Weekend wrap-up: Taylor, Castillo, Lacy, Peter, Juarez and Lyakhovich all victorious
By Benny Henderson Jr. (December 5, 2004)  
Photo © Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
This weekend had it all for the "sweet science”. Three networks, five weight classes, fifty rounds of boxing, five title bouts, two knockouts, three unanimous decisions, one split decision, twelve warriors of the ring and one hell of a replay. Woo-hoo, what a night for a fight and what great fun and entertainment for the entire boxing world to witness! What a weekend to be a fight fan, you had your choice of six different bouts and somewhere in the mix if you are a fight fan you had to be pleased with one of the performances or outcomes. Some of the fighters showed promise, a few illustrated they were at the end of careers and couple more showed that they are the future of the game. Read on to find out who sank and who swam.

Jose Castillo-Joel Casamayor
WBC Lightweight Title

The highly anticipated match-up between the former WBA super featherweight champion Joel Casamayor and reigning WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo proved to be more of a sideshow at times with the fans expressing their lack of approval with the outspoken boos. With the slips, holds and Castillo wanting to actually fight after the bell, it wasn’t what was expected but it was what it was. Throughout the bout Casamayor landed the better shots while Castillo landing chopping shots to the body when the two held in the fight. The referee had to warn both fighters for the holding in round five but it was an all out assault when Castillo went after Casamayor after the bell sounded in round eight prompting both corners to jump in and halt the crazed Castillo. Round ten was definitely the most entertaining round of the night with the two trading shots while the fans got up out of their seats to cheer the fighters on. In the end Castillo would keep his title with a split decision by scores of 117-111, 116-112, 113-115 that proved the judges at times are as blind as bats, and yes, I am saying that Casamayor took this one.

Jeff Lacy-Omar Sheika
IBF Super Middleweight Title

Even though the third time is often a charm, the scenario didn’t play out for the bar brawling Omar Sheika. It was however without a doubt one of the best performances of the weekend. Undefeated Jeff Lacy remains that way but it damn sure wasn’t easy for the IBF champ. In round one Lacy showcased his power landing the big right hand backing up Sheika while the more experienced fighter picked away with quick combinations and landed a big powered overhand right of his own in round two stunning Lacy momentarily. Rounds three through six featured more of the same with the two trading power shots and the continuous holding from Sheika forcing the referee to warn both fighters for the tactics. Throughout the rest of the bout Lacy landed the power shots while Sheika delivered pin-point punches, but in the end it wasn’t enough for Omar who now drops to 0-3 in world title fights. When the judges tabulated their scores they read 115-113, 115-113, 117-111 all for the winner and still IBF super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy. In the end Lacy stated that he had a Kung Fu grip on his belt and boxing needed somebody like the 'Left Hook', while the warrior in defeat Omar Sheika stated that he felt he did enough to pull it off.

Samuel Peter-Jeremy Williams
Vacant NABF Heavyweight Title

The heavyweight class is looking for that one superstar to break the division wide open and bring it out of the brink of extinction. Whether or not you believe that heavyweight future star will be Samuel Peter you must agree that he has one hell of a punch, even if it was on display against the suspect chin of Jeremy Williams. Before the NABF heavyweight title match-up the hard hitting 'Nigerian Nightmare' predicted a second round KO and boy did he deliver. Round one had Williams working the jab while Peter missed the power shots he was slowly trying to deliver against the much speedier Williams. It appeared that Williams’ fight plan was to run around the big man, picking off shots until the end of the fight or until he got caught, and got caught he did. Twenty-seven seconds in round two Samuel planted a thunderous sweeping left hook to Williams’ noggin that sent the 'Half Man Half Amazing' Williams to the canvas unconscious and later to the hospital to be treated for a concussion. After Williams hit the canvas with a thud referee Toby Gibson made it to the count of four and then waved the fight off as he had seen enough. After the bout the winner and new NABF heavyweight title holder Peter pretty much stated the he was the real man, this is the beginning of his journey and he wants Vitali Klitschko. The dazed and confused Williams simply said, “If I can’t beat this guy who can I beat?” He didn’t even realize he had been knocked out until the ringside physician along with his corner explained to him what had happened. So did this answer any questions for the future of Samuel Peter and the heavyweight division? You tell me.

