Amir Imam, one of the most celebrated prospects in boxing, went 10 rounds for the first time against a spirited Walter Castillo, winning most rounds while losing the crowd Saturday night on Showtime.
The crowd’s reaction to Castillo was probably more about the spirited effort he put in than Imam’s performance, which involved some circling, sure, but not the kind that tends to turn a boxing audience against a winning fighter. Imam engaged plenty, often getting caught along the ropes and trading counters to Castillo’s pressuring punches.
He won 99-91, 100-90 and 98-92 on the scorecards, did the junior welterweight prospect, all of which were in the ballpark. Imam struggled a little early with Castillo, but eventually took full control of the fight, cutting Castillo while outjabbing him, countering him, and throwing the occasional 1-2, even hurting him in the 10th in a way that suggested two more rounds and Castillo would’ve been stopped. Castillo remained competitive and feisty until that final round.
Apparently, Imam trashed Castillo when face-to-face with him following the final bell, with Imam claiming in a post-fight interview that Castillo had said beforehand that Imam’s family wouldn’t recognize him afterward. Maybe the crowd picked up on the level of sportsmanship when booing Imam.
Showtime’s broadcast team might’ve inflated the brilliance of Imam’s performance, but it was a solid showing against a rugged opponent. The thing they were right about is that a good prospect needs fights like this.
(Photo: Imam punches Castillo, via @shosports)