Floyd Mayweather’s 2002 foray into the lightweight division to face WBC Champion Jose Luis Castillo is a fight still argued over to this day. While I would not call it the most controversial decision of the twenty-first century, it is seen by many as an unofficial blemish on Mayweather’s perfect record. I had not scored this fight in a number of years and the last time I did, I scored it 114-113 for Mayweather. This fight had its share of controversy with two point deductions and a possible missed knockdown in the second round. Castillo was also able to outland Mayweather in power punches and total punches according to Compubox which is a crazy feat in and of itself. This was not the easiest fight to score as both men did a good share of their own work. The narrative has always been that Floyd jumped out to a big early lead but I did manage to give Castillo the second round. This time around I had both point deduction rounds 9-9 as I felt the penalized fighter won the round that they were docked in. The official judges scored the fight 115-111 twice and 116-111 once and all three gave Floyd a 10-8 round in the deduction round with two going 9-9 in the round Castillo was docked and the other mysteriously scoring it 10-9. Top Rank Boxing’s promoter Bob Arum complained about the wide nature of the scores. The 116-111 card felt egregious but 115-111 might be reasonable as going 10-8 for the penalty round would have made my card 115-112. Ultimately, Mayweather won this fight on the back of the twelfth round on my card. Two of the three official judges had the final round for Mayweather and admittedly it was a difficult round to award. Mayweather showed a lot of grit standing in with Castillo in round eleven as the two men trades shots in close quarters.
Due to Floyd’s polarizing nature and his legacy largely built on being undefeated, this fight gets amplified a lot in discussions regarding his legacy. The term robbery is thrown out a lot in discussions surrounding this fight. I hesitate in calling any close fight a robbery unless the action in the rounds is quite clear despite a close tally of rounds. There many rounds in this fight where I held my pen and thought about who to give each round to. This is the type of fight where you could watch it a couple of times and have different scorings. I had the fight for Mayweather 114-113 last time and scored it for him by the same score this time. Mayweather did jump out to an early lead winning three of the first four rounds on my scorecard. Castillo came back strong winning three of the next five rounds. With a close fight in the balance, there was a 9-9 tenth round and they split the championship rounds. Give Castillo the final round and he wins the fight on my score. He had an argument for sure but unlike the official judges I gave Castillo round two. So this is one of those scenarios where you can flip one or two rounds here or there and get the same score or a one point flip.
I give both fighters heaps of credit. Castillo fought a very intelligent fight, he did not bring mindless pressure but a measured attack. Castillo jabbed effectively and kept his guard up in place. He also had quick feet and could close the gap effectively and fought Floyd well on the inside and the outside. Mayweather jabbed pretty effectively in many stretches of the fight and used his quick legs to choose when and where to engage. He could limit the exchanges when necessary but bit down and traded when he had to. in round eleven and twelve he stood right in front of Castillo and went to work. He ripped nasty body punches and scored clean effective shots inside. This is a very entertaining fight and interesting clash of styles that all fans should review to better understand this controversial bout. I feel too many people parrot things they have read and heard about this fight without taking the time to watch the thirty six minute contest and form a view of their own.