Casamayor settled in Miami, turned pro and joined Team Freedom, a squad mostly made up of former Cuban amateurs in exile. "Joel was a diamond," says manager Luis de Cubas. "He just needed someone to polish him." In 1999 de Cubas sent him to Joe Goossen, the Van Nuys, Calif., trainer who had helped steer the Ruelas brothers, Gabriel and Rafael, to world titles.
Mindful that Casamayor might be set in his ways as a three-round fighter, Goossen designed a daily regimen of bag work and 30 to 40 rounds of sparring. "Joel gets a psychotic possession in the gym," he says. "No matter what I throw out, he devours it."
Casamayor is far from sated. As his biggest bouts draw near, the artistic Cepillo is eager to lay something out on the canvas.