Carlos Castro dominates Cesar Juarez in junior featherweight co-feature
Carlos Takam (39-5-1 28KO's) ended Week 5 inside the MGM Grand "Bubble" with a 10-round unanimous decision over Jerry Forrest by scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94. A former world title challenger and 2004 Olympian, Takam notched his fourth consecutive win following back-to-back defeats at the hands of Anthony Joshua and Derek Chisora.
Forrest (26-4, 20 KOs) closed the fight strong as the aggressor and won three of the last four rounds on two of the judges' scorecards. According to CompuBox, Takam landed 27 more power punches (84 to 57).
Both men were scheduled to fight different opponents - Oscar Rivas for Takam, and Jarrell Miller for Forrest, but when both fights fell through because of injury and a PED finding respectively, Takam and Forrest took the opportunity to square off.
Takam, who took the fight on just 12-days notice, came in at a strong 245 lbs and used every ounce to his advantage. In the first two rounds, Takam bullied Forrest around the ring sticking his jab, and moving extremely well for his frame. Mid-second round, Forrest landed a left hand, which would be one of his better landed shots of the bout. Takam would answer right back with a sweeping right hand that unsteadied Forrest.
Rounds three and four were more of the same as Takam kept Forrest on his heels, working from both the inside and outside, giving Forrest no opportunity to find his range, or settle in.
A clash of heads caused a cut on Takam's left eye midway through the fight and slowed his momentum in the back half of the fight. Forrest tried to take advantage, looking to land a missile of a left hand, but Takam was able to maintain composure and stave off Forrest's pressure in the late rounds.
In the final frame, Forrest's corner urged him on as he needed a knockout to win, but it was Takam that came out and dictated the action, as he did for most of the fight. Takam kept Forrest at bey with his jab, sneaky overhand rights and veteran experience.
At the final bell, Carlos Takam earned a well-fought victory, winning by unanimous decision. It was an impressive performance from the 39-year-old title-seeking heavyweight.
Takam had this to say about the bout, "I was expecting more of a war, but the preparation for this fight was not easy... I was supposed to fight Rivas, but they said he can't fight because of injury. My promoter, Joe DeGuardia, called and said they had a guy, Jerry Forrest, and I searched him up, and said let's go, let's fight."
“My father passed away a week ago, so I came into the fight with a heavy heart. It may not have been a spectacular knockout, but most importantly, we got the win," Takam said. “We took this fight on short notice, but the opportunity on ESPN was too big to pass up. We knew we could beat him regardless.
“I want anyone in the top five, or a title shot if that materializes.”
He then reeled off two specific names in mind, “Give me Rivas, and then give me Tyson Fury.”
Star Boxing CEO Joe DeGuardia, had this to say about Takam's performance, "Tonight Carlos Takam showed why there are levels to this sport. Carlos used veteran prowess, balance and overall boxing ability not usually seen in 250 lb. 39 year old heavyweight fighter. Most importantly he showed that he is a consummate professional. He took this fight on 12 days notice, and few are aware, but, his father passed away only last month. That impacted him greatly but nonetheless he went forward with his commitment to boxing and prepared and performed. We salute his professionalism and look forward to an exciting future for Carlos in a hot heavyweight division."
— Carlos Castro (26-0, 11 KOs) defeated the most notable name of his career, knocking out former world title challenger Cesar Juarez (25-9-1, 19 KOs) after Juarez's corner stopped the one-sided bout following the conclusion of the fourth round. Juarez has now lost two fights in a row.
“I admire Cesar Juarez as a Mexican warrior and for everything he’s given the sport. I told him it was an honor to share the ring with him," Castro said. “I want any title opportunity or an interim title shot. Whatever comes my way, I am ready. I am highly ranked and prepared for the next step.”
— In a six-round battle of undefeated junior lightweight prospects, Joshafat Ortiz (8-0, 4 KOs) edged Joshua Orta (6-1, 2 KOs) by majority decision (57-57, 58-56 2x). Ortiz swept the first four rounds on two of the judges' cards.
— Nine days after losing his first professional fight, middleweight Donte Stubbs (7-1, 2 KOs) upset the previously unbeaten Fred Wilson Jr. (6-1-2, 2 KOs) by six-round unanimous decision (58-53 2x, 58-54). Stubbs scored knockdowns in the third and fifth rounds, and Wilson had a point deducted for holding in the fourth.
— In a scheduled four-round welterweight fight that featured the rare double knockdown, Corey Champion (2-3, 2 KOs) knocked out Peter Cortez (2-2, 1 KO) in the opening round. Champion knocked down Cortez early in the round, then the double knockdown occurred. Champion roared back to stop Cortez in an instant undercard classic.