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[Previous entry: "Golden Boy Promotions Signs Walter Matthysee, who Debuts Dec. 8th!"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "Photos Now Up of Castillo-Vargas, Venegas-De La Torre at Aragon!"]

12/04/2005 Archived Entry: "Ricardo Castillo Decisions Vargas, Venegas Draws vs. De La Torre in ‘Azteca America’!"

Ricardo Castillo Decisions Vargas, Venegas Draws vs. De La Torre in ‘Azteca America’!

By Juan C. Ayllon at ringside
Photos by Jorge Bravo

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Castillo (left) swings wide as Vargas steps back (Jorge Bravo photo)

CHICAGO, December 3, 2005 – Former WBC Lightweight Champ Jose Luis Castillo’s little brother, Ricardo, did well, if not exceptional, in wining a unanimous decision over a surprisingly gritty and wily Hugo Vargas in the televised main event of “Azteca America” at the Aragon Ballroom.

Although Castillo was generally the aggressor and the more effective puncher, Hugo Vargas, 13-8-1, 7 KO’s and Ricardo Castillo, 27-2-0, 19 KO’s, waged primarily a tactical battle in which the two sometimes traded places playing matador to the other’s bull, and others trading blows furiously like two frenzied Aztec warriors in pitched battle.

Round one saw Castillo land a hard, glancing left hook in the early moments. Pressuring from the beginning, Castillo threw a mixed arsenal of jabs, hooks and rights with heavy hands similar to his older brother, Jose Luis.

In round two, Vargas landed a stiff right to the head and received immediate retribution with a heavy right on the ropes. Castillo continued to mill, spearing with jabs, ripping hooks to the body and thudding rights. Vargas retreated and popped with sprite jabs and crisp counters, as Castillo pressed forward.

Suddenly, Vargas dropped him with a right; the ref ruled it a slip, but Castillo took a knee for a few seconds then rose again at rounds end. In between rounds, a ringside judge said he wasn’t sure if it was a knockdown or not.

In round three, Castillo resumed the battering as if the second round's incident were an aberration. However, Vargas remained dangerous as he countered very crisply in spots, and making him miss in others.

Vargas continued to retreat as round four unfolded, seemingly intent on making Castillo reach and seeking catch him with shots coming in. Castillo ripped a couple hard rights over the top, but Vargas countered with a handful of rights to the head. Trapping him in a corner, Castillo bounced a pair of heavy borderline hooks to the abdomen at the bell.

In round five, a big left hook snapped Vargas head back violently and drew a large roar from the crowd. However, Vargas continued to counter sharply as Castillo bounced thudding blows up and down with both fists. He caught Castillo with a hard right to the head coming in.

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Round six was more of the same, workman like performance by Castillo and Vargas.

Round seven, Castillo speared the jab a great deal, retreated and boxed. However, as he sought to come on, Vargas kept him honest with hard counter rights to the head. Getting up on his toes, he played the matador to Vargas’ bull, and then opened up a little with the right.

This pattern continued in the eighth for a minute or two. Then, Castillo resumed systematically battering with both fists to body and head in earnest. The two traded rights at the close of the round.

The two traded jabs for the first minute of round nine. Vargas caught Castillo with a left uppercut and a right that snapped his head back. Castillo alternated pressing matters, then retreating, as Vargas bounced jarring shots to the head that drew cheers and whistles. Castillo surged back at the bell, landing a hard right, moments after the bell rung.

In the 10th and final round, Castillo began by circling and jabbing as Vargas stalked. Then, Castillo dropped a low left to the body and surged behind a furious two-fisted assault. However, to the delight of the crowd, Vargas stood his ground and fought back with a furry off the ropes, gaining momentary respite as he repelled him with slugging back hard with both gloves blazing. Castillo landed a sweeping left hook and a couple jarring rights at the final bell, after which the two embraced.

The judges scored the bout 97-93 twice and 96-94 for a unanimous decision for Ricardo Castillo which oddly drew a large cascade of boos from a significant segment in the crowd who apparently favored Vargas’ courageous stand.

The judges scored the bout 97-93 twice and 96-94 for a unanimous decision for Ricardo Castillo which oddly drew a large cascade of boos from a significant segment in the crowd who apparently favored Vargas’ courageous stand.

Fighting as featherweights, Castillo weighed 124 lbs. and Vargas weighed 122 lbs.

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Venegas (left) jabs at De La Torre (Jorge Bravo photo)

Gilbert Venegas, 9-1-1, 6 knockouts, proved to be the harder puncher, but only managed a majority draw against feisty and busier Sergio Joel De La Torre, 10-7-1, and one knockout.

Observing round one, popular Chicago middleweight David “The Weezel” Estrada said of De La Torre, “He’s pawing with the jab. He’s slow. Just don’t let him get confident. If he [Venegas] catches him right, it’s over.”

