Sharkie’s Machine: Casamayor vs Katsidis, a Great Fight!
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., Exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (March 26, 2008) Photo © German Villasenor  
WBC Lightweight champion Joel Casamayor returned to the ring Saturday night to face Michael Katsidis the former WBO Interim Lightweight champ. It was an action packed fight that saw Joel Casamayor electrify the crowd with a pair of first round knock downs over the very game and marketable Katsidis, who got up and turned it into a fight worthy of remembrance.

Casamayor is a cagey, mature champion, who has sneaky power, slick defensive skills and very accurate
punching. Katsidis is a young upstart with good power and the demeanor of a true ring warrior.

The Fight:

Round One
The first round started with Casamayor’s first punch putting Katsidis down. After beating the count, Casamayor went for the finish and landed another shot that floored Katsidis only seconds after the first knock down.  Casamayor punched Katsidis while he was down but drew no penalty. Katsidis got up, steadied him self and survived the round. Easily a 10-7 round for Casamayor.

Round Two
Katsidis left eye was reddened, his face already starting to swell as he engaged Casamayor, who popped him with jabs and was playing matador to Katsidis’ bull. Casamayor was too fast, too accurate and too difficult to hit. Katsidis landed a right hand to the face that sent Casamayor backwards into
the ropes. Katsidis kept coming forward and did manage to score a few good punches. He was warned for a low punch during a late exchange with Casamayor. Katsidis was game but looked to be in over his head as Casamayor let him come forward so he could counter and score. Katsidis managed to connect with good shots later in the round and Casamayor took notice of his power. Casamayor taunted Katsidis after the bell and the ref steered them apart.

Round Three
Casamayor was in charge, moving well, skillfully popping his jabs and combos and making Katsidis miss early on. Katsidis landed what looked like a lucky punch that sparked him to rally and score some more. Katsidis was able to land a few shots to the body and Casamayor backed into the ropes and Katsidis went after him, lending some change to the momentum of the fight. Casamayor used his superior skills to neutralize Katsidis sudden rise in confidence by using slick moves and making him miss.

Round Four
Casamayor eludes Katsidis, but Katsidis is relentless and keeps coming, mindful to throw shots to the body in close and scoring. During a close exchange, Katsidis unleashed a right, left hook, right cross and another left hand combo that staggered Casamayor, who held Katsidis, forcing a reset. Katsidis started throwing more uppercuts inside and catching Casamayor more frequently. Katsidis went for the kill, pouring it on while Casamayor was hurt and on shaky legs. Casamayor took a few more clean shots to the head from Katsidis as they brawled in the corner in the last 30 seconds. Ref warned Casamayor for a low blow. Casamayor scored some round ending punches. Clearly Katsidis best round.

Round Five
Katsidis picked up where round four ended, pressuring Casamayor and always trading shots and going to the body. Katsidis landed a solid right near the corner ropes. Katsidis made a critical adjustment in keeping his right hand up high to guard against Casamayor’s left hand. Katsidis had turned the tide and was now controlling the tempo as Casamayor was forced into a defensive posture to ward off the crashing punches of Katsidis. Katsidis warned for a low blow. Katsidis focus on the body was paying off as Casamayor was starting to slow a bit. It was Casamayor who had to respect Katsidis’ power at that point.

Round Six
Katsidis was pressuring Casamayor and forcing him into the ropes and letting the leather fly. Casamayor took a few big shots and was looking less impressive by the minute. The ref warned Casamayor for a low punch. Casamayor kept finding himself in the corner ropes. Katsidis all over him. A Katsidis left hook knocked Casamayor through the ropes and out the ring. Casamayor comes back fine. Katsidis went for the kill and Casamayor survived. Katsidis’ bodywork was paying off.

Casamayor’s corner tells him, “Don’t wait, don’t wait!”

Round Seven
In the opening moment of the first round, Katsidis pressed Casamayor, who grabbed onto him and Katsidis pushed him off and Casamayor slipped to the canvas. The ref warned Katsidis. When action resumed, Katsidis landed a left hook right into Casamayor’s face, where? Up near the ropes. Katsidis landed more frequently and Casamayor moved move and was doing less. Katsidis landing inside with clean shots up and down. It was a brawl, which favored Katsidis at that point. Katsidis again scored up and down on Casamayor against the ropes.

