Two undeniable rounds from Charlo against constant pressure from Castano wound up closing the bout with controversial scorecards.
It was supposed to coronate boxing's first undisputed king at junior middleweight during the modern four-belt era.
Instead, the major fight ended in neither Jermell Charlo nor Brian Castano reaching boxing's hallowed ground as they fought to a controversial split-decision draw at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Tex. on Saturday night. Judges had it 114-113 for Castano, an inexplicable 117-111 for Charlo and 114-114. DAZN News scored it 114-114.
Charlo clipped Castano with a counter left hook in the second and wobbled the Argentinian with an offensive burst in the 10th round for his strongest frames of the fight. But there's no denying Castano's pressure for a majority of the bout as he brought the fight to the unified world champion.
Castano clipped Charlo with a left hook in the third round and consistently closed the gap thereafter, getting inside of Charlo's power jab whenever he bit down and committed to doing so.
DAZN News had Castano up 87-84 entering the 10th round. Despite Charlo winning the 10th and arguably the 11th and 12th rounds, the 117-111 scorecard in his favor was definitely a head-scratcher.
So, despite looking to become just the sixth man to be crowned undisputed champion during the four-belt era in boxing history, Charlo retains his WBA (Super), WBC, and IBF titles, while Castano holds onto his WBO championship with the taste of unfinished business in their mouths.
Both Charlo and Castano felt like they did enough to win the fight.
"The draw wasn't what I wanted to hear," Charlo told Jim Gray on Showtime. "If anything, I won this fight. I hurt him way more than he did."
Charlo added: "This is my first time experiencing something like this."
Trainer Derrick James tells Charlo that he needs a knockout to win this fight. Charlo has to let his hands fly. Charlo with repeated left-right jab combinations, keeping Castano at bay. Castano lunges and grazes Charlo with a right. Left hook from Castano clips Charlo who fires back with a right hand. Charlo peppers Castano who returns the favor doubling up on a left hook. They exchange punches to the bell. Charlo manages to get the better of the action ever so slightly. Let's see how judges score this. Some very close rounds in this fight. (10-9 Charlo, 114-114)
Chopping right hand lands for Charlo who is bringing the heat and looking for a game-changing shot that he needs to win at this point. Charlo doubles up with lefts. Right-left combo from Castano. Left jab pops Charlo's head back. Lunging left hook lands for Castano. Big uppercut the other way from Charlo but Castano returns fire. Great end to the round. (10-9 Charlo, 105-104 Castano)
Charlo letting go his hands a bit more and he needs to do just that. Left hook lands for Castano but Charlo counters with a big right. He's now giving chase to Castano and lands a piercing left hook. Another big right hook from Charlo, who has Castano on his bike all around the ring. A right from Charlo bounces Castano off the ropes. now a left hook lands for Charlo. Right hand and another from Charlo. Left-right combo from Charlo lands. Castano bites down and returns fire. Charlo's best round of the fight — no doubt. (10-9 Charlo, 96-94 Castano)
Charlo with a lightning-quick left-right combination straight down the middle. Castano eats the punches and continues to press forward. Charlo pops Castano's head back with a jab. Castano with a flurry but Charlo doesn't absorb much punishment there. Right hand lands for Castano, who continues to bring the fight to the unified champ. (10-9 Castano, 87-84 Castano)
Castano with a short right hook. A short left hook lands for Castano moments later. Castano is closing the distance extremely effectively. Castano keeps pressing, as Charlo may have to increase his output to prevent giving up rounds. (10-9 Castano, 77-75 Castano)
Castano effectively closing the distance with pressure when he commits to it and it has been happening every round. He lands an overhand right, which puts Charlo on his wheels around the ring. Castano bringing the pressure with a chopping right hand and left to the liver. Charlo splits the guard with a short right hand. (10-9 Castano, 67-66 Castano)
Charlo goes back to the power jab, looking to unload something even more impactful. Charlo stepping into that jab with some mustard on it. He throws a three-punch combo but Castano comes back with a lunging right hand. Charlo goes to the body but Castano lands another right. Charlo counters and gets off the ropes skillfully. Charlo splits the guard and peppers Castano, but Castano closes the gap with a quick flurry. (10-9 Charlo, 57-57)
Charlo splits Castano's guard with a crisp straight right jab. Then, goes to the body with a right. Sniping while looking to unload on a power shot has been Charlo's game thus far. Lead right lands for Castano now. Castano is doing a good job of getting inside Charlo's jab and he's doing it with guts. Right hand lands with power for Castano, but Charlo goes back to asserting the jab. Castano again rallies to take the round. (10-9 Castano, 48-47 Castano)
Castano opens up going to the body, crouching low to get those shots in. The investment to the body is important for the Argentinian in hopes of slowing Charlo down. Charlo with a right hand. Sweeping left hook follows for the unified champ. Right hook lands for Castano to the head of Charlo, who thought the punch was behind the head. Castano clips Charlo's jaw now, too. Castano picking up his volume of punches yet again. (10-9 Castano, 38-38)
Crisp left jab landing for Charlo as Castano tries to invest to the body with right hands. Castano is going to need to get inside of Charlo's jab or he's going to struggle. Right hand splits Castano's guard. Castano clips Charlo with a left hook. Oh my! Charlo did not see that punch coming at all. He blasts him again — this time with an uppercut — and steals the round. (10-9 Castano, 29-28 Charlo)
He then tees off with a right hand. Castano cannot afford to come in so wildly again. Charlo just sent him a stern warning of what could happen. Charlo hurt Castano with that left hook. (10-9 Charlo, 20-18 Charlo)
Charlo splits Castano's guard with a crisp left jab. The unified champ will definitely be looking to assert the jab early. Castano now picking up the volume with a left to the body and a right upstairs. Volume punching is the Argentinian's game. Charlo being patient, gathering intel and looking for an opening. Brief flurry between the two ensues. Castano trying to pressure, lands a right to the body. Castano with a left to the body. Charlo wraps a left hook around Castano's guard. Castano the more active boxer, Charlo the cleaner puncher. (10-9 Charlo)