Las Vegas Sun

November 12, 2018

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Columnist Dean Juipe: Castillejo: I’m not selling out to Oscar

Dean Juipe's boxing notebook appears Thursday. His sports column appears Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Reach him at [email protected] or 259-4084.

Javier Castillejo objects to the notion that he is a pawn in the game of promoting the career of Oscar De La Hoya.

Castillejo, the reigning World Boxing Council junior middleweight champion, will put his title on the line against De La Hoya June 23 at the MGM Grand Garden. Bettors, largely unfamiliar with the Spaniard, have put their money on De La Hoya and bet him up to a minus 1200 favorite.

Castillejo is now a plus 900.

"I'm not selling anything," Castillejo said during a conference call, rebuking a questioner who implied the champion is, in effect, selling his title to De La Hoya. "To take (the championship) from me, he is going to have to kill me because I'm not going to give it up in the ring."

Castillejo, 51-4 with 34 knockouts, comes across as confident and as a man worthy of a closer look before dismissing his chances against De La Hoya.

"My advantage is that I'm the champion," he said. "I have more energy and I want to keep the title more than he wants to win it.

"I have the will."

He also hasn't been taken aback by De La Hoya's abilities.

"He just does not impress me at all," Castillejo said. "I have seen many more boxers that impress me much more than De La Hoya."

One of those fighters who had to impress Castillejo was former world champ Laurent Boudouani, who won both of their head-to-head bouts. But Castillejo, who also lost to Julio Vasquez in a 1993 title fight and to the unknown Del Bryan early in his career, has since won 14 straight fights and grabbed the WBC title in the process with a decision over Keith Mullings two years ago.

"I will not get nervous (fighting De La Hoya) because I am used to fighting in stadiums of 15,000," Castillejo said. "For me, every fight is a big one."

But taking on De La Hoya, who is 33-2 with 27 KOs, is a challenge unlike any other he has faced in his 13 years as a professional fighter.

"I am fighting for the glory of my country," Castillejo, 33, said. "I have lived a humble and poor life and any wins I have are great for both me and my country."

He said he expects De La Hoya to be evasive and maybe even an unwilling combatant.

"If he comes after me, he will have problems because I counterpunch very well," Castillejo said. "I am much stronger than he is (and) I will be waiting for him and hoping he does not run.

"He can't run all night."

Two other 12-round fights are scheduled on the June 23 card and the opponent has changed in the primary undercard attraction. Enrique Sanchez, who was to have faced IBF super bantamweight champ Benedict Ledwaba, has withdrawn due to a cut incurred in training. He has been replaced by Manny Pacquiao, who will put his 32-2 record against the 33-1-1 Ledwaba. In the other feature on the pay-per-view card, Jorge Monsalvo, 29-1, will take on Agapito Sanchez, 32-7-1, at 122 pounds.

Williams, coming off a win over Rito Ruvalcaba, is 22-3 with 16 KOs. He has also won seven straight fights and three in a row by knockout.

Vazquez is 31-21 with 25 KOs, including a 10-round decision loss to Williams three years ago in California.

Also scheduled: Artur Petrosyan, 8-1-1, vs. Orlando Salido, 6-7-1, eight rounds, junior lightweights; Francisco Corrales, 3-1, vs. Rafael Ramirez, 6-3-2, six rounds, junior welterweights; Rupert VanAswegen, 7-1, vs. Larry Banks, 5-9, six rounds, middleweights; Ishe Smith, 3-0, vs. Alfonso Gomez, 1-0, four rounds, welterweights; Almazbek Raiymkulov, 3-0, vs. an opponent yet to be determined, four rounds, lightweights; and Mike Stayley, pro debut, vs. Emost Sotelo, pro debut, four rounds, lightweights. First bell is 7 p.m.

* QUICK HITS: Caesars Palace has officially landed the July 21 Shane Mosley fight, and Adrian Stone is lined up as the WBC welterweight champion's challenger. ... Las Vegas featherweight Augie Sanchez has taken a fight on relatively short notice and will meet Joe Morales in San Antonio on Sunday. Sanchez is 28-2 with 25 KOs and Morales is 16-5. Fox Sports Net televises. ... Heavyweight David Tua settled his lawsuit with the IBF and is likely to take a fight with a lesser opponent, then meet Chris Byrd, with the winner of the latter fight guaranteed a title fight by next April. ... Former cruiserweight champ Arthur Williams of Las Vegas will fight as a heavyweight when he takes on Chris Brown as part of a Showtime card June 23 in Connecticut. Williams is 33-5-1 with 24 KOs and Brown is 12-1 with 11. Also on that undercard is fellow Las Vegan Vince Phillips, 41-6-1, who will meet Michael Warrick, 16-1, in a junior welterweight bout. ... Additional betting lines from Mandalay Bay : Evander Holyfield minus 155, John Ruiz plus 125 (Aug. 4 in China); and Felix Trinidad minus 370, Bernard Hopkins plus 310 (Sept. 15 in New York).