Erislandy Lara wanted to prove he was still among the best fighters at 154 pounds, and Brian Castano wanted to prove he’s legitimately one of them himself.
The good news: you can argue they both achieved their goals tonight. The bad news — or at least the not-so-great news: the result was an unsatisfying split draw, with Castano retaining his WBA secondary “world” junior middleweight title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
One judge had it 115-113 for Lara, another had it 115-113 for Castano, and the third had it even, 114-114, for the split draw. BLH had two cards of 115-113 for Lara.
Lara (25-3-3, 14 KO) was looking to bounce back from his April 2018 loss to Jarrett Hurd in what went down as the widely-accepted Fight of the Year. The Cuban southpaw worked effectively at range tonight, while Castano (15-0-1, 11 KO) did better when he could get on the inside.
It’s another outcome that the veteran Lara is disappointed with, feeling that he deserved the win.
“It was a great fight, but I see myself winning eight rounds tonight,” Lara said through an interpreter. “My punches were clearer, more effective. He did have pressure, but I was dominating the pressure.” He added, “Again, I am demonstrating that I’m not old. I’m still fine-tuned.”
Lara said he would rematch Castano or Jarrett Hurd, when asked about what might be next for him as he closes in on his 36th birthday next month.
As for Castano, it was the biggest fight of his career and he proved he can hang at the real top level of the division.
“It was definitely a good fight. I think I won the fight, I think I was robbed,” Castano said, also through an interpreter. “If we need to have the rematch, I’ll have the rematch with him, but I think I won the fight.”
Pressed about doing the rematch next, Castano said, “I welcome the rematch, and if he doesn’t want to fight, I welcome anybody else who wants to fight me.”