Finest I confronted: Ruben Castillo – The Ring


Ruben Castillo was a mainstay within the featherweight and junior light-weight divisions in the course of the Nineteen Eighties. He was adequate to compete with the easiest however was unable to assert a world title in 4 makes an attempt.

Castillo was born in Billings, Montana, the second youngest of 5 kids, on December 19, 1957. His mother and father had been hard-working and in a position to present for the household.

“I used to be younger when moved to Lubbock, Texas,” Castillo informed The Ring. “Then we moved to Bakersfield, California. We lived in a three-bedroom home in Bakersfield that was not likely a pleasant house till later. In the event you lived in Casa Loma, you’re within the hood and we lived in Casa Loma.”

When Castillo’s father modified jobs and have become a masonry contractor, issues seemed up for the household. Castillo and his siblings all switched to a personal, extra unique college.

“We had been the one Mexican household at St. Francis,” he stated. “That’s why I began boxing. I saved getting in fights with all these white guys.”

Nevertheless, boxing wasn’t Castillo’s old flame, that was baseball. His father performed for the Texas Rangers farm membership and his older cousin, Bobby “Babo” Castillo, performed Main League Baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins.

“Baseball was in our blood,” he stated. “I had extra trophies in baseball than I did in boxing. All I wished to do was play baseball. I ended up not sufficiently big to play baseball and boxing turned my sport.”

The teenager was an excellent newbie, going 49-1, earlier than turning skilled, at simply 17, in February 1975.

Las Vegas mogul Invoice Miller was impressed by Castillo and recurrently put him on his exhibits on the Silver Slipper On line casino. That helped create a strong basis.

“He owned his personal airplane, he was a pilot,” stated Castillo. “Invoice appreciated me a lot, and I began getting a following, so he flew his airplane to select me up in Bakersfield and fly me to Las Vegas to combat and fly me house.”

Castillo stayed lively and impressively took his document to 44-0 (21 KOs), beating the revered trio Hector Carrasquilla (TKO 3), Fel Clemente (UD 10) and Juan Escobar (TKO 8) in 1979. These wins set the desk for a world title problem in early 1980.

“Don King had me scheduled to combat [WBC featherweight titlist] Danny “Little Crimson” Lopez,” he defined. (Click on right here to learn a Finest I Confronted on Lopez.) “[WBC junior lightweight titleholder] Alexis Arguello was going to combat [WBA junior lightweight beltholder] Samuel Serrano. [Serrano] damage his hand in order that combat fell out.

“ABC informed Don King, you higher get me anyone that’s good, that’s engaging and can promote as a result of if you happen to don’t, I’m going to remove all of your TV dates and that’s what made Don King. He pulled me from the combat with Lopez [who instead faced Salvador Sanchez] and made me combat Alexis. He informed me, ‘In the event you don’t combat Alexis, you’ll by no means get a title combat. Win, lose or draw, you’ll get a title combat again within the featherweight division.’ So, I had no alternative. I moved up. I received the early rounds and received stopped within the eleventh spherical.”

King lived as much as his promise and introduced Castillo again at featherweight towards Sanchez, who had unseated Lopez for the WBC laurels.

Castillo is comfortable so that you can watch the combat versus Sanchez, from 1980. He believes in his coronary heart and soul that he beat the legend.

“I went 15 rounds and I whooped his ass,” stated a vitriolic Castillo. “I do know in my coronary heart that I beat him. My technique was to outbox him, field and transfer, he couldn’t combat if you happen to moved on him.

“After last bell, we completed the combat in his nook, he received exterior the ropes and Cristobal Rosas, his coach, informed him, ‘You higher get again within the ring, you respect Ruben Castillo.’

“They gave him the choice. Salvador stated, ‘I’ll combat you in a rematch.’ I stated, ‘You’re mendacity to me. You’ll by no means combat me once more and I used to be proper.’ Don King promised me a rematch, I by no means received it. Salvador Sanchez fought all people and I saved ready. Salvador Sanchez to me was probably the most overrated fighter I fought in my life.”

Castillo set about incomes one other title shot and received again within the win column earlier than dropping a controversial 10-round determination to pesky speedster Kelvin Lampkin. Nevertheless, Castillo made amends within the rematch two-months later, stopping Lampkin in two rounds.

His third alternative was on account of happen in his hometown of Bakersfield towards WBC 126-pound titlist Juan Laporte. Nevertheless, it ended up being in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the place he misplaced a large 12-round unanimous determination in February 1983.