Round Eight
Casamayor boxes from the outside, popped his jab, Katsidis charged in to brawl, doing his best work near the ropes. Casamayor showed a hell of a chin as Katsidis was landing a lot of clean shots to the face. Katsidis jabbed right into Casamayor’s face. Casamayor looked slowed. They traded and both scored. Katsidis did more and is hurting Casamayor.

Round Nine
Katsidis landed the first meaningful punches to start the round. Casamayor threw a very low blow. The ref stopped the action and took a point from Casamayor, who had been warned a couple of times prior about low punches and this one being the lowest of the low. Interestingly, HBO’s Max Kellerman remarked that he didn’t like the call because since Casamayor usually fouls ‘outside of the refs view’ and this foul was right in his view, so the ref should have took it as unintentional. That was the dumbest thing I heard him say since last time. So, it’s ok to take a point if a guy fouls opposite the ref’s view but not cool to do so if a guy fouls directly in view. Ok. Somebody call Guinness.
When action resumed, it was more of the same with Katsidis chasing Casamayor around the ring, always punching and taking some good shots back from Casamayor in return. Quietly, Casamayor was changing the tide yet again, this time in his favor. Those shots slowed Katsidis down a bit and Casamayor was able to pick him off with some good power punches. Casamayor landed a couple of left hooks before the bell.

Round Ten
It started with a bang as met at center ring. Katsidis took a wild swing; Casamayor ducked and wrapped him up. They reset and Katsidis chased Casamayor into the corner ropes but Casamayor turned, landed a stinging left check hook that jerked Katsidis head sideways. He fell on his seat as he tried to hold himself up on the ropes. It was a knockdown and the ref counted. Katsidis was but looked weak. On shaky legs, Katsidis pressed Casamayor into the ropes. Casamayor landed combination left hook, right cross and Katsidis looked stunned as the referee stepped between them and stopped it. I thought the stoppage had some question marks attached to it. For one, Katsidis showed in the first round how tough he was and came back after being downed twice in a matter of seconds but in the tenth, after being down once and still pressing forward, the ref stopped it? Maybe he saw something I didn’t. I thought Katsidis may have regained his legs and continued but suddenly, that wasn’t an option. I have no doubt that the ref did what he thought was in the best interest of the fighter.

It was over. Joel Casamayor was the winner by TKO 10.

* *

Some may say the stoppage was controversial, especially since Katsidis was still on his feet and still fighting when the ref stopped it. But it is what it is now. Being undefeated is way over rated and this kind of valuable experience helps shape younger fighters to be better in future fights. As good as Casamayor is, Katsidis managed to do some damage and even looked to be taking over the fight in the middle rounds. One thing that Katsidis might consider in the future is using the feint more often so his punches won’t be so predictable and he can learn to counter a counter puncher better instead of just swarming his opponents recklessly.

Katsidis applies the kind of pressure that is reminiscent of Ricky Hatton and his volume of work overcomes many of his short comings. He lost this fight but he certainly gained plenty of new fans and new popularity after his valiant performance Saturday night against arguably one of the two best fighters in the division. (I think Nate Campbell is the best in the division now but Casamayor did beat him a few years ago. Not that that means he would beat him again but we won’t be finding out anyway so…speculation will have to suffice for now.)

Casamayor expressed zero interest in fighting Campbell again and instead says he wants to go for the high profile, big money fights. That’s understandable, considering that at age 36, Casamayor don’t have much time left on the meter. It is unfortunate that boxing does not have a sturdier administration and a legit rankings system that would mandate Casamayor to fight Campbell. I know it’s a fight I’d want to see. Casamayor wants Manny Pacquaio, who to my amazement, is already slated to fight David Diaz in a few months. I can’t understand how it is that David Diaz is not mandated to fight Casamayor and stop this charade of two champions in the same weight class in the WBC.

As for Katsidis, I’d like to see him fight Anthony Peterson, Amir Khan and of course, David Diaz. With a little tweaking, Katsidis will be a champion. Kudos to both Casamayor and Katsidis for a wildly entertaining fight.

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