After the fight: A draw was fair for Charlo vs. Castaño

The junior middleweight matchup between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castaño ended in a draw. Many boxing fans called the result a robbery, but it wasn’t. 

After the scores were read for the undisputed junior middleweight championship fight between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castaño, many fans cried foul at the news of a draw on Saturday, July 17. The 117-111 scorecard from Nelson Vazquez was absurd, but the result wasn’t.

Emotions run high during closely contested boxing bouts. Charlo vs. Castaño was a true 50-50 matchup. Many didn’t know much about Castaño before the fight, but his warrior’s effort against Charlo propelled his name.

Castaño had to curb his usually insane work output, but fighting a unified world champion like Charlo will do that. Castaño stumbled out of the gate but found a rhythm starting at the end of round 3.

He hurt Charlo in round 4 and controlled the pace of the middle rounds, but was caught by Charlo in round 10, yet managed to stay on his feet.

Charlo showed his resolve by winning the championship rounds. When it was all over, one judge scored the bout even with two splitting in opposition for each competitor. The split draw was a fair decision, considering how close the fight was.

Still, numerous polls after the fight showed fans favoring Castaño over Charlo. Their fire might have been stoked by Vazquez’s poor 117-111 score. It drew a lot of attention on social media, but he probably wouldn’t receive the same type of criticism if his score were 114-113 for Charlo, which would have yielded the same conclusion.

Bad judging is nothing new in boxing. That’s the problem with subjectivity. Judges evaluate and render a decision based on human eyes, which are often flawed. There’s no way of getting around that, unfortunately.

Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castaño waged an epic boxing battle, but a draw was the right ending

Luckily, boxing employs three judges per bout. Sometimes more than one judge submits a bad decision. For Charlo vs. Castaño, only one bad apple appeared, which saved the legitimacy of the ending.

According to CompuBox, Castaño had a slim lead on Charlo in most meaningful categories. He threw 53 more punches, landed 22 more, and had a one percent advantage in connection rate. Those numbers are very close for a 12-round fight.

Don’t forget that points are given based on punch stats. They tell part of the story, but the 10-point scoring system awards points for each round. Several rounds were hard to score, and that could have gone either way.

Charlo controlled the action in some rounds, but Castaño closed better in the last 20 seconds or so. Does his 20-second flurry at the end of rounds 3 and 6 nullify Charlo’s control of the action for more than two minutes?

That’s the type of question that judges need to answer during a fight, at it’s not an easy call. One or two swing rounds can change a fight’s result. For Charlo vs. Castaño, things played out the right way. The San Antonio crowd at the AT&T Center had mixed reviews of the decision, but Charlo won enough rounds at the end to hang on for the draw.

There should be a better system in place for holding judges accountable for egregious scorecards. This is especially true in Texas, which often produces bad decisions. That’s on the state athletic commission to do something.

However, don’t question the outcome of Charlo vs. Castaño because of Vazquez’s score. It’s ugly on its own, but was balanced out but the other two sane scores. Boxing worked this time around, but there are other fights whose endings aren’t just. The quality of judging in the sport needs to improve. Without a national governing body, don’t expect to see that improvement any time soon.

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