Castillo considered strolling away however finally caught round and received six fights whereas hoping for his subsequent large alternative.

“Don calls me up and says, ‘There’s a child, who simply received the [WBC 130-pound] title towards [Mario] “Azabache” Martinez, he’s a brand-new child, you’ll beat his arse, you’ll develop into the champion and we’ll signal an enormous contract.’ You understand who that man was, Julio Cesar Chavez,” he stated, laughing.

On tape, Chavez (proper) seemed extra beatable than he appeared within the ring.

The California resident was despatched tape of Chavez and was assured of victory.

“Julio didn’t combat the identical combat with me as he did with “Azabache,’” stated Castillo. “I received stopped within the sixth spherical, I informed Don, ‘DK, you higher signal this child to a life-time contract. This child will not be your extraordinary champion, the child goes to be a legend in boxing.’ He stated, ‘You assume so?’ I stated, ‘I do know so.’ I used to be proper.

“That was the top of my profession, I fought a number of instances extra and stated, ‘I’m carried out.’

Castillo fought on sporadically over the subsequent decade with combined outcomes however by no means once more fought on the highest stage. He fought for the ultimate time in March 1997. His document stands at a powerful 68-10-2 (35 knockouts), although some studies have his document barely completely different.

In retirement, Castillo labored as a broadcaster alongside the legendary Chick Hearn.

“Timing is every thing and, in my period, it simply was not the time,” stated Castillo reflecting on his profession. “If I used to be combating now, I’d have 5 belts.”

Castillo, now 63, lives in Beaumont, California together with his spouse of 32-years. They’ve 5 kids and 15 grandchildren.

He has his personal promotional firm, Double Hassle Promotions, and is coming into the photo voltaic enterprise; he’s in partnership with a pal, who runs The Solar Life Co., they usually just lately received a contract to suit nation golf equipment within the space.

He kindly agreed to talk with The Ring about the very best fighters he has skilled throughout his illustrious profession.


Alexis Arguello: Needed to be Alexis Arguello, he was so tall and lanky, his jab was like a proper hand. Once we fought, he was a 130-pounder in 1980. Alexis went all the way in which to 140-pounds. At that weight and 5-foot-11, he might hit you from throughout the room.


Salvador Sanchez: Salvador wasn’t that simple to hit, Julio [Cesar Chavez] didn’t care if he received hit, Salvador did, he was extra of a boxer. He was tougher to hit.


Kelvin Lampkin: Superb hand velocity. He was an excellent counterpuncher. Once I threw, he threw. He was a really clever fighter.


Lampkin: His footwork was unbelievable. The man was a jack-rabbit, each time I began to throw, he was gone.


Arguello: Alexis was a really, very affected person fighter. You might beat him up for 10, 11 rounds, he’s going to get you with the one shot. As soon as he will get you with that one shot, you’re carried out, that units him up for 2, three, 4 after that.


Julio Cesar Chavez: It must be between Alexis and Julio Cesar Chavez. Julio was very, very sturdy. Juan Laporte was very sturdy.


Juan Laporte: He had an excellent chin. I hit him and I believed that combat was going to be over and the bell rang and he stated one thing to me that pertained to my mom and walked a straight line to his nook. I stated, ‘Oh boy, this combat’s going to final all evening.’ Salvador Sanchez took a shot. Julio didn’t respect anybody’s punch. Again then you may hit Julio with a truck and all it will do was piss him off. Salvador was extra technical than Julio.


Chavez: Julio had extra energy than anybody I fought in my life. The very best punch he had was a left-hook to the physique. When he hit you to the physique, ‘Oh my God.’ I used to be doing 300 sit-ups a day, that didn’t matter one bit. Alexis hit you so arduous however he hit you with one shot, Julio hit you with a barrage of pictures.


Sanchez: He was arduous to hit again. He was fairly tall for the featherweight division; his arm size was loopy. He was an excellent boxer, he had an important jab and he was powerful to hit. He was in all probability one of many smartest fighters I ever fought. The one drawback with Salvador Sanchez was he was not an actual large puncher.


Chavez: Of all of the fighters I fought, no one in comparison with Julio Cesar Chavez. What made him so good, when he threw, he’s throwing to hit you, he’s not throwing to only to throw a punch, when he threw, he knew he was going to catch you with one thing. He picks his pictures, he didn’t waste any punches. When he cornered you, you had been in a world of shit, as a result of he’s going to harm you.


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