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Articles of 2005

Castillo-Corrales Fight Predictions

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On Saturday, May 7, WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo faces WBO champion Diego Corrales in a world title unification bout from the Mandalay Bay in a fight broadcast on Showtime. Here are the predictions of The Sweet Science writers.

Castillo by decision.
Mitch Abramson

I feel that Jose Luis Castillo has hit the prime of his career. He reminds me a lot of the great Julio Cesar Chavez when he ruled the lightweights. Chavez was a little better boxer and a harder hitter then Castillo. but Jose has the same relentless drive and tenacity that Chavez possessed, as well as a the granite chin. Castillo will need all these attributes when he faces the murderous punching Diego Corrales. Diego is tall, rangy and knows how to use his height and reach. Castillo will have to absorb some punches to get inside. His chin will be severely tested. I have been excited about this bout since the day it was signed. It has the makings of a classic. My guess is that the chin will win. I'm going with Castillo by KO in ten.
Jim Amato

This is a real good fight. Both Jose Luis Castillo and Diego Corrales are somewhat underrated. They've faced top opposition for years, so that they are meeting each other is only natural. I think it's a close fight, but Corrales will be busier and win a close decision.
Robert Cassidy Jr.

How long it lasts depends on which Castillo shows up. Castillo looked like the “El Temible” of old against Julio Diaz, but “The Kidd” fought with “mucho temor,” as he seemed more intent on not getting hurt than he did wanting to hurt Castillo. Three months prior, JLC had to depend on second half magic and a bit of generous scoring in prevailing over Joel Casamayor. In fact, this will be his fourth big fight in eleven months. Corrales has been idle for the past nine months, but I believe that it will have served more as a rest than it will provide rust. Chico is a much sharper puncher and better boxer since joining forces with Joe Goossen. I like Chico to box early, brawl when necessary, and slice up Castillo enough to eventually stop him on cuts. Corrales TKO10.
Jake Donovan

Diego Corrales continues to box clever and proves too tall an order for Jose Luis Castillo. Corrales wins a close decision in an entertaining bout.
Chris Gielty

Chico's questionable chin always leaves the possibility of a knockout loss, but his fists will be too powerful for Castillo. Diego Corrales TKO 9.
Tim Graham

At 31 Jose Luis Castillo is already a 15-year veteran of the ring. He’s tough and can hit.  Corrales, a proven puncher, has had good success since leaving prison – except, of course for his slugfest stoppage loss to Joel Casamayor, later avenged. Both fighters have come up short against Floyd Mayweather, but he won’t be in the ring on this night. Look for Corrales to edge out Castillo in power and control the fight. Corrales by decision.
JE Grant

Blood and guts all the way: Diego “Chico” Corrales.
Amy Green

While most agree that this fight may not go till the end, I see Castillo using his superior skills to out-box the very dangerous and resurgent Corrales to win a hard-fought decision. If it does turn into an all-out slugfest, Castillo will get his victory a little sooner – via TKO. Jose Luis Castillo over Diego Corrales via decision or mid-round TKO.
Mike Indri

A pair of lightweights with some thunder in their gloves. Should be entertaining. Castillo seems to be getting better with age. He hasn't lost since his 2002 setback to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and he probably didn't lose that one either. Corrales' TKO over the tiring Acelino Freitas was impressive, but Castillo wins by decision.
Bill Knight

Both men are traditionally slow starters and Castillo has looked even slower of late, meaning Corrales could steal a few early rounds. For Diego to be up three rounds to one after the fourth would be no surprise. Both men have freakish power and Castillo does take a punch better. He has, however, been stopped several times in his career due to cuts. I think Corrales may be more comfortable with making weight and stays strong late in the fight to fend of a Castillo charge. Diego has big power and should earn Castillo's respect. Chico likely the better boxer now that he has found out how to use a jab and work behind it to set up the rest of his attack. With Castillo a constant stalker, I think the style is perfect for Corrales, who catches Castillo coming in all night long. All-around Diego is the better fighter and I expect him to maintain the early lead and take a decision. Either man may hit the canvas and Castillo could get cut up. Corrales by late TKO in an epic fight that surpasses the hype.
Joey Knish