Well, De La Torre got confident.

Venegas showed power early on in round one with hard hooks to body and head, while De La Torre kept it close with busy hands.

And it was his busy hands that nearly won the fight for him, as he increasingly took the fight to Gilbert Venegas.

In round two, Venegas drove De La Torre to the ropes with a heavy left hook to the head and ripped hard lefts and rights In subsequent exchanges. However, De La Torre threw back hard with both fists, digging back to body and head. The busier fighter, De La Tore worked him up and down with sharp rights and lefts. Venegas picked up his tempo in the final minute as the two traded briskly in close.

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De La Torre (right) bounces a left hook off Venegas' head (Jorge Bravo photo)

In round three, Venegas landed a triple hook combination to De La Torre’s head, but caught a sharp right back to the head moments later. As the two mixed it up, De La Tore repeatedly caromed jarring rights and lefts to Venegas’ head.

Round four, Venegas appeared to stun De La Torre with a pair of rights even as De La Torre poured on the superior volume of blows. The two traded heatedly at round’s end, punching past the bell. Estrada said, “They threw about 500 punches that round. Unbelievable.”

In round five, De La Torre pressed matters, raking Venegas up and down. Venegas seemed content to wait and pick his spots, which were too far between. O’Brien stopped the action to have loose tape on both fighters gloves fixed.

De La Torre resumed his smothering attack as Venegas tried vainly to take him out. Frustrated, he threw a punch after the bell and was warned by O’Brien, “That was twice, now.”

In rounds six and seven, punching harder than his opponent in spots, Venegas continued to slip try and slip and block punches more than he threw while De La Torre maintained a steady steam of punches. Towards the end of round seven, Venegas jarred with a hard right that precipitated another furious exchange that spilled several moments past the bell.

Round eight, Venegas created more punching room by getting up on his toes and retreating. The two traded blows in spades. Commenting on this David Estrada said, “This guy got some confidence. I would say Venegas [won], because he landed the harder shots. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it went the other way. Hometown decision? We’ll see.”

The judges scored the bout 77-75 De La Torre, and 76-76 twice for a majority draw.

Venegas weighed 143 lbs. and De La Torre 142 lbs.

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Figueroa (right) covers as Mercury attacks (Jorge Bravo photo)

Rita Figueroa threw the harder punches against a very active Mercerdes Mercury in garnering a unanimous decision over her fiesty opponent.

Round one, boxed with a frenetic nervous energy as Figueroa stalked. The busier fighter, she peppered Figueroa about the head with both fists. Figueroa drilled her in a corner with a right hand, but Mercury escaped and boxed. Fiugeora bounced a pair of heavy rights to the head on the ropes and, again, Mercury escaped.

In round two, Figueroa found her range and began connecting with jabs, rights and lefts with increasing frequency as Mercury circled and punched in bunches.

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From left: Sam Colonna and Rocky Martinez look on as Rita raises her gloved fists in victory for the cameras (Jorge Bravo photo)

In round three, Figueroa appeared to rock Mercury momentarily with two jarring rights to the head on the ropes. Another right snapped Mercury’s head back. A left snapped her head to the left. However, Mercury kept both fists pumping and the two slugged it out on the ropes, then in a nearby corner at rounds end.

In round four, Mercury resumed her frenetic pace, bouncing herky-jerkily and flurrying as Rita committed power more behind her punches. Sitting down more on her punches, Mercury made more of a war of it as the two traded toe-to-toe at rounds end.

All three judges scored the bout identically at 39-37 for Rita Figueroa.

Afterwards, Figueroa said of Mercury, “Tough girl, tough girl! She can fight!”

Figueroa, 5-0-0, 2 KO's weighed 133.5 lbs., while Mercury, 3-7-0, 1 KO, weighed 134.5 lbs.

Referee: John O’Brien

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Nevitt (left) stalks Smith (Jorge Bravo photo)

Fighting for the Illinois Light Heavyweight Title, Mike Nevitt displayed superior speed and work rate in dominating one Rocky Nohoula Smith over eight scintillating rounds. While rugged and dogged in determination, Smith had trouble landing cleanly on his fleeter and more accurate punching opponent.

Nevitt quickly established himself as the busier fighter in round one, landing a lead right to start off, then digging right to the body. He bounced a left hook off Rockys’ head. Smith landed a left hook, but it was Nevitt who landed more frequently as Smith seemed content to try and find his way slowly.

In round two, Nevitt landed a big overhand right as he continued to outwork Smith at close range. Never the less, Smith landed a jarring lead right that kept things interesting.

The two traded lead rights in the early going of round three. This led to slugging in close. Nevitt continued to land sharp rights that stung, but did not appear to hurt Smith initially, who appeared to grow increasingly frustrated at his inability to catch Nevitt squarely. Nevitt teed off with several big rights and lefts, and ducked under a counter right hand. It appeared that the bout was quickly becoming a rout.

