle but Castano scores another overhand following Jermell’s connection. Castano goes left hook body, right to the head and then a left hook to the head with the first two being partially blocked and the final blow coming in clean. Charlo scores another straight right hand but did not put his weight behind it and Castano returns a partially blocked punch. Castano corners Charlo and scores with two or three punches to finish strong.
Score: 10-9 Castano
Thoughts: Charlo definitely scored some good punches but he was out worked and forced on the back foot all round. Anything Jermell did score with was immediately responded to by Castano and I feel he won this round. Not a horrible score here but I disagree. Charlo is sticking his jab out but it is getting caught on Castano’s right glove constantly, maybe Vazquez is misjudging these from where he is sitting.
Round 5: All three judges agreed on this round for Charlo going against my fight night scorecard. Charlo comes forward a little more to open this round and attempts a one two combination with the jab scoring but he missed the follow up. Still it is his best jab I have seen in the review of this fight so far. Charlo stays on his stick but is not landing but importantly keeps Castano out of range and unable to land. Charlo scores a jab to the body moments later but referee Hector Afu warns Charlo for a low blow. Charlo again goes for the one two and scores a jab but misses the follow up right hand. However, it is another effective jab from Charlo who has a strong first minute but much like the first round hardly scores but Castano does not score anything. Charlo scores a left hook that gets around the guard though it gets slightly caught it scores. Castano responds with a shot of his own and gets back on the front foot. Castano scores a one two and stays right in front of Charlo at punching range. Charlo backs up while jabbing and looks to score one of four as Castano finally gets in range but misses with all three of his punches. The second minute passes with neither in control and it is a closely contested round up until this point. Castano lands a solid jab to the body with no follow up and Charlo scores a jab to the head and they remain at Charlo’s range. Charlo tries a few more jabs and comes up short and shoots a right hand that is blocked. Castano throws four punches with a short right hand landing but not with any power behind it. Castano scores an overhand right that turns Charlo’s body and scores a grazing left hook and stays on the attack. Charlo scores a left hook, right hand, and slips an overhand right at the end of the round.
Score: 10-9 Charlo
Thoughts: Very, very close round and this one was debated in the follow up threads on Boxing Forum 24 and I can see why the judges went for Charlo. I flipped my card here and feel when Jermell is busy with his hands he deters Castano just enough to not swarm him. This gives Charlo activity as Castano’s wanes. Castano still was effective in spots and has a case in this round. I cannot be mad either way with this round. Al Bernstein also scored this round for Charlo as well.
Round 6: Nelson Vazquez and Tim Cheatham scored this round for Charlo continuing Vazquez’s early lead for Charlo and Cheatham following along. Derrick James asked Charlo for more jabs and he comes out and throws four in the opening seventeen seconds and sets up a right hand to the head. Charlo maintains a favorable range for the first minute and has Castano backing up. Charlo gets separation and scores another right hand down the middle near the midway point of the round and Castano comes back with two and puts Charlo on the ropes. Charlo has a left hook blocked and gets hit with a right hand to the head from Castano. Charlo digs a right hand to the body and Castano lowers himself to attack and is countered by a left hook as he falls in. Castano sweeps another overhand right around the guard but he does not have any real power behind it. Charlo wins the second minute of the round and had performed well through the opening two minutes of the round. Charlo gets busy with his hands with about :35 to go and sticks out four straight punches and lands two. Castano takes them but does not get off with any punches in response. Charlo stays in Castano’s range and tries to throw more straight punches but Castano beats him to the punch and scores two hooks to the head in between. Castano presses the action down the stretch and may have stole the round.
Score: 10-9 Castano
Thoughts: This was an extremely close round. I cannot really argue with anyone who scores this for Charlo as I barely scored this for Castano. Charlo out boxed Castano in the first half of the round but Castano finished strong with some eye catching inside work. Both men scored good punches with Charlo doing his best work with a right hand down the middle that Castano took well. Charlo landed a good sneaky left hook as noted above and could be an important punch in a rematch.
