There will be no Jose Luis Castillo tonight in Cancun. Timothy Bradley might be there, but now only as a spectator.
ESPN's Dan Rafael reported that Castillo didn't even try for the official weigh-in, as he checked in at 144 1/2 pounds two hours before the fighters were set to tip the scales. Castillo, said Rafael, "quickly left town and headed home to Mexicali after yet another embarrassment."
The WBC is now making Bradley the guaranteed mandatory for Junior Witter's title, an honor that is somewhat dubious given Bradley's lack of track record, but fair considering he was in what was to be an eliminator bout. He was going to fight a decorated ex-champion, and Castillo couldn't get himself in shape.
Where does Castillo go from here? He deserves to be suspended, should be removed from all 140-pound rankings, and should have to legitimately earn his way back into the picture, no matter what division he attempts to tackle next.
At 34 years of age, Castillo (56-8-1, 48 KO) is battle-tested, battle-worn, and just plain past his prime. He has been for a while. I think we all knew it when he so vigorously struggled with Herman Ngoudjo in his 140-pound debut; as solid a fighter as Ngoudjo is, the chinks in Castillo's armor that night were very, very real. After Ricky Hatton dusted him in four pathetic, uncontested rounds, it was all pretty clear that Castillo was a shot fighter.
The fight with Bradley to get a shot at Witter was a gift to Castillo -- one that he hasn't earned at this stage. Yes, the man was once a great fighter. Had he somehow found a way to beat the younger, stronger, fresher, very talented Bradley, Witter would have made mincemeat of him.
And it's another unfortunate blow to his legacy, too. I know we'll remember, first of all, his first fight with Diego Corrales, regarded by many (including myself) as the greatest fight of this generation, and one of the greatest of all-time. I'll remember him as the guy that pushed Floyd Mayweather, Jr., harder than anyone else ever has. I'll remember his gigantic 2000 upset win over Stevie Johnston, his wins over Casamayor, Lazcano and Julio Diaz, and plenty more.
But how much do the three major failed weigh-ins hurt his reputation? A lot. It paints him as someone undedicated to his craft, and if nothing else, boxing fans and pundits love to credit a guy for his class, professionalism, and heart. Castillo's credibility in all three departments has suffered another massive blow.
The least Castillo could do is apologize to Bradley, who just wasted his time training for what was going to be the biggest fight of his career. Bradley could have been fighting someone else.
I hate to say it, but I hope this is the last time we see Jose Luis Castillo. It won't be, as he'll fight more bouts like his October win over Adan Casillas in an attempt to up his bank (which is perfectly admirable, I'm not slamming him for fighting on). But I do think that it is the end of the line for Castillo in major fights. He's too unreliable.