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."
Ref warns Romero about elbowing. The champion better be careful about that, as he doesn't want to be DQ'd for a fight he's winning. Romero clips Yigit with a right to the jaw. Right and a sweeping left land for Romero at the bell, as we're halfway through. (10-9 Romero, 59-53 Romero)
Yigit is eating punches but still pressuring Romero. The champ digs a left to the body and sticks a right upstairs to pop Yigit's head back. Yigit goes to the body now with a right and follows with a left upstairs that connects flush. Yigit with another left — this time to the body. This has been Yigit's best round of work yet. The ref penalizes Romero a point for punching while he was trying to break the action. But Romero drops Yigit right at the bell with a hard right. (9-8 Romero, 49-44 Romero)
Yigit with a cut around his left eye. Yigit misses with a left and gets stung with a right. They exchange and Romero gets the best of the action with a right. Three-punch combo from the champ splits Yigit's guard. Romero again brushes Yigit back with a powerful right. The champ doubles up with two rights to the chest. (10-9 Romero, 40-36 Romero)
Yigit trying to pressure Romero, but the champ is sitting back and picking his shots. Some of his output is landing precisely, while the other attempts are missing their mark. Romero is awkward with his angles, but that's part of his charm. (10-9 Romero, 30-27 Romero)
Yigit tags Romero with a slapping left, but the champ is unfazed. Romero digs a shot in to the body. Big right hand lands for Romero, as he pushes Yigit back. The interim champ unloads on another right to the body. (10-9 Romero, 20-18 Romero)
A left to the body makes Yigit off balance early, but the challenger is still standing. Romero advancing with that left jab, as he flicks it out there and connects a few times. Big right hand to the head brushes Yigit back. Romero absolutely unloaded on that shot with bad intentions. He's trying to get Yigit out of here. (10-9 Romero)
Rolando "Rolly" Romero vs. Anthony Yigit for Romero's WBA interim lightweight title is on deck. Yigit is a late replacement who weighed in 5.2 pounds over the 135-pound lightweight limit for this fight.
Judges have it 95-95, 97-93, and 97-93 for a majority decision toward Vidal. Didn't agree with that verdict. While Vidal had the thumping punches, I thought Aleem fought the more spirited fight — enough to nip it or get a draw at the least, but not lose. Vidal remains undefeated as his quest to become the first male world champion from Uruguay continues.
Hell of a fight to open this main card. Over 1,200 punches were thrown, as Vidal was the heavier puncher, especially to the body while Aleem pieced together the sharper combinations to negate some of the Uruguayan's power. But more than anything, this 10-round fight had both middleweights willing and able to trade power inside. Let's see how the judges score this one.
Aleem brushes Vidal back with a left hook in the eighth
Aleem stuns and bounces Vidal off the ropes with a whiplashing, lunging left hook, though Vidal puts his gloves up and keeps walking him down to bash the body. Aleem ends the round with another pulverizing left hook. He is throwing the sharper combinations. Vidal's body work is relentless, though, and we'll see if that recurring investment can help decide the fight.
Vidal rocks Aleem with a crushing left hook to the liver late in the round. Aleem immediately grimaces and attempts to protect his body, while Vidal follows up with two right hooks to the head and a straight right moments later.
After the second round, Shields tells Aleem to stay off the ropes and work in the middle of the ring. Easier said than done, as Vidal plows forward in the third and flashes his power with a right hook, uppercut and liver shot to put Aleem on notice of his thumping.
We start things off with Amilcar Vidal vs. Immanuwel Aleem in middleweight action. Aleem, who suffered a majority decision loss to Ronald Ellis in December 2019, is now trained by Ronnie Shields. The undefeated Vidal is trying to become the first male world champion from Uruguay.