Brian Carlos Castano 15 (11 KOs)-0-1 keeps his WBA World Super Welterweight title in a split draw against Cuba’s Erislandy Lara 25 (14 KOs)-3 (0 KOs)-3 on Saturday at the Barclay’s Centre Brooklyn broadcasted by Showtime, with scorecards reading: 115-113, 113-115 and 114-114.

Erislandy Lara was never the most proactive fighter in the ring, watching him there was always a sense that he would let his opponents make the first move rather than making it himself. This has advantages and disadvantages and this fight with Brian Carlos Castano epitomised this. Lara you could tell from the early stages was always going to be the ring general in there landing straight lefts and trying to maintain the range, but simply put he wasn’t landing enough of them to take enough rounds decisively to win the fight beyond doubt. Maybe at 35 Lara was never going to be the same fighter, especially after the Hurd loss in fight of the year candidate last year, but even in his corner there seemed to be a lack of urgency that perhaps cost him the fight.

Credit must be given to Castano who took his opportunity here, in trying to bully the older man, and was landing some nice left hooks to the body when Lara was backing up, but in a phrase the reason that Castano had success in the fight was that he was willing to miss. Castano very rarely landed the more eye-catching shots, as his punches lacked the precision that Lara brings but moving forward and swarming Lara did yield success most notably in the mid rounds where I gave him rounds 6,7,8 and 9.

The fight was close, and like all boxing fights nowadays whichever way a close fight goes, one side, or in this case both sides, will most likely be screaming robbery. Personally, I scored it 115-113 to Castano but rounds were close and you couldn’t argue with someone giving the nod to Lara. What most surprised me however is that comparing the Lara in the Hurd fight to in the Castano fight there didn’t seem to be quite the same snap in Lara’s punches. I know that Lara opted to stand his ground more against Hurd, but the speed and slickness of the delivery just seemed to be lacking on Saturday. I think that if the Lara that faced Hurd was in against Castano Lara would have put Castano in his place a bit more with the left rather than just scoring points, perhaps giving him more space and time and therefore the win, and this to be honest is where the hard questions start.

The most obvious option for Lara at this point is a rematch with Castano which would put him in line for a rematch with Hurd, but alternatives such as a fight with Kell Brook are available. The Kell Brook fight I do like for Lara simply because it’s a very winnable fight which will generate plenty of cash for a fighter for who big paydays are a rare thing. The Hurd fight I’m not so keen on simply because I don’t see a way that Lara will improve in the rematch against Hurd, and for all his defensive flaws, Hurd at 28 will improve rather than regress. I’d like to see Lara take on Brook and win or lose retire after that, because it would be such a shame for one of the best pure active boxers to go out taking punches that he would’ve slipped in his sleep in his prime.

On the undercard Luis Ortiz 31 (26 KOs)-1 (1 KO)-0 beat German based Romanian heavyweight Christian Hammer 24 (14 KOs)-6 (3 KOs)-0 with a wide unanimous decision after 10 rounds.

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