Jermell Charlo is now the undisputed super-welterweight champion after dropping Brian Castaño twice to record a 10th round win in Carson, California.
The top two at 154lbs were meeting for a second time 10 months on from their engrossing first encounter which ended in a draw.
Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) told media throughout fight week that this time he had no intentions of letting the return bout go to the scorecards.
The first six rounds were hugely competitive. Charlo, who walked in as the WBC, IBF and WBA champion, looked to keep Castaño at bay with his jab early on. A short-left hook from the WBO title holder brought the fire out in Charlo who countered the shot in the remaining seconds of round one.
Castaño (17-1-2, 12 KOs) spent the majority of the fight following every movement of his 31-year-old opponent and did his best to make it as uncomfortable as possible. Both were putting wrecking ball shots together which drew gasps from the crowd as they watched their iron chins absorb the punishment.
Charlo was mixing it up reverting to a plan b of his choosing depending on what Castaño did. The Argentine was a bull and couldn’t call on some back up tactics of his own, but he was winning his share of the rounds. In the final 40 seconds of the third the two rivals let rip on one another with Charlo smiling as he went back to his stool.
The all-action finales continued in the fourth. Neither man was backing down. Charlo fired off the ropes in the fifth with an eye-catching one-two and then both traded hooks. Castaño then appeared stunned by a right hand but found enough to bounce back to show Charlo he wasn’t done.
From round seven the number one super-welterweight finally gained control of the fight. Moving Castaño around with his jab, trading when needed he was doing more than enough to take the rounds that followed. The power shots were never far away, and a big left hook rocked Castaño to rubberstamp Charlo’s supremacy.
A straight right through the guard of Castaño was an example of Charlo’s accuracy growing stronger and stronger. The fight was getting away from the WBO champion and in the tenth his efforts were brought to an end. A short-left hand on the inside dropped the 32-year-old with just under a minute to go. His warrior instincts carried him forward, but Charlo had his man where he wanted him and finished the job ruthlessly pinning Castaño on the ropes, rocking his head back with punches before putting the Buenos Aires hard man down again to become undisputed super-welterweight champion.
The hostilities between the two beforehand were over as they embraced and showed respect to one another after the result was made official. Castaño will come again and prove to be a handful for anyone else at 154lbs. For Charlo, this was about legacy and when the dust settles, he may look to move to middleweight to enhance his growing status in the sport even more.