Jermain Taylor-William Joppy
WBC Continental Americas Middleweight Title

Joppy, Joppy, Joppy, what on earth were you thinking? After a one-year lay off former champion William Joppy returned to the ring to face the young undefeated Jermain Taylor to take a shot at the youngster’s middleweight title. Well, the experienced veteran set a fast pace in the beginning of round one but towards the final seconds of the round the young lion marked his territory with a rocking uppercut that sent Joppy reeling until the sound of the bell. Taylor scraped Joppy’s eye in round two, which left the veteran with sight in one eye for a bit, but it didn’t alter the outcome. 'Bad Intentions' is what Taylor laid on the eleven-year veteran with the power shots and uppercuts he was able to land at will. In the fifth round the left hook sent Joppy to the floor and searching for reasons, so he decided to pick Taylor up during a hold only to get scolded by the referee for doing so. Joppy more or less knew the end was near so he stayed away most of the rounds to lose the bout by scores of 120-107 across all three card. It was Taylor's third successfully defense of his WBC Continental Americas title since winning it in 2003.

Dominick Guinn-Serguei Lyakhovich

We start off Friday night on ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights with highly regarded heavyweight prospect Dominick Guinn falling to 28-2 (18) as he failed to get the win against Russian underdog Serguei Lyakhovich, who now moves up to 22-1 (14), in a ten round bout at Bally’s Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. 'The Southern Disaster' was on the comeback trail after his first disappointing loss to Monte Barrett nine months ago by ten round split decision and once again the twenty-nine year old found defeat in what seemed to be a half-hearted, unmotivated attempt to win against what would appear to be an easy W for the Arkansan. Guinn, who captured a slew of amateur titles and earned a bronze medal at the Goodwill Games, stepped in the pro ranks in 2000 and went on a twenty-four bout-winning streak including victories over Michael Grant and Duncan Dokiwari. Guinn was on a roll when he faced Monte Barrett in his home state back in March of this year and fought a close fight but took the loss. In his comeback fight it only took Guinn one round to dispose of fight veteran Phil Jackson and he was embarking on another victory when the 'White Wolf' proved to be a spoiler. Looking at the paper Lyakhovich would appear to be a fine candidate as a steeping stone for Guinn, but proved if you throw the stone hard enough it is bound to break something, and break it did. No, this wasn’t your knock-down drag-out bar room brawl that the fans always seem to appreciate, but the recipe for a bad tasting concoction the fans would have to gulp hard to swallow. This was a big step up of competition for Lyakhovich who had never faced opposition like Guinn, but he seemed to fair well against the overly relaxed fighter. Guinn seemed to be in a different realm in this fight, the skilled heavyweight wasn’t the one who has stopped eighteen opponents and dropped ten in the opening round or even the one who duked it out against Barrett; rather this version of Guinn appeared more like a patient on a handful of pain medication waiting for the beautiful colors to appear before his eyes. It was a lackluster performance from the heavyweight who more than a few pundits were touting as the next big thing. After ten rounds of Guinn’s relaxed style and repeated uppercuts from Lyakhovich to Guinn’s chin, the Russian got the nod with the final scores reading 96-94, 96-94, 97-93.

Rocky Juarez-Guty Espadas Jr.
WBC Continental Americas Featherweight Title

Not all was lost for the Atlantic City fans; the main event would prove to be a show stopping performance for featherweight sensation Rocky Juarez. The twenty-eight year old Houston native defended his WBC Continental Americas Featherweight Title against the twelve-year fight veteran Guty Espadas Jr. in a big way. In round two of the scheduled twelve-round bout Espadas ate a hook that proved to be fatal for any kind of chance of a victory for the Mexican fighter. Rocky exploded with power while Guty tasted defeat in the main event. This win propels Juarez to a 22-0 (15) record and gives him a solid hold on the IBF and WBC #1 spots, while it drops Espadas to a still respectable 38-7 (24). Juarez, a 2000 Olympic silver medalist who busted onto the pro scene in 2001 and has pounded out victories over Antonio Diaz and Zahir Raheem, continues in his bid to be the best at the top of the 126 lb. division.

Whether any questions you were asking were or were not answered this weekend, overall it was good for the fans. There was variety and variety is good, especially when it comes to the sweet science. You gotta love it!
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