WBA ‘regular’ titleholder Brian Castano 15-0-1 (11) had to settle for a draw against Erislandy Lara 25-3-3 (14) in their junior middleweight clash at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night.
The undefeated Argentinean got off to strong start before Lara rallied down the stretch, resulting in a split draw decision. Judge Kevin Morgan awarded the fight to Castano 115-113, judge John McKaie had Lara up it 115-113, while judge Julie Lederman couldn’t split the pair at 114-114.
Lara was awarded the final three rounds on all three judges’ scorecards.
“It was a good fight. A clash of styles. I know I won the fight,” said Castano. “I feel I was robbed. If he wants the rematch, I’ll give him the rematch. I waited for him anyway, I can wait for him again if he wants the rematch.”
The aggressive Castano, 29, stalked Lara from the opening bell, delivering eye-catching combinations when he caught Lara on the ropes. After round seven Lara settled into his rhythm, working his southpaw left into the fight.
In the twelfth and final round the 35-year-old Cuban snapped Castano’s had back with some big left hands, including two shots just before the bell that may well have salvaged him the draw.
“It was a great fight, but I saw myself winning eight rounds tonight,” Lara said. “My punches were much more effective. He did have pressure but I was dominating the pressure. I was definitely expecting that pressure because he waited a long time for this fight.”
The fight was seen as a big step up for Castano who, despite a deep amateur career, is still a relative novice in pro terms.
Lara was coming off one of the fights of the year when he lost a razor-thin split decision to reigning WBA and IVF 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd last April.