Filipino road warrior John Riel Casimero (17-2, 10) successfully defended the IBF Light Flyweight title this past weekend by scoring a split decision victory over the previously unbeaten Mexican Pedro Guevara (18-1-1, 13). Going into the bout we felt that Casimero had a bit too much class for the pretty untested Mexican challenger, though the bout actually ended up being genuinely close, even if it wasn't hugely exciting.
The bout started excellently for Casimero who dropped Guevara in the opening round with a peach of an uppercut, though it merely seemed to kick start the challenger who got to his feet and started to control the distance and the pace of the bout. Guevara fought back well and took the following few rounds before Casimero stepped up the work rate and managed to land more telling blows including dropping Guevara in round 6 (ruled a slip).
Whilst the bout was pretty even going into the championship rounds Casimero's experience at the higher level payed off and he started to hurt a tiring Guevara who was twice dropped (rounds 10 and 11) with both of those also being ruled slips. Had the referee counted on either of these knockdowns life would have been much easier for Casimero who would have taken a pretty clear decision. Instead of having a clear decision however Casimero had to settle for a split decision with the early knockdown separating the two men as the score cards read 116-111 (Casimero) and 114-113 either way.
Whilst Casimero hasn't really had much respect by the boxing world, he has proven to be happy to fight on the road and hopefully he will be rewarded by a higher profile fight next year. Whilst not a star in the making the youngster is hugely over-looked which is a real shame as he appears to be an excellent little fighter. For Guevara it's likely the experience of the bout will be a big learning experience and something that will help him in the future. He proved he was on the fringes of a world level and with more seasoning he will likely be a real threat for a world in a few more fights.