A little bit of everything is featured in Saturday’s Showtime-televised tripleheader, topped the dangerous crossroads bout between secondary super welterweight titlist Brian Castaño and former champ Erislandy Lara.
Both boxers made weight ahead of their headliner, which will air live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Castaño came in at 154 pounds, while Lara tipped the scales at 153.5 pounds.
Argentina’s Castaño (15-0, 11KOs)—whose younger brother Alan also campaigns at super welterweight—has long flown under the radar, but whose boogeyman status has also resulted in undesired inactivity. The 29-year old has fought just twice in the past 27 months since winning a secondary version of the World Boxing Association 154-pound title.
Both bouts were title defenses fought on the road, each occurring in France. His biggest win to date came in July ’17, scoring a well-earned split decision victory over then-perennial Top 10 contender Michel Soro. Eight months later came his most recent win, an impressive 12th round knockout of Cedric Vitu last March.
Lara (25-3-2, 14KOs) enters the ring as an official title challenger for the first time in more than six years. The 35-year old Cuban southpaw—who now lives and trains in Houston—has held at least one portion of the super middleweight crown since a June ’13 interim title winning coming-from-behind knockout of Alfredo Angulo.
An upgrade to WBA “Regular” titlist preceded the first of his six successful defenses lodged, a run whose lone hiccup came in a July ’14 split decision loss to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in a non-title catchweight bout. Often criticized for a less-than-entertaining style, Lara’s title reign ended ironically in his most thrilling bout to date, a spirited split decision loss to Jarrett Hurd in their title unification bout last April, marking his last ring appearance.
The televised co-feature pits veteran heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz in a 10-round battle with Romanian-born, Germany-based Christian Hammer.
Ortiz (30-1-0-2NC, 26KOs) weighed 238.75 pounds, his lightest weight in nearly 3½ years; Hammer (24-5, 13KOs) checked in at 257 pounds for his U.S. debut.
The bout marks the first time that Ortiz returns to Barclays since his instant classic versus Deontay Wilder, on this very weekend one year ago. The Miami-based Cuban southpaw—who turns 40 later this month—went tooth and nail with the reigning titlist before suffering a 10th round knockout, his lone loss to date.
Two wins have followed, both by knockout including a one-sided 10th round stoppage of Travis Kauffman last December on the undercard of Wilder’s 12-round draw versus Tyson Fury. Ortiz has long desired a second crack at his lone ring conqueror, and is now very much in the mix for future consideration ever since plans for Wilder-Fury II fell apart.
Opening the telecast, Panama’s Bryan De Gracia (24-1-1, 20KOs) takes on Mexico’s Eduardo Ramirez in a 12-round featherweight scrap, assuming the latter boxer is able to make weight in the next couple of hours.
De Gracia weighed 124.75 pounds for his first fight outside of his home country. He puts a four-fight win streak—all by knockout—on the line.
Ramirez stripped to his birthday suit before even stepping to the scale, still showing up one full pound over the limit at 127 pounds. He will have two hours to squeeze down to the 126 pound limit or else will not be eligible for the WBA “Gold” title, which is really just a placeholder for its claimant to eventually get a shot at an upgraded version of a WBA belt.