On paper, Corrales should be the winner. But this is one of those instances where my gut tells me that Castillo is going to give Chico all he can handle. Castillo is rough, tough and can take a punch. If Corrales can't hurt him, I can see him getting frustrated and confused and Castillo start to dominate. Castillo TKO 11.
Marc Lichtenfeld

Castillo, who was able to give Floyd Mayweather hell, is a bit too well-rounded and experienced for Corrales. Castillo by decision or late TKO.
Bob Mladinich

After an easy week, they throw Jose Luis Castillo-Diego Corrales at us, a fight that is about as easy to pick as is naming which reality soap opera will dominate the cable news channels next week. I think the joker is trying to figure out how Castillo will handle having to go back to training camp with only 10 days rest after three hard fights in 10 months. On the plus side, Castillo has been known to starve himself making weight, which should not happen after a schedule like that. On the minus side, the last time I picked a Castillo to win, Eliseo sent his sister Emily to take his place when he “fought” Wladimir Klitschko a few weeks back. I checked; Jose Luis does not have a sister (at least, none that I found). J.L. Castillo by decision.
Pat Putnam

The single punch that can turn it around; that's what we have here. Castillo is tough as a cob — relentless — always in great shape — throws a million punches — with some real pop. Sure, he can be tricked and outmaneuvered — we've all seen that against Mayweather — but he's a dog with a  bone when he gets close. He'll be able to do that with Corrales. Can he hurt him? Knock'm out? Sure…but he'll have to be close enough to do it. He hasn't got Mayweather's legs or speed. In one of those exchanges, Chico will land that left hook and the fight will be over. He hits that hard.
Joe Rein

Castillo vs. Corrales will be what Margarito vs. Cintron wasn't. I don't think either guy will win in a one-sided blowout. At first glance this looks like a classic puncher's war. As a percentage of wins, both men have 82% knockout ratios. I think Corrales will try to use his jab to dictate the tempo of the fight, and work combinations to Castillo's body to set the foundation for the later rounds. Castillo will try to slip and work his way inside. Castillo is a superb infighter, and his physical strength will prove to be problematic for Chico. In the end, Castillo has been the more active fighter, and has the better chin. I think he'll survive some tough moments in a great fight to win a close decision.
Greg Smith

This is a difficult one to pick. On paper, the advantage goes to Diego Corrales because of his size advantage and the fact that Jose Luis Castillo is a little older. Castillo is a slow starter as well, which will give Chico time to scrape off nine months of ring rust. However, this is a fight that will come down to one attribute: the chin – and Castillo’s is much more durable. The fight will go the distance and be very close, but Corrales will make a trip or two to the canvas. This will be just enough for El Temible to win. Castillo by split decision.
Aaron Tallent

Articles of 2005

In Boxing News: Floyd Mayweather An All-Time Great, Valuev & More

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A Shot of Boxing on the Last Day of the Year

The Guardian reports that talks have already taken place between Nicolay Valuev‘s co-promoters – Don King and Wilfried Sauerland – and Danny Williams‘ promoter Frank Warren for Nicolay Valuev to face Danny Williams. I’d suggest Danny Williams needs to worry about Matt Skelton (who Williams is reportedly scheduled to fight in February) before he entertains notions of facing the Beast From The East.

The Mirror in the UK looks forward to a big year in boxing for 2006. The Mirror considers what the future might bring for Joe Calzaghe, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton, among others.

The Parksville Qualicum News has an interesting column on the travails of former Canadian Super Middleweight title holder Mark Woolnough. Woolnough’s career turned controversial – as widely reported in the Canadian press – at the beginning of this year when Woolnough and four other men were charged with manslaughter and assault after a fight outside a Parksville nightclub. The case returns to court next month. It’s an interesting read, as Woolnough is still looking to the future with hope.

Our own Marc Lichtenfeld provides plenty of food for thought with his Top Ten Wish List for boxing in the New Year. There’s plenty of good stuff here, but what really jumped out for me is Lichtenfeld’s opinion that a win over Zab Judah could have Floyd Mayweather knocking on the door of all-time great status. Seems to me this might be jumping the gun a little. Or is Marc right? Will it soon be time to call Floyd Mayweather Jr. an all-time great?

