April 2, 1971 - Climax of the First Mexican Boxing Civil War
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Thu, 02 Apr 2020
“El Púas” Olivares (R) lands his trademark hook on arch-enemy Chucho Castillo.
Most boxing fans now are familiar with the so called Mexican Boxing Civil War only in terms of the fistic rivalries between Marco Antonio Barrera on one hand and Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez on the other who in between waging war against Manny Pacquiao were apt to bash each others faces.
But the Mexican Boxing Civil War started much earlier in the late 60s and much of the 70s when excellent and powerful knockout specialist bantamweights from immediately south of the US border began to dominate the division globally and became hot attractions especially in Southern California.
Two of these fighters gained international attention namely "Rockabye" Ruben Olivares and Jesus "Chuchu" Castillo when they waged a three bout series with the world bantamweight championship at stake.
On April 2, 1971 this rivalry came to a climax when before more than 18,000 roaring fans at the Forum in Inglewood, California, Olivares pounded out a unanimous decision victory over fellow Mexican Castillo to regain the world and lineal bantamweight championship.
It marked the third and last of their series of gruelling bouts for the world bantamweight crown which were regarded since then as the genesis of the so called Mexican Boxing Civil War.
The Associated Press reported:
Former titleholder Ruben Olivares, up quickly from a knockdown in the 6th round, administered a savage beating to Chucho Castillo Friday night and regained his world bantamweight championship in 15 bruising rounds. Castillo, 117, decked Ruben with a wild overhand left hook in the 6th round. However, Olivares, also 117, was up at three and barely lost the round despite the knockdown. Castillo's only other great round came in the 13th with a desperation rally. But on most cards he even lost that round as Olivares unleashed a damaging body attack."
Olivares handily won on all the scorecards with referee John Thomas seeing it 9-4-1, Larry Rizadilla 11-4 and Chuck Hassett, 10-3-2 in rounds won.
But the scorecard did not readily reflect the rigors and drama of the ring combat which had characterized their first two encounters.
The two first meet on April 18, 1970 at the Forum in Olivares's second defense of the title he won from Lionel Rose of Australia the year before. Castillo had a failed title try against Rose who won the title from the legendary Japanese Fighting Harada in 1968. Castillo was determined to succeed in his second crack but Olivares proved the oddsters right.
The Long Beach Press Telegram reported:
"World bantamweight champion Ruben Olivares retained his title by scoring a decision over fellow Mexican challenger Chucho Castillo Saturday night at the Forum. Olivares entered the ring a 13-5 favorite and he showed he warranted the favoritism. He hooked and jabbed the challenger the entire evening. Olivares methodically ripped Castillo to pieces and gave an indication of worse things to come in the opening round. Chucho was stunned in round two with Ruben's blockbuster smacks. But in the third the tide seemed to have changed when Chucho leveled the champion. Surprisingly, the winner was the only man to hit the deck. That upset took place when Castillo popped the champion with a sudden left [Olivares was knocked down once in the 3rd]. But that was all she wrote. Olivares kept cutting down the challenger one round after another and really put it all together in the eighth frame. The champion had his best round of the night and there was nothing Chucho could do about it. Olivares didn't increase his KO percentage, but he did remain undefeated in all his 57."
Referee George Latka had it 9-4-1 and judges Rudy Jordan and Dick Young had it 7-6-2 and 10-5 respectively all for Olivares.
Some 18,762 fans watched the fight live generating a new attendance and gate receipt record of $281,840 for the Forum. Promoter George Parnassus also reported an additional income from closed circuit TV rights for a total of $458,240 for the promotion.
Olivares earned $100,000 while Castillo took home $30,000.
They met again on October 16, 1970 also at the Forum, and in a closely fought match, Castillo got back at Olivares, winning by 14th round technical knockout on account of bloody eye cut.
The United Press International reported:
"Chucho Castillo capitalized on his willingness to throw punches and an eye cut suffered by champion Ruben Olivares to lift the bantamweight crown in a hard-fought bout Friday night at the Forum. Olivares suffered the cut in the 1st round, possibly as the result of an accidental butt, but lasted until 2:27 of the 14th round when referee Dick Young halted the bout on the recommendation of ring physician Dr. Jack Useem. The two Mexicans, both 118, fought a hard battle throughout with Olivares having the edge in the first five rounds despite the cut on his eye. Olivares began protecting his injured eye when it resumed bleeding in the 7th round and Castillo was quick to seize the advantage, using a spearing left and flurries of punches to get inside the champion's guard and score points. When the 14th round got under way, Olivares' eye was bleeding even before the action started and Castillo's attack opened it up even more. With only 33 seconds to go in the round, the referee called over Useem for the second time and, on his recommendation, stopped the fight."
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone 09215309477.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.
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