CANCUN, Mexico – There will come a time, probably soon, when Jose Luis Castillo decides he wants to fight for a world title again.
Maybe the former lightweight champion will decide it's best he go after a welterweight belt. Or perhaps he'll pursue a super welterweight title.
But after the events of this week, whenever Castillo brings up the notion, someone needs to tell him, "No weigh, so no way, Jose."
Castillo, the man who came the closest to defeating the great Floyd Mayweather Jr., is now best known for failing to make the 135-pound lightweight limit for back-to-back bouts with the late Diego Corrales.
And Castillo was at his scale-busting best again the last few weeks, culminating with his failure to show at a weigh-in at the Cancun Palace on Friday for a bout with Timothy Bradley that was to determine the No. 1 challenger in the WBC's super lightweight division.
Castillo blew off WBC-mandated 30- and seven-day weigh-ins. He hit the scales in front of WBC president Jose Sulaiman and a skeptical media Thursday and weighed 147½ – seven and a half pounds more than the super lightweight limit he'd have to make about 16 hours later.
Castillo looked drawn and lifeless at the scale Thursday. It was plain to anyone who has been around the game for a while that he had no realistic chance to shed the weight.
He showed up about two hours early Friday to test, and he weighed 144¼. Mauricio Sulaiman, the WBC president's son, said doctors determined Castillo was unfit to fight. Castillo, who left before speaking with reporters, issued a statement in which he said he had stomach pain that prevented him from making the weight.
Bradley showed up, weighed in at 139, and Sulaiman decided to make him the mandatory challenger for the title held by Junior Witter.
It was the only fair thing to do, though the question of who Bradley had beaten to qualify for being in the top spot still lingers.
Castillo's position at No. 2 was even more dubious, even forgetting about his past problems with the scale. After getting knocked out by Ricky Hatton in the fourth round of a June 23 bout in Las Vegas, Castillo had one win, over unheralded Adan Casillas, yet somehow vaulted back into position to fight for the right to become the mandatory challenger.
But Castillo's arrogance knows no bounds and, given a huge break from the sanctioning body from his home country, was not bright enough to take advantage of it.
While Bradley worked himself into magnificent condition, Castillo took his typical lax approach to training.
"I had been hearing from friends through the grapevine that he was really heavy," said Bradley, 24, who is 21-0. "He started training camp just last month sometime. But I was hearing through the grapevine that he was a bit heavy. But that was it. I thought he would make the weight."
Bob Arum was hardly surprised. Castillo's one-time promoter, Arum cut ties with Castillo after the loss to Hatton when it seemed obvious that he was through as a world-class fighter.
Arum had been through it in 2005, when Castillo missed the weight for the rematch of his memorable first fight with Corrales. That bout was heralded by many as one of the greatest bouts ever, but Castillo ruined the rematch when he was more than three pounds over the weight for that bout. One of his cornermen, Dr. Armando Barak, attempted to tamper with the scales but was caught by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Corrales opted to fight in a non-title bout and was summarily knocked out. Another nine months later and Castillo missed 135 a second time against Corrales, reducing the tough guy to tears. Castillo came in at 139½ after four tries that day and looked as if he were about to pass out. Handlers literally had to lift him from the floor and help him walk down the hall.
He was suspended for six months and fined a whopping $250,000 by the Nevada commission, but it was clear he didn't learn his lesson.
"You know, he'd have the same kind of trouble with the weight no matter what class he fought in except heavyweight," Arum said Friday. "If he were fighting at middleweight, he'd have the same kind of problems. He doesn't know how to make the weight, even though he thinks he does. He has people around him who don't know how to do it. It's an amateur hour with those guys. We offered when we were promoting him to get him some really top medical people who could help him do it the right way, but he didn't want any part of it. This is no surprise."
It's hard to imagine a promoter taking a chance on him, since his record is so spotty, but if someone sees an opportunity to make a few bucks off of him, it probably will happen.
That puts the onus on all of the sanctioning bodies to remove Castillo from their rankings and put a prohibition against him fighting for a title for two years.
If he wants to box – which, given his physical state, isn't a prudent thing to do – let him do it in non-title bouts where making a specific weight isn't crucial to a card's survival.
"I feel very empathetic and sympathetic and I commiserate with the plight (of Bradley)," promoter Don King said. "This is a black eye to the sport, where the guy just isn't plying his trade. It seems he didn't even train, because he came in at 147-something (Thursday). According to the rules, he was supposed to have been weighed 30 days out and seven days out. He ain't made none of the weights."
And, if it wasn't obvious before, he won't make it again if someone puts him in that position.
The only thing to say, then, is "No way, Jose," when he comes up with the idea of fighting for a belt yet again.
- Jose Luis Castillo