El Temible: No Happy Endings

By Ted Sares on November 27, 2011
El Temible: No Happy Endings
Maybe he didn’t realize until it was too late that boxing seldom provides a happy ending


“I just found out tonight I don’t have it anymore. I want to apologize to the public and I am definitely announcing my retirement.”—Jose Luis Castillo after the Gomez fight

“This is what it’s come down to for him.”—Scott Christ

Jose Luis Castillo, aka El Temible (The Fearsome) was once considered one the best lightweights of his era, but these days he is anything but. Just this past Saturday (Nov. 26), he beat journeyman Sammy Ventura (26-22) in Quintana Roo to move his record to 63-11-1. The 37-year-old former lightweight champ last fought in March when he was defeated by Jorge Paez Jr. in Mexicali (interestingly he KO’d Jr.’s father in 1999 for the vacant IBA super featherweight crown).

Castillo won the WBC lightweight title in a major upset of Stevie Johnston in 2000 and defended it successfully several times until he was defeated by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2002. Many thought he beat Mayweather and probably is the only Mayweather opponent with a legitimate argument to that effect, notwithstanding Oscar De La Hoya’s split decision loss in 2007.

In 2005, El Temible was truly fearsome when he participated in one of the greatest fights of all time against Diego Corrales—and then came back to KO his conqueror in a rematch. But after getting KO’d by a one-punch body shot to the ribs against Ricky Hatton in 2007, he never recaptured his magic and seemed to have lost the urge to fight, let alone make weight.

In 2010, he was dismantled by Alfonso Gomez and said he would retire but he came back and now fights on because he needs the money.

This is the same fighter who was the former Ring magazine and two-time WBC lightweight champion and beat notables like Cesar Bazan, Joel Casamayor, Juan Lazcano (who he beat for the vacant WBC lightweight title in 2004), Stevie Johnston, and Julio Diaz. But now he fights guys with 26-21 and 4-12-2 records for a payday even though he has nothing left but his name.

Perhaps he has himself to blame for his current predicament and maybe he didn’t realize until it was too late that boxing seldom provides a happy ending. However, given the memories of what happened at the 2:06 mark of the 10th round in that That Fight on May 7, 2005, in Las Vegas, I can’t help but feel for him.

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  1. Juicy Peach 07:24am, 10/24/2012

    Yes, thresher.  That would be very good for the old warriors.  Since these guys don’t have that in place, it would seem that they would try to invest in something that will give them returns.  It’s hard to get jobs at certain ages especially if you have gotten hurt; you are considered damaged goods. Boxing is a great sport but you can get hurt.  It’s hard to give up something you love and especially if you have been good at it.  I really do hope they will come to some kind of terms for the older boxers pension wise.

  2. TEX HASSLER 04:56pm, 11/28/2011

    He needs to retire and get out of boxing now. He has a name so he can get fights even if he should not have them. He will always be remembered for the Corrales fight and no one can take that away from him.

  3. the thresher 07:20am, 11/28/2011

    OK, OK, I’ll do a piece on this down the line. Good stuff Raxman

  4. Juicy Peach 07:02am, 11/28/2011

    Raxman I agree with you 100%.  They could still make money without getting hurt and still have some dignity about themselves.  Some of the old guys might even like it.  It will be a way for them to get the exercise they still need and earn money on top of it.  Guys like James “Lights Out” Toney and Glen Johnson, just to name a few, would benefit greatly from this idea; only if they would approve of it.  Would be great to see them fight each other because they get pummeled by the younger guys; too slow but they don’t seem to know that.

  5. Don From Prov 06:37am, 11/28/2011

    Sad stuff, this.  He’s been a warrior.

  6. the thresher 06:06am, 11/28/2011

    They sure did

  7. pugknows 07:27pm, 11/27/2011

    Both he and Chico deserved better

  8. the thresher 05:34pm, 11/27/2011

    Not a bad idea but not dangerous enough for the promoters I’d guess.

    What older boxers need is a pension plan patterned after the California Plan but much improved over that one. It would take an actuarial, benefits expert, and lawyer one day at the most to craft such a plan. But why bother if the boxers don’t want it?

    Good God, using the vehicle of an annuity would solve many problems for these guys when they get older, but they just don’t get it and there doesn’t seem to be anyone concerned in getting it for them.

    This is one of the many reasons I have no use for the BWAA. This is an area they could promote instead of promoting one another. You feeling me on this?

  9. raxman 03:01pm, 11/27/2011

    i’ve thought for a long time now that boxing needs a veteran competition - like the tennis - now don’t jump down my throat for the tennis comparision - obviously the sports are a world apart but wouldn’t we a rather see a modified competition - say 2min rounds, standing 8 counts, 10 round fights, maybe heavier gloves - for our past warriors than have them fighting young beasts’? i can see it being a really popular sport too - and earning some good money for the ring veterans - instead of fighting bradley we could have a casamayor v castillo rematch under veteran rules.

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