Three Fights, Three Careers

By Tom Donelson
Updated: August 10, 2008

GlovesIOWA CITY, Ia. — Over the past two weeks, three fighters were involved in crucial crossroads fight. James “Buddy” McGirt, Jr. lost his previous fight by a devastating knock out at the hands of Carlos De Leon Jr.

And then his team scheduled the young fighterto face Raymond Joval, a top ten fighter.On paper, this looked like a tune up for Joval but instead it turned out to be redemption for McGirt.

McGirt, the son of former world champion Buddy McGirt, came out early with the perfect game designed by his father and executed brilliantly.

Using his height, he jabbed, jabbed and jabbed some more; not allowing Joval any momentum.For the first five rounds, he build up an almost overwhelminglead by out boxing Joval and he even knocked Joval down twice.

In the sixth round, the veteran Joval finally began to move inside the taller McGirt and over the next three rounds; he pressured McGirt and changed the tenor of the fight.

As the first five rounds saw McGirt fighting outside; the second half saw the fight switched to inside quarter.Joval turned the fight into a brawl and with one round left, McGirt looked like a exhausted fight; never have gone more than eight rounds before this fight.

There are moments in a fighter career that a fighter has to dig deep and find that extra vigor to go beyond the exhaustion.

McGirt was ahead on points but he decided to go toe to toe with the Joval and won the last round and walked away with an easy decision.

McGirt may not reach the championship heights of his father but he showed the heart of a champion. He came into a fight as a underdog against a more experienced fighter and found a way to persevere.

This came after suffering a dreadful lost, so McGirt came back with a mental toughness required of boxers who insist making this sport their careers.

If McGirt advanced his career, Jose Luis Castillo is at the end of his.There was a time that Castillo was one of the best pound for pound and he gave Floyd Mayweather, Jr. his toughest fight in their first match.

But recently, Castillo had trouble making weight and the desire that drove him at the peak of his career appeared to be slipping.

In his previous fight against Ricky Hatton, Castillo wasn’t even competitive and he decided to make the move to Welterweight.

Facing Sebastian Lujan, he was facing a top ten but not elite Welterweight. Lujan, a tough Argentina, was the perfect test for Castillo since Lujan is not a big puncher but a fighter who throws a lot of punches.

Once the fight began, Castillo showed his age. There was times in the fight that Castillo showed flashes of, inciuding in the second round in which a Castillo left hook stunned Lujan but these times were few and far between.

Lujan out punched Castillo and Castillo patented left hook did not have the same power as it did in the lower weight divisions.

For the past decade, Castillo had one of the most feared left hooks and faced many of the best of his generation in a Hall of Fame career.

Now, he has lost the quickness to deliver that hook and the power that stopped many of his opponents has ebbed. Castillo’s career is essentially over and Lujan convey the final message.

Ishe Smith was once a prospect, but in his last fight he was facing the new prospect the undefeated Pawel Wolak. Wolak was your straight ahead fighter and Smith countered with a boxing strategy that confused Wolak.

Throughout the fight, Smith boxed and move; creating angles to strike at Wolak while being out of harm ways. This fight reminded many of why Smith was a prospect in his own right and he showed the vulnerability of Wolak.

With this victory, Smith kept his career on track. No longer a prospect; Smith is still fighting to be a contender.Over the past two weeks, we saw a Hall of Fame fighter at the end of his career and a prospect responding to his first defeat by winning.

And finally, we saw a former prospect resurrect his career.