(More Boxing News Links at TheSweetScience.com)

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Articles of 2005

ShoBox Friday Night Fights

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Hot bantamweight prospect Raul “The Cobra” Martinez heads back to Chicago next Friday night as he is featured in the co-main event of SHOBOX “THE NEW GENERATION,” an action packed evening of professional boxing presented by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions,’ HOME OF THE BEST IN CHICAGO BOXING, Kathy Duva’s Main Events Inc., along with Miller Lite and TCF Bank.

The two-time national amateur champion sporting a perfect 12-0 record with 9 knockouts, six of which have come in the first round,  will take on Colombian Andres “Andy Boy” Ledesma, 13-1 (8 KOs) in a scheduled eight round bout.

Speaking after a training session at his home gym in Georgetown, Texas, Martinez said, “I’m truly looking forward to returning to Chicago. The fans were terrific in September, they were very supportive from the start of the fight,” an internationally televised first round knockout of Miguel Martinez on September 16th at the Aragon Ballroom.

Regarding his upcoming fight with Ledesma, “The Cobra” said, “I haven’t seen him fight, although I understand he’s fought at higher weights and will be naturally bigger than me. I’ve had great training for this fight and feel very confident. I really haven’t left the gym in months, just taking off Sunday’s and even then I get my running in. My thinking is that fights are won in the gym and complete preparation is the key.”

When asked about his being mentioned by Dan Rafael, ESPN’s boxing writer as one of the top prospect’s in the boxing world the 23-year-old San Antonio native said, ‘It’s a great compliment, but I still have much work to do. I want to be a champion for Main Events like Fernando Vargas and Arturo Gatti. But like Fernando said while he was in town, ‘be patient, work hard and your time will come.’”

Finishing the conversation, Martinez said, “I’m looking forward to starting out this year with a bang. I might have a couple less fights than the seven I had in 2005, but I’m looking to stepping up the competition, move up to ten-rounders and climb in the rankings.”

Headlining the evening is a ten-round welterweight showdown between boxing’s hottest prospect, unbeaten Joel Julio of Monteria, Columbia, and Ugandan native Roberto “The Doctor” Kamya. Julio, turning 21 years old the day before the fight, is 25-0 with 22 knockouts, twelve of which have come in the first two rounds. Kamya, now fighting out of West Palm Beach, Florida is 15-5 with four knockouts.

Tickets, starting at $30, are on sale in advance by calling 312-226-5800. Cicero Stadium is located at 1909 S. Laramie, at the corner of 19th and Laramie, just ten minutes south of the Eisenhower Expressway and ten minutes north of the Stevenson Expressway. Doors for this evening will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

The full bout lineup for the evening is:

Joel Julio vs. Roberto Kamya, ten rounds, welterweights

Raul Martinez vs. Andres Ledesma, eight rounds, bantamweights

Miguel Hernandez vs. Butch Hajicek, eight rounds, middleweights

David Pareja vs. Derek Andrews, eight rounds, light heavyweights

Mike Gonzales vs. Tony Kinney, four rounds, lightweights

Omar Reyes vs. Luis Navarro, five rounds, featherweights

Reynaldo Reyes vs. Ricardo Swift, four rounds, middleweights

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Articles of 2005

Pick ‘Em: Plenty of Big Upcoming Fights in ’06

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Here’s the early call on many top matches scheduled for the first half of 2006: Happy New Year!

As the new calendar dawns, there are already a considerable amount of premium bouts on the horizon. Things don’t look to be bogged down by undetermined championships next year. In many cases the scheduled face-offs involve the best fighters in the division, or at least close enough for general bragging rights. If anybody else with proper qualifications signs up to force the issue, all the better.

It can be argued that some pairings could have taken place within a more optimal timeframe, or that some headliners carry distracting baggage, but there are certainly enough heavy hitters on deck. That nobody can deny.

It doesn’t matter whether one considers the proverbial glass half empty or half full; there’s still the same amount of juice in the vessel. It’s nice to know that even with a high number of cancellations, there will still be plenty of important contenders on tap.

With elite fighters in weight divisions from top to bottom on the agenda, it’s an equivalent to what fans in more mainstream sports expect in a consistent championship format.

Baseball fans can almost always count on a World Series. Some hoops fanatics say too much attention to playoffs distracts unmotivated NBA teams during their regular season. In college, they project Sweet Sixteens. Football fans know there’s always a Super Bowl ahead to raise advertising dollars and test the USA’s halftime morals.

