Along with the word ‘legend’ or ‘legendary’, ‘crossroads’ – and more specifically ‘crossroads bout’ – must be one of the most abused and over-used terms in boxing parlance but in the case of veteran heavyweights Elieser Castillo and Fres Oquendo the descriptive fits, and fits snugly. I first saw Castillo when tackling tall and rugged Russian Alexander Zolkin and Oquendo in contentious victory over Maurice Harris. From those innocuous points I’ve taken an interest in their development.
Oquendo, the moon faced Peurto Rican, remains closer to a third title shot with failed challenges to John Ruiz and Chris Byrd already behind him, two bouts in which many believed Oquendo did enough to capture either crown, but he is still so way from, the success he believes is his. So close were the Holyfield and Byrd contests that Oquendo’s subsequent eviction from the consensus top ten will hurt deeply. He’s a man wronged. In Castillo he faces a worthy opponent who could yet spring the surprise. After all, only two or three years separate the two fighters and Castillo is a battle-harden southpaw with an authoritative left hook.
For all the impetus victory could offer, defeat could mean the end of the line for one of these and if only for that reason and that reason alone it strikes me as an exciting contest.