Erislandy Lara's in-ring return was spoiled with a split draw against unbeaten secondary world champion Brian Castano.
The two boxers fought to a split draw in the main event of a Barclays Center card televised on Showtime for the WBA "Regular" junior middleweight title. One judge had scored the fight 115-113 for each fighter and the third judge had scored the fight a 114-114 draw, meaning Castano retained his title.
Both fighters had a competitive back-and-forth contest in the first half of the contest before Lara would start slowly winning rounds in the second half. Lara built himself a small lead on the scorecards late in the fight, but Castano caught fire in the 11th and 12th round and managed to steal those last two rounds to force the draw.
This was Lara's first fight sine April 2018 when he lost to Jarrett Hurd by split decision to unify the WBA "Super" and IBF junior middleweight titles. Lara held the WBA world title from 2014 to 2018 and promoted to "Super" champion in 2016. After the fight, Lara said he wants a rematch with either Hurd or Castano next.
In the co-main event, Luis Ortiz cruised to a near-shutout win against Christian Hammer. Ortiz win the fight by unanimous decision (100-90, 99-91, 99-91) to keep his title hopes alive as he continues to look for a rematch against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Also on the card was a featherweight bout for the WBA Gold title between Eduardo Ramirez and Bryan De Gracia. Ramirez stopped De Gracia in the ninth round to win the title and is now in line to face WBA "Regular" champion Xu Can.