So too, there is method in boxing’s current madness.

The midnight crystal ball hasn’t even been unveiled in Times Square and there are already a number of potential thrillers scheduled. Most feature contrasting personalities that almost guarantee going along for the ride will be worthwhile. Any subsequent drops will probably be cheered.

Don King jumps right out of the auld lang gate with a January 7th Showtime card featuring Zab Judah against Carlos Baldomir and Jean-Marc Mormeck in a cruiserweight unification against O’Neil Bell.

It will be the upset of the year, bar none, if Baldomir can tip the applecart before Judah gets to his scheduled super-showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Meanwhile, Mormeck is emerging and should keep on rolling against Bell, who can expose him if he’s not for real.

The proverbial Big Bang starts with a January 21st rematch of one of the finest fights of ‘05, when Erik Morales goes against Manny Pacquaio for the second time on HBO pay per view. The fact that Morales was upset by Zahir Raheem after beating Pacquaio was no real loss in box-office luster. Artful Raheem will get a spot on the undercard and hope his patience is rewarded.

Everyone figures Morales and Pacquaio will pick up where they left off. Like the first time, the rematch is a pick’em contest. Management distractions and glove restrictions cited as Pacquaio’s previous problems won’t matter this time. The two are very evenly matched and their styles will make for another whapathon. It could come down to corners, where Freddie Roach gets the edge since Morales will have a new trainer for the first time since replacing his father after the Raheem lesson.

February features four of the game’s most enduring attractions, in a pair of crucial matchups.

First up, Showtime presents the Jose Luis Castillo – Diego Corrales tiebreaker from El Paso on Feb 4th. This is another pick ‘em pair, barring any sideshow. In boxing that disclaimer may be a stretch, since the sideshow is part of the act and the charm.

As far as action inside the strands goes, every round these guys have fought has been great. There’s no reason to think that pattern won’t continue. Regarding the result, Castillo keeps the pressure on as he did in the second fight, but he’ll walk into trouble from a more reserved Corrales. We still don’t know which coin to flip.

February also holds a better late than never affair between two perennial favorites as Shane Mosley collides with Fernando Vargas on the 25th.  This fight could lead to a winning ticket in the Golden Boy sweepstakes for a fall bonanza against Oscar De La Hoya.

Vargas has been in tougher recently, based on comparable strength of opposition stats, but he’s seen little action. What weight they enter the ring at may have a lot to do with the result. If Vargas has to struggle at the scale, Mosley might have the battle in the bag after round nine.

It’s hard to imagine Mosley getting stopped early, but Vargas doesn’t have to hurt him, he just has to knock him down three times. With natural size, he may be able to do just that, but Mosley would have to box uncharacteristically flat.

Unless Mosley decides to heed the crowd, the most likely scenario is that Shane plays it safe, picks a few shots, and stays away enough to capture a comfortable, dull decision. An unbowed Vargas maintains his fan base but not his bettors.

March both comes in and goes out as a lion.

On March 4th Joe Calzaghe welcomes Jeff Lacy to Manchester UK for what may be the biggest blowout of the headlining bunch. Calzaghe gets the chance to prove his considerable home-based reputation once and for all, but if Lacy creams him as we expect, that glossy record will be severely tarnished.

All Calzaghe has to do is make a respectable stand, but that’s no small task against the rising Lacy. A motivated Calzaghe, songs of England ringing in his ears, could pull a big surprise if he can exploit Lacy’s relatively limited technical development, but that’s a longshot indeed.

It looks like Lacy can get by on power alone. He could soon emerge as a pound-for-pound leader. Old Joe’s hometown advantage will last about two left hooks.

March 11th has the Ides of history to beware for at least one old lion, with farewell (we’ll see) fireworks featuring Roy Jones Jr. against Bernard Hopkins. Less than two years ago they were considered untouchable all time greats. Now between them they’ve lost five in a row.

This goodbye fight is contracted at light heavyweight, for what seems like an oldies night. Hopkins is the senior at age 41 to Jones’s 37, but Roy seems more the grandpa figure, last seen hanging on against Antonio Tarver. Youth, as it were here, will prevail.

