Casamayor sends Katsidis out on his shield in a wild one
By Gabriel Montoya Reporting from Ringside, Doghouse Boxing (March 23, 2008) Photo © German Villasenor          
Cabazon, Cali -.Under the hangar-like area designated for the ring, the cool desert breeze rolled through a wild, sold out crowd Saturday night for the battle between Joel “El Cepillo” Casamayor and Michael Katsidis for the linear lightweight title televised by HBO Boxing After Dark. They would be rewarded for their enthusiasm with two great fights.

Katsidis entered wearing his trademark Spartan helmet to raucous applause. Casamayor had an atypically
energetic entrance as well. It seemed as if both couldn’t wait to get started, pacing and dancing in front of the other.

The action didn’t wait as both men met at center ring and Casamayor hurt and dropped Katsidis with the first hard left he landed. Katsidis would rise quickly but would be dropped back on the seat of his pants again by another left. He would rise but that left hand landing at will was foreshadowing what would come later.

In the second and third, Katsidis began defending the left better and digging into the Casamayor’s body. His nose bleeding and face swelling rapidly, Katsidis worked his way inside and closed the gap through a hail of one two’s from the Cuban fighter. I began to wonder how long Katsidis’ face could hold together through all this.

In the fourth, Katsidis would find himself very much back in the fight as a left hook caught and hurt Casamayor. Katsidis would begin to zero in with his
right hand as well and it seemed as if will and youth was beginning to overtake skill and guile. Katsidis’ hard body shots could be heard throughout the arena and the crowd – including press row – oooed and aaahed every time they did.

Casamayor, feeling the surge of the younger man, began to dig into his veterans’ bag of tricks. Head butts, low blows, and clinches were the order of the day and he tried to stave off the momentum of Katsidis.

In the sixth, Katsidis would find himself all the way back into the fight as he dropped a left uppercut bomb to the solar plexus on Casamayor that sent him reeling to the ropes. Another left and a right knocked Casamayor through the ropes and he just made the count back in.

In the seventh and eighth, Casamayor’s legs weren’t all the way back as he tried to box and move long enough to get his legs under him. It seemed to be working and although Katsidis was still digging to that body, he couldn’t cut the ring off against the crafty vet.

Casamayor would be deducted a point in the ninth for a blatant low blow. But by this time, his legs were back and the fight was on pretty even terms.

But in the tenth, all of Katsidis guts and glory would be for naught as he was caught by a left hand coming in on Casamayor. He dropped hard and was hurt badly, rising on shaky legs. He bounced up and down, trying to get his legs under him and referee John Schorle allowed him to continue. Casamayor seized his chance though and landed three hard shots prompting the ref to jump in (a bit quickly in my opinion) and stop the contest at 0:30 of the 10th round.

“What can I say?” asked Katsidis. “I did my best. Age is wasted on the young. I stuck to my gameplan. I got excited and I went for it and threw it all out the window.”

Casamayor, the linear lightweight champ, called out Nate Campbell, the champ holding three of the four major sanctioning body belts. “I will fight Campbell on three weeks notice and beat him. But I am looking for bigger, better names.”

The champ also assessed young Katsidis. “[Katsidis] didn’t hit as hard. He needs to hit harder than that to stay with me.”

In the co-feature, Librado Andrade worked his quicksand magic on a very game Robert Steiglitz to earn an exciting 8th round TKO.

From the outset, Steiglitz worked behind a speedy jab and right hand that looked to land with power. But Andrade, as is generally the case, worked his way into a rhythm and began to bang away at Steiglitz with body shots and uppercuts. By the third, Steiglitz was bloody to the nose from the constant barrage of uppercuts and long right hands from Andrade.

Every time it seemed that Steiglitz was going to fold however, he came right back. “He was in great condition,” said Andrade afterwards. “I kept all my shots to the head because I didn’t want him to see that I was going to go to the body. I hurt him to the body.”

Hurt him he did. Both men traded hard shots. In the beginning of most rounds, Steiglitz would come out fast and strong but Andrade would wear him down and be beating him along the ropes at rounds end.

Entering the middle rounds, Andrade seized control with vicious body shots and brutal uppercuts.

In the eighth, Steiglitz came out hard, throwing all he had. A looping right stunned Andrade, who turned around and landed a long right hand of his own that hurt Steiglitz badly and sent him to the ropes. A follow up barrage of 5-6 punches was all the ref needed to wave it off.
“I love this sport,“ said Andrade. “I will be a world champion or die trying. This is for my family and for Mexico.”

“I’m really upset,” said Steiglitz. “It was a close fight. I hoped to get him in the second half of the fight. It was a lucky punch that caught me and the ref stopped me.”

Gabriel at:

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