By Stephen Hart at ringside
Photos: Tom Casino/Showtime
How can you make neither side happy? See the result of Saturday night’s Brian Castano vs. Erislandy Lara WBA super welterweight championship bout at Barclays Center in Brooklyn for evidence.
The champion Castano built up a big lead early, only to see former champ Lara rally late. It translated into a split-decision draw, allowing Castano to retain the belt. Judge Kevin Morgan had it 115-113 Castano, judge John McKaie scored it 115-113 Lara, while judge Julie Lederman had it dead even at 114-114.
All three judges had Lara winning the final three rounds.
Castano (15-0-1, 11 KOs) controlled the first seven rounds, often unleashing a barrage of combinations with Lara backed up into his own corner. Six years Lara’s junior, the dynamic Argentinian appeared as if he would roll to an easy defense of his title.
“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 do Anyway I can wait for him again if he wants the rematch.”
But the 35-year-old Lara (25-3-3, 14 KOs) rallied behind his greatest weapon – a straight left hand that was relentless over the final five rounds, piercing the defense of Castano and piling up points.
Sensing he needed to win the final round to have any chance, the Cuban rocked Castano with a big straight left to open the 12th, only to see that trigger an impressive flurry from the champ.
The tale of two bouts ended with Lara registering two big shots to Castano’s head – possibly earning him the round and 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.”