Jermell Charlo knocks out Brian Castano to become 154-pound king

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Jermell Charlo made the scoring irrelevant the second time around. As a result, he clinched a career defining victory.

Charlo and Brian Castano were engaged in a thrilling back-and-forth battle when Charlo decided enough was enough, putting Castano down with a left hook in the 10th round and then ending the fight moments later to become undisputed 154-pound champion Saturday in Carson, California.

“This is unbelievable,” a jubilant Charlo said immediately afterward.

The rivals had to settle for a hard-fought draw in July, which most observers felt was justified. And, to the delight of those watching, the rematch also was compelling for nine-plus rounds.

Castano did what he does, which is to stalk his opponents and fire off accurate power shots for almost the entire fight. He pushed Charlo hard.

For his part Charlo did an excellent job of catching Castano with punishing blows as he was moving toward him. He also was able to use his feet to avoid being pinned against the ropes, where Castano did good work in their first fight.

The result was a competitive, highly entertaining fight, although the judges had Charlo well ahead on the cards after nine rounds: 89-82, 88-83 and 87-84. Boxing Junkie had Charlo winning 86-85.

Again, however, the cards meant nothing in the end.

By the 10th round, Charlo had seized the momentum and was landing power shots at a higher rate. One of them essentially ended the fight, a left hook to the temple that dazed and dropped the normally durable Castano.

The Argentine was able to get to his feet. However, a flurry of punches from Charlo – punctuated by a left hook to the body – put Castano down again and ended the fight, making Charlo the 154-pound king.

“Around the seventh round I started sitting down a little bit more [on my punches] instead of boxing so much and running around,” he said. “I started to see he was wearing down a little bit, I was wearing him down. And I stepped up.

He went on: “I just started seeing my punches being more affective. That’s what happened.”

Castano (17-1-2, 12 KOs) was gracious afterward, as the fighters congratulated one another on a great fight.

And he made no excuses.

“It was an incredible fight,” he said through a translator. “We both were fighting back and forth, there was power back and forth. And his [left] hand came over and he won the fight. He’s a champion.”

Castano was then asked what the difference was in their two fights. “That he got me,” he said with a smile.

Charlo hasn’t indicated what his plans might be going forward. He obviously can’t accomplish much more at junior middleweight, although potential fights loom with the likes of Tim Tszyu and Sebastian Fundora.

And, of course, there’s another possibility.

“I’m not done, dog,” he bellowed. “I might move up to 160 and see if I can do it again.”

No one would put that past him.

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