Santa Cruz-Cherry televised co-feature
Lightweight contender Rolando Reyes has signed to fight former two-time World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo in the main event Saturday, Feb. 4, on SHOWTIME. Showtime Sports & Event Programming General Manager Ken Hershman, and co-promoters Bob Arum and Gary Shaw made the announcement on Wednesday.
In a second bout added to the telecast, Jose Armando Santa Cruz (21-1, 12 KOs), of Michoacan, Mexico, will defend his North American Boxing Federation (NABF) lightweight title against Edner Cherry (19-3-2, eight KOs) of the Bahamas. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader from the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas, will begin at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Reyes is a replacement for WBC titleholder Diego Corrales, who suffered a rib injury during training and withdrew late last week. Castillo will meet Reyes in a 12-round special attraction at the contracted weight of 137 pounds.
An excellent counter-puncher with good skills, movement and power, Reyes (26-3-2, 16 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., has won five in a row and 19 out of his last 20. The biggest victory of his career came on July 22, 2005, when Reyes scored two knockdowns en route to registering a devastating eighth-round knockout over Courtney Burton on the SHOWTIME boxing series, “ShoBox: The New Generation.”
The fight with Castillo is a definite step up in class, but Reyes is ready and confident he can pull an upset.
“This is as big, or bigger, than a world title fight and I am going to win it,” said Reyes, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) No. 5 and International Boxing Federation (IBF) No. 14 lightweight contender. “This is a great opportunity for me, the kind I have been looking for my whole career. Castillo is a great champion, but this is my chance to shine.
“It is going to be a great fight. I am always in great shape. Castillo is a real aggressive fighter. I am a boxer, and I am just going to outbox him.’’
Reyes, who has never been knocked out, scored one knockdown en route to winning a 10-round split decision over Ivan Cabrera in his last start on Oct. 8, 2005. It was Reyes’ first outing since reuniting with trainer Robert Garcia, the former world junior lightweight champion and fellow Oxnard alum.
Castillo, while disappointed the third fight of his epic series with Corrales has been postponed, knows he cannot afford to underestimate Reyes.
“Any time you fight a young, hungry opponent, you know it is not going to be an easy fight,” Castillo said. “He is fighting for everything and has nothing to lose. I cannot afford to take anyone lightly because my future fights depend on me winning. For those reasons, I will continue training with the same intensity. Plus, I have to make 137.
“I was very disappointed when I heard that I would not be able to fight Corrales on February 4, but I understand that injuries happen. There is nothing anybody can do about it. I am looking forward to fighting Corrales again.
“I know it will happen long before then, but if I have to wait a year to fight Corrales, I will wait.’’
Castillo began training Tuesday in Mexicali after spending the last several weeks training in the mountains near Mexico City.
“It was getting too cold in the mountains,” Castillo said.
If triumphant, Castillo will face Corrales in their highly anticipated rubber match in the near future on SHOWTIME. In their initial encounter - the 2005 Fight of the Year - Corrales (40-3, 33 KOs) rallied dramatically to knock out Castillo in the 10th round on May 7. Castillo (53-7-1, 47 knockouts) won the rematch with a fourth-round knockout on Oct. 8, 2005.
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