This bout was signed quickly as each principal, usually sticklers for favorable contract clauses, agreed to parity in a demonstration of businessman first and fighter second. They may both expect easy marks. How much the boys have left by the time they get down to business remains to be seen. The history books will show this as a climactic career bout between Hall of Famers.

At 175 pounds, Hopkins may be in for rude awakening. Jones may have been more thoroughly outfought recently, but he was rumbling with bigger, tougher men than Jermain Taylor or Howard Eastman. Respectable as he is, Taylor still falls short of the level of Tarver, at least for now. The difference is still fifteen pounds less pop.

It will be quite a feat if Hopkins can stay in the fight, even at Jones’s advanced age. Our stars point to Jones winning in overwhelming fashion.

On March 18th, James Toney meets Hasim Rahman in another pairing of seasoned war-horses.

Toney and Rahman already had their introductions, when they brawled in Mexico during a WBC gathering to bestow Rahman’s new belt. Between formalities, Toney got married, which could bring up the old questions about carnal training.

Let’s hope when they meet in the ring, they restore some of the fire missing from the heavyweights in ‘05.  Toney might have an edge in recent form, but Rahman shows fine tuning he previously lacked. The winner might get newly “crowned’ Nicolai Valuev, an easy payday outside Germany.

Rahman could be the heavyweight that finally makes Toney look like a blown up middleweight. But anything less than a top effort will probably lead to embarrassing night for the Rock and give Toney solid claim to being the true heavyweight champ.

This might not be the most artful fight of the new season, but it could well be the most grueling, and the closest. He who’s faced the better big boys gets the nod. Advantage Rahman.

March 25 features Marco Antonio Barrera, probably the strongest overall claimant to 130 pound honors. The likely opponent is said to be always tough Jesus Chavez.

Chavez seemed rejuvenated when he met Leavander Johnson, but Johnson’s tragic death may have taken some of the steam out of thoughtful Chavez, said to have received Johnson’s family blessing to continue in Leavander’s name. That could mean a lot of inspiration. Either way, if he does meet Chavez, who hung tough with one arm against Erik Morales, Barrera won’t get any slack. The Fates say Chavez, whose wife recently served in Iraq, is a live, live underdog.

Another clash to be King of the Hill finds Floyd Mayweather Jr, arguably the game’s finest practitioner, bumping heads with Zab Judah, one of very few boxers who rivals Mayweather in speed, skills, and brashness.

Their hoedown, scheduled for April 8th, is one of the top pound-for-pound pairings in recent years. Judah will need a career best performance to have a chance of victory. That’s not to say he can’t pull it off, but currently Mayweather is in a different galaxy in terms of punching power. Slow-motion replays may be the only way to follow the flying fists once these two whirlwinds unload.

Mayweather should be around a 4-1 favorite. Judah is good enough to make taking the odds an attractive proposition, since that’s probably as good of odds as one is likely to see on Floyd for a while. Mayweather will stop Judah in his tracks.

The first half of next year is set to conclude with the star power of Oscar De La Hoya, probably against noteworthy foil Ricardo Mayorga on May 6. There could be some snags before a contract is finalized, but if it comes off count on Mayorga for promotional sound bite nastiness. One of the questions is whether or not he’ll be able to get under Oscar’s skin, and it might actually be entertaining to see the classy, model perfect De La Hoya show he’s human and freak out against the Nicaraguan maniac.

Mayorga may have burnt his best bridges already. De La Hoya has not only the boxing skill to negate Mayorga’s offense, but enough power to end it early. If Mayorga rushes in and causes a cut, De La Hoya might get ruffled enough to duck into defense and Mayorga could get a decision that goes to the cards after six rounds or so. It will be wild for as long as it lasts.

Pro boxing, like many sports, had its share of problems during 2005, but there were also many positives. Most notably, as usual, was superior and inspiring action inside the strands. Unless there’s a mass freeze-up at the top, early 2006 figures to see decisive interaction among many well-known fighters.

If even fifty per cent of the aforementioned pairings come to fruition, it’s a strong likelihood the upcoming year has at least one very positive half. Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Brian Viloria, and Shannon Briggs, to name a few, are also on deck. No matter how you chose to look at or measure mass qualities, there’s still just as much good to be seen.

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