With the seminal bout between Oscar and Floyd just 9 days away it is easy to overlook the fact 39 year old Javier Castillejo and Felix Sturm will contest the WBA Middleweight belt this weekend and that in all reality a then youthful Sturm completely outboxed a flabby Golden Boy in his debut at 160 pounds three years ago. A performance that almost cost Oscar his multi-million pound clash with Bernard Hopkins. Since then Sturm has regrouped but remains outside the consciousness of the American audiences he shocked in 2004.
On Saturday he faces late bloomer Javier Castillejo for the Spaniard’s title. A fascinating clash that could produce a potential opponent for Jermaine Taylor, should the giant American persevere in the middleweight division. The temptation of Hopkins and Calzaghe may yet see him leave the classic weight division behind.
For Sturm the bout represents the chance to avenge a stoppage defeat last summer, for Castillejo another opportunity to extend the bank account and career presumed all but finished when at 37 he was beaten by Fernando Vargas. Despite a reputation for hometown decision in Germany, and there is no escaping that that is more than urban myth, I still favour the lantern jawed champion. Call it an instinct, call it a love of the underdog. But I’ll be hoping Sturm is forced to regroup following another surprise defeat.