Jose Luis Castillo grinds one out against Ivan Popoca
For the first two rounds, it seemed like the Jose Luis Castillo of old. For the next seven rounds, he wasn’t so bad either.
In the co-main event of ESPN 2’s Friday Night Fights, former lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo, 64-11-1 (55), dismantled Ivan Popoca, 15-2-1, over eight rounds before Referee Pete Podgroski stopped the fight due to cuts above Popoca’s eyes.
Castillo, 147, started off strong by landing his signature left hook to stun Popoca against the ropes. Popoca, who hadn’t fought in a year and a half, remained defenseless as Castillo earned a 10-8 round without a knockdown.
“El Telimbe” carried the momentum into the next round with landing another crisp left hook that sent Popoca to the floor. Popoca arose and recovered towards the end of the round.
The two fighters came to a clash of heads in round three that caused a gash over Popoca’s left eye. Popoca’s face became even worse when a cut, caused by a punch, opened up a deeper cut over the fighter’s right eye. Despite this, Popoca continued to plunge forward delivering great action to the Chicago crowd.
The fight took an even more interesting turn in round six after Castillo seemingly hurt his left hand after landing it. For the next two rounds, Castillo boxed with only his right hand with mixed results.
Still, with Popoca’s face decorated in his own blood, referee Pete Podgroski stopped the fight in between rounds eight and nine. It was an unpopular decision as the Chicago crowd booed, but the referee defends it.
“I talked to the corner two rounds before this to show me something,” Podgroski told Maxboxing. “One cut was from a headbutt, one was from a punch, that’s why it was a TKO instead of going to the cards.”
“The next round if he didn’t show me something, I was going to stop it. He didn’t.”
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