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Nevitt opened round four with a heavy lead right and landed a hard right uppercut. The two traded jarring blows in close, with Nevitt’s counter left hook appearing to do the most damage. However, Smith rocked Nevitt with a hard left hook, forcing him to hold. Unfortunately, Smiths left eye was closing. Smith landed another hard lead right as he sought to stop his quicker fisted antagonist.

In round five, Smith dug a series of hard borderline blows to Nevitt’s midsection, which prompted a warning by referee Tim Adams. Nevitt continued to outwork on the inside. Nevitt detonated a sharp right-left combination off Smith’s head that appeared to stun. Another left hook followed. And another. Firing back, Smith nearly floored Nevitt with a lead right. Clearly in shape, Nevitt’s legs remained strong as he came back with sharp counters.

In the sixth round, as Nevitt targeted the closing eye with crisp jabs and rights, Smith snapped Nevitt’s head back with a looping right. Smith began to land more frequently as he pressed Nevitt to the ropes. However, Nevitt knocked Smith’s head back with a right uppercut at rings center. A right-left combo bobbled Smith’s head and a heavy right to the midsection thudded with great impact. Nevitt repeatedly popped Smith’s head up with sharp rights and lefts on the inside.

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Nevitt celebrates his victory (Jorge Bravo photo)

Round seven saw Nevitt rip a straight right to Smiths side and a smacking left to the other. Turning up the pressure, he worked furiously, blooding Smiths nose with sharp blows to head and body. Smith landed what appeared to be an unintentional low blow at rounds end.

In the eighth and final round, Nevitt alternated between a prevent defense and sharp punching, as Smith tried to stop him.

A hard right, which snapped Rocky’s head back violently, precipitated an explosion of fire from both combatants as they traded toe-to-toe in the final 10 seconds of the bout.

Afterwards, Rocky said, “That wasn’t me out there. I found myself flinching. It may have had something to do with the fact that our gym was closed. [However] he’s a good fighter.”

All three judges scored the bout 80-72 for the new Illinois State Light Heavyweight Titlist, Mike Nevitt.

Nevitt, 175 lbs., rose to 11-0-0, 5 knockouts, while Rocky Smith’s record slipped to 13-5-0, 11 knockouts.

Referee Tim Adams.

In a bout that stole the show from the principals, the more experienced Rafael Ortiz decisioned a furiously fought brawl with Jose Ortega.

Snapping Ortiz’ head back with a pair of left hooks, suddenly Ortega dropped to his back courtesy of a left-right. Surviving Ortiz’ follow up, Ortega jarred him again with malevolence.

Round two, Ortega bulled Ortiz about, as he sought to take him out. However, Ortiz drilled Ortega with a crisp right that appeared to stun him and momentarily stemmed his attack for about a minute. The two traded with an infernal fury. Then, Ortega covered as apparently Ortiz hurt him with shots to the body.

Round three, the two slugged hard, with Ortega throwing the harder blows as he swarmed. Ortiz was warned for pushing Ortega into the ropes and both were warned for using their shoulders in a hotly contested round.

Round four featured more punishing slugging. As Ortega surged, he was narened for a low blow. Ortiz rocked Ortega with a pair of rights and lefts. Ortega nearly dropped as Ortiz battered him along the ropes for the final 20 seconds of the round.

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Miguel Hernandez (center) watches from ringside

Chicago middleweight "Macho" Miguel Hernandez exhorted Ortega between rounds, “Jose, suck it up! Let’s go!”

Fighting back and forth as the surge and ebb of an oceans tide. Taking encouragement, Ortega seemed to grow in stature as he took it to his more seasoned foe.

The two traded punches after the bell.

The heavier puncher, Ortega walloped with impunity, but was on unsteady legs a handful of occasions. Yet, he refused to go down. Fighting back like a cornered wildcat, he fought back with a fury. As the two were momentarily trying to break them, Ortega hit Ortiz on the break, costing him a point. The two resumed a frenzied mill, with Ortega again appearing rocked again several times, but punching his way through.

The refs scored the bout 59-53 twice and 58-34 for Rafael Ortiz.

Ortega, 139 lbs., fell to 4-1-0, while Ortiz, 144 lbs., saw his record rise to 9-9-1.

This evening's popular production of "Azteca America" was promoted by Dominic Pesoli's 8 Count Productions, in colaboration with Julio Cesar Chavez, Miller Lite and TCF Bank.

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Promoter Dominic Pesoli (left) celebrates the moment with Mike Nevitt (Jorge Bravo photo)

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And Jorge Bravo (right) celebrates his birthday by meeting former WBC Lightweight
Champ Jose Luis Castillo at ringside (Juan C. Ayllon photo)

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David "The Weezel" Estrada (right) with Juan C. Ayllon

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