Buffalo welterweight Nick “Hands of Gold” Casal felt completely justifiedlast Saturday night after thoroughly destroyed previously undefeated prospect Michael “Slick” Anderson on the non-televised portion of the Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson pay-per-view event at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
“I said it would take me a few rounds to figure him out,” Casal said, “but it only took 30 seconds. I hurt him with a right, only 30-seconds into the fight. His knees buckled and I knew that it was only a matter of time.”
Casal (22-4-1, 16 KOs) was a highly-decorated amateur who captured gold medals at the 2002 U.S. National Junior Championships and the Sweden Box-Cup for Under-19 boxers. In 2003, he reached the quarterfinals of the National Golden Gloves Tournament, defeating Anthony Dirrell in the process, before losing to current world champion, Andre Berto. Casal also won a bronze medal at the 2004 U.S. Championships but he had to drop out of the competition with a hand injury.
In 2004, Casal turned pro and was unbeaten in his first 17 pro bouts, including a pair of draws. Nick extended current WBC champion Antonio “Tony” DeMarco the full 10 rounds in 2002, albeit in a losing effort (94-96, 93-93, 97-93) that, nerver-the-less, demonstrated his vast potential. The 25-year-old, however, went through a rough stretch between 2007 and 2009.
Last Saturday night, Casal became a relevant welterweight again, stopping Anderson (11-1-1, 9 KOs) in the third round to extend his win streak to four. “I dropped him twice in the third, the last with an uppercut,” Nick explained the end of the fight. “I didn’t want to hurt him and looked at the ref to stop it because he (Anderson) was out on his feet.
“I feel justified. I had a lot of growing up to do and I’m maturing at the right time. I’m ready to take the next step. This fight wasn’t on TV but I did fight in front of the right people and that meant the world to me. I’m back working and hoping to get in the ring again in December of January. I don’t have a girlfriend or kids, so I’ll be training through the holidays.”
Casal’s promoter, Boxing 360 founder and CEO Mario Yagobi, never stopped believing in Nick, who fought under the Boxing 360 banner for the second time. “Nick stepped-up big-time and not only did he pass the test, he aced it. Now, he’s off to much bigger and better things. Nick has all of the talent and heart to take him to the top. Making a commitment to train in Las Vegas, away from his home in Buffalo, was an example of his commitment to be the best he can be. He worked hard and deserves that very impressive win against and unbeaten opponent. I couldn’t be happier for him.”