By Sam Geraci
The following interview with Jose Luis Castillo took place on July 12th, 2012 at the Palmer House in Chicago immediately before Castillo made weight for his July 13th fight at the UIC Pavilion.
BoxingInsider.com: Jose, thanks for giving the time right before your weigh-in to sit for a few minutes. It’s an honor.
Jose Luis Castillo: No, No, Thank you.
SG: Because we don’t have too much time, let’s get right to it. As a someone who has watched you over the years, I gotta ask: other than the money, why do you keep on fighting?
Jose Luis Castillo: Since I lost to Ricky Hatton I lost my desire to box. All of a sudden I have it back again and I want to show the world that I am still a champion.
SG: Assuming you win on Friday, how many more fights do you want?
Jose Luis Castillo: I don’t know. I am in great shape so it could be one more or it could be ten more.
SG: In your prime, you could have fought with anybody at 140 from any era. In fact, I, as well as many others who follow the sport, think you fought Mayweather the best and probably should have gotten the nod in the first fight. With all of that and your legendary bouts in mind, how is it for someone like you to fight at this level now?
Jose Luis Castillo: I feel very motivated like I did when I first debuted. I am starting again. I want to do everything the right way. My heart is still there.
SG: Not to keep talking about the Mayweather fight, but if you had gotten the nod in that first bout, where would you be now?
Jose Luis Castillo: Who knows?
SG: Why do think that fight doesn’t get the publicity it deserves? You know, they try to show Mayweather’s toughest fights as being against Cotto or even Corrales or De La Hoya?
Jose Luis Castillo: No, no, no because he is supposed to be the best P4P fighter. And according to me he is the best fighter. I believe he is the best fighter.
SG: What has been your best performance? Your best fight?
Jose Luis Castillo: At home with my wife (laughs).
SG: That’s a good one. All of us (laughs)
Jose Luis Castillo: I have several; I have been in the game so long. The first one when I won the championship. The second one when I fought Mayweather and I won. The fight with Corrales, even though I lost, that was an awesome fight. I could go on but the best is at home (laughs).
SG: With the Corrales fights, what does it feel like to know that you were involved in some of the greatest fights in the history of the sport?
Jose Luis Castillo: I have a lot of pride and I don’t watch my own fights but my sons do. These fights are for my children and my grandchildren to know that I was there and what I accomplished.
SG: Even though you don’t watch them, when it’s going, what do you feel like when you’re in a fight like that? I mean do you know it’s something special?
Jose Luis Castillo: No, no it just happened. It was the styles with both of us and we both fought like warriors.
SG: With the titles, the battles, the wins, even the first fight with Mayweather, what do you want to be remembered as? How do you want to be remembered most?
Jose Luis Castillo: I just want to be remembered as a humble boxer and fighter. Someone who could get into the ring with anyone and make him pay.
SG: There have been great fights but for the most part the best fighters aren’t always in the types of fights you’ve been in. What makes you the combination of the fighter who can fight the tough fights but is still very skilled? What was you inspiration? What made you like this?
Jose Luis Castillo: I don’t know. I always wanted learned from the best. I used to do sparring with one of the best in Chavez Sr. and I always wanted to learn from the best. I always wanted to pick up the good things from each fighter I fought and sparred with.
SG: Going back to Chavez, I have to ask you about what Arum is calling the “Hispanic Super Bowl” in the Martinez-Chavez fight. Who wins?
Jose Luis Castillo: I have a very good relationship with the Chavez family and I think it’s going to be a good fight. It’s a very difficult fight and it’s a close fight.
SG: Besides Chavez Jr., which of the younger fighters do you like? Who’s good?
Jose Luis Castillo: There are a few. There’s Rigondeaux, Nonito…
SG: Who wins that?
Jose Luis Castillo: Very good fight. They’re very good fighters who are fast and strong and they come in very prepared. They’re very talented but you can’t forget the legends and the older fighters (smiles).
SG: Now, I’ve been asking this to a lot of the older fighters so I’ll stay with it. Do you think the older fighters are still good or the younger fighters today just aren’t that great?
Jose Luis Castillo: Who knows? We all have our moments and all have our strengths and weaknesses. It’s very difficult to tell. Who knows?
SG: Okay, what’s the biggest problem in boxing today?
Jose Luis Castillo: The managers.
SG: Can you expand?
Jose Luis Castillo: Like in Mexico and other parts, they take advantage of the fighters. The fighters are just taken advantage of too often by the managers.
SG: When it’s time, and many of us who have been watching you over the years wonder if it’s time, what are you going to do when it’s time to retire?
Jose Luis Castillo: It’s not time but I don’t know exactly. In August, I am going to start studying at the university. I just finished high school so I am back to school and I am very focused on that aspect of my life.
SG: When you fought at 140lbs that really was one the stronger weight classes in recent times. Besides you, who was the best of Casamayor, Judah, Mayweather, Tszyu, Freitas, and Corrales?
Jose Luis Castillo: Mayweather is number one. Judah was a very good fighter. Freitas would have to be at the end of the line. I want to add that when Judah was a lightweight he was a very good fighter. If he had stayed at the lighter weights, he wouldn’t have lost. He would have been the best pound-for-pound and gone down in history. As he moved up in weight he lost a lot of power and strength.
SG: Is there anything else you want to add?
Jose Luis Castillo: I am happy to be in Chicago. My third son was born here in Chicago. I am going to put on a good show and a good fight.
SG: Is there anything you want the fans to know?
Jose Luis Castillo: I hope they enjoy that I am back and enjoy every minute that I am in the ring.
SG: Thanks champ.