The final week before the fight, the Mexican population of Los Angeles almost doubled. Training sessions drew 800 to 1,000. Castillo, a smart boxer-puncher who had seven losses in 39 bouts before Olivares, trained hard, nearly destroying his sparring partners. When he was finished, he would disappear into his room, reappearing only for meals. Olivares trained the way he always trains—lousy, but with a lot of laughs. He has never won a round in a gym. At one press party he showed up in a Beatle wig and oversized sunglasses. It was minutes before anyone discovered he was there. Then, giggling, he said that was what he was going to wear whenever he did any drinking. At a dinner party he donned a white waiter's coat and went around collecting dollar tips in a large bowl. "He is a press agent's dream," said Bill Kaplan, one of Parnassus' press agents.
"Olivares is making a lot of loud noise," said Juan Jos� Torres Landa, "but he is like a man whistling in the graveyard. He is building his courage." Torres is Castillo's lawyer and financial advisor. His father, Juan Jos� Torres Landa Sr., former governor of Guanajuato, is one of the richest men in Mexico.
For the Olivares fight Castillo was paid $30,000. All of it will go into government bonds. Torres has no trouble talking him into saving his money. "My problem is trying to get him to spend a little," he said. "When Chucho goes someplace with someone, he doesn't expect to buy. He won't even carry money with him. When he came here he had something like eight pesos in his pocket."
Torres sighed. "Ah, this fight is such a big thing for both of these boxers. Whoever loses will never be the same again. Maybe the winner will never be the same. He will be such a big hero in Mexico. It will go to his head. If Chucho wins, I think he will handle it much better. But Olivares, if he wins I will be afraid for him. And the loser. Nobody knows what will happen to him."
Ah, such a big fight. And, as it turned out, not so great. Castillo came out cautiously and stayed that way. Except for one flurry when he fought his way off the ropes in the third round, he hardly moved forward. But that flurry! A hook and then a right to the chin, so fast and so powerful, and Olivares was down. But he jumped to his feet and took the mandatory eight count that continued after the bell. "That was the only time he hurt me," Olivares said later.
"Hurt him?" wailed Geronimo Lopez. "How could Chucho hurt him? He never threw any punches. He never threw his right hand. Always he used the right to guard his chin. He was afraid of Olivares' left hook. He'd come back to the corner and I'd beg him to use the right, I'd order him. He'd say yes, I'll do it, but he never did."
And as Castillo remained cautious, defensive, Olivares bored in. In the fourth round he bloodied Castillo's nose, and it bled the rest of the way. "It bothered his breathing quite a bit," said Cuco Conde, the veteran manager who worked Castillo's corner. "That one punch didn't look like much, but it might have had a big difference on the outcome. But Chucho, damn it, why didn't he use his right hand? We begged him."
By the eighth round, Olivares was beginning to trap Castillo on the ropes, and there, inside, the little champion is a master. He never stops punching. "He's a damn machine gun," said Rose after he lost to him.
In the 12th round Olivares almost got his man. A left-right combination to the head and Castillo's knees buckled.
"Right then I was worried," said Conde. "But when Chucho got to the corner he was fine. There's nothing wrong with that kid's jaw."