Round 8: In the final round of this analysis Vazquez and Cheatham both scored this round for Charlo rounding out the last round where I differed from either judge. Charlo starts off well behind his jab and scores a clean right hand in the opening thirty seconds as Castano is kept at bay. Castano scores with a short left hook to the body as Charlo backs out of range and gets back to a favorable distance. With about 2:10 to go Castano scores a big overhand right clean to the head of Charlo. Castano scores again with a left hook though it has less effect, Charlo throws out a left hook but misses in response. Despite the good boxing from Charlo throughout most of the first minute the biggest punch is from Castano and I feel that it is enough to win the opening minute of the round. Castano scores with a short left hook and moments later lands a short and straight right hand but does not get full weight behind it. It is a nice scoring punch but not a damaging blow. They exchange in close with neither scoring anything significant before going to a clinch. Castano pursues Charlo around the ring as his footwork continues to press and eventually get Charlo stuck and he throws a left hand to set up another right to the head. Charlo throws a jab while backing up and gets trapped again tries a second jab but Castano times and lands another over hand right to the head. With about 1:10 Castano scores a very clean but rare jab to the head and it helps to keep Charlo along the ropes near the neutral corner. Charlos sets up a left hook to the body with a jab to the head and scores both punches. The second minute ends with Charlo scoring a left hook to the body but Castano has won the opening two minutes and is continuing to force the action. Castano doubles his left hook from the body back up to the head and returns his gloves back as Charlo attempted a right hand in response. Charlo tried a few combinations but only hit elbows before getting hit with a clean jab to the head. Charlo came up short with a few jabs in the last thirty seconds and missed short on another right hand.
Score: 10-9 Castano
Thoughts: Really not sure what Cheatham and Vazquez were watching in this round. Vazquez’s scorecard was terrible and way off base in this fight. Cheatham scored this round for Charlo as well and given his 114-114 score this round was part of the clinching for the draw as the final five rounds were pretty easy to score. Castano did some of his best work in the fight during the round and his raised glove at the bell indicate what he felt at the end of the round.
Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Final
Charlo 9 10 9 9 10 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 113
Castano 10 9 10 10 9 10 10 10 9 9 9 115
In my opinion there was only one winner in this fight and that is Brian Castano and I think he deserved this win. Yes the fourth and fifth were very competitive rounds but I feel a fight can be close but clear meaning there are seven definite rounds for one guy and not six or seven for the other. It is a close fight as far as scoring but not open for much debate as Castano clearly won this fight after two viewings of the action. Nelson Vazquez turning in a horrific card giving the first round, fourth round and eighth round to Charlo and unfortunately a reversal there only makes in 114-114 even. Its interesting because Vazquez has judged since the 1980’s and has a wealth of title fight experience and even some high profile fights. I saw two fights I disagree with in his list of decisions but nothing as bad as the card he turned in for Charlo. For Charlo I feel he as at his best when he led in the fight and started the exchanges with his jab. He was able to dictate the action and slow down the normally aggressive Castano from letting loose. Though Castano was pretty good off the back foot for a pressure fighter Charlo was better off of his and is the more dynamic fighter of the two. Though many have argued that Charlo is the bigger puncher and won because he did more damage, Castano rocked Charlo several times and I think the threat of his short punches deterred Charlo from opening up. That said, Charlo will win the rematch in my opinion. I think he found something in the last three rounds and was able to stifle Castano when he backed him up behind a jab. Derrick James called for that type of activity throughout and it finally clicked late. I picked Andre Ward to beat Kovalev in the rematch after their controversial initial encounter as I did Canelo Alvarez to defeat Gennady Golovkin. Both were victorious after making adjustments in the rematch following great efforts by their opponents. I feel Charlo builds upon the experience of the initial encounter and takes home all four titles if they do have their rematch.