World Boxing Organization/World Boxing Council Lightweight Champion Diego Corrales and former WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo fought one of the great fights of all time last Saturday on Showtime Boxing.
Here is what the boxers, and members of their team had to say four days later:
DuBuof: I want to thank everyone that helped make this wonderful match. It has been unbelievable and I think the whole sports world knows that this fight was something legendary and Castillo and Corrales put on a performance that great athletes do and people that go into legendary status in their careers do. They put on a beautiful performance for the viewer, made people think how great boxing is, and the general sports fan is now going to have the pleasure of seeing it again on Friday (Showtime, 11 p.m. ET/PT).
Question: Jose, why don’t you tell people how you are feeling now. How are you recovering from the fight physically?
Castillo: Physically, I feel great. I’m still a little sore from the fight, but other than that, I am fine. I am just looking forward to maybe doing it again with him in the rematch. I think there is still a lot of doubt as to who really is the best fighter, lightweight, So let’s do it again and decide.
Question: Jose, did you relax after the second knockdown? What was his mindset after the second knockdown in the 10th round?
Castillo: I could see that he was trying to get up, so I knew it wasn’t over. But I was just waiting for the referee to give me another chance to put him down again and get the fight over with. I know he was a punch away from being over.
Question: Are you guys going to protest?
Castillo: We talked to the WBC. I’m sure the WBC has already set that behind us, so we are hoping to get a direct rematch with Diego.
Question: Jose, when you got hit were you conscious enough to maybe take a knee or were you so hurt that he could not do anything else?
Castillo: He did not give me a chance to put a knee down. I got hit and all the sudden the fight is over.
Question: How soon can you have the rematch?
Castillo: My next fight will probably be against Diego Corrales, probably in November. I hope it will be in November. We are not going to fight anybody else, and hopefully we will do that rematch then.
Question: Did you feel you were in one of the greatest fights ever whenever you were fighting it? Now that everyone is talking about it, how do you feel?
Castillo: I just go to do my job. I do not think about anything else. I go up there to do the best I can and to give the people the best fight that I can. And that is all I did. That is the kind of fight I want to give the people all the time.
Question: It is four days later and it is all over the radio and the writers are still talking about what a great fight it is. What have you thought about most in these last four days and is there any consolation knowing that you participated in maybe the greatest fight of all time?
Castillo: What I think about is the surprise, the way that it was stopped. That was the first thing on my mind when I was looking at him down there. I thought it was over. I just think about how it turned around so fast. I’m glad that people think that way and hopefully my sons and my grandkids will sometime see that fight and know what I did, that I did have a great fight.
Question: Jose, could take us briefly through and tell us what happened after Diego got up. What did you get hit with first and did you see the punch coming?
Castillo: I thought when he came at me I got hit with a perfect right hand. I did get hurt, and I thought I was going to be delivering that punch, and that’s what I remember most – him coming at me and me getting hit with a right hand.
Question: Everybody in the arena was just buzzing, especially the 10th round. Everybody was amazed and in awe. Do you think basically that Tony Weeks was caught up in the moment and kind of in awe himself and that is why he stopped the fight early?
Castillo: No, I was concentrating. I was waiting for him to get up so I could just put him down for good, because that is all I kept thinking: just go after him and finish him. All the time was going by, but I just wanted the fight to start again so I could get him.
Question: Do you think Tony Weeks was caught up in the moment and that is why he stopped the fight early?
Castillo: That is his job, that is what he has to do. There is nothing I can do about him. There is nothing I can do about him, so I do not even worry about that. The result is already done. I am not going to start crying about what happened. Everybody saw it, everybody knows what happened.
Question: The way the fight developed, were you surprised at the way Corrales fought – the fact that he chose just to stay inside and exchange blows?
Castillo: Not at all. I loved it. He said he was going to do that, so once he did it, it was great for me. I loved it.
DuBuof: I also think if you watch the fight pretty carefully, you could see that Diego tried getting his distance and Jose was pretty smart. Every time he went to get the distance, he started working the body well, which obviously kept him from moving too much. So I think you saw that develop as the fight went on, which kind of took Diego out of that keeping his distance game plan.
Question: How did you feel after the fight when Diego was saying that he felt it was a great honor and that he had never fought anyone like you? Does that mean anything to you or do you feel the same?
Castillo: I feel the same way. To me it was a great honor to fight him. I am glad that we fought the kind of fight that everyone liked, and that is why I want to fight the best. Guys I come to fight are guys that really want to do their best out there, and that is what I like to do.
Question: Is there any concern about your health in a rematch?
Castillo: That is what you prepare yourself for. If you are in top condition you can take this, 12 rounds like that. That is what we prepare ourselves to do, 12 hard rounds, just like you saw the other night. If we prepare ourselves again, we should be ready to go another 12 rounds like that.
Question: Did your corner at any time give you any indication to fall down, to grab or do anything to maintain the title, instead of just getting hit after the second knockdown?
Castillo: We were very confident. I think we were confident of what we were doing, that the fight was going our way, and things were happening the way we wanted it to happen. We did not even think about that. We were just there to fight and to take care of business.
Question: Why did you go to the hospital after the fight?
Castillo: I have my own doctors. They all looked at me. I have two doctors with me all the time. They checked me out. I was fine. But I am going to go take some exams later on this week.
Question: Todd, what exactly is the status of the rematch at this point in time?
DuBuof: I do not know if anyone has talked about a rematch in November, other than Castillo saying he would like to have one. Obviously, we want to get it too. We have not really had much conversation, but from I have gathered from reading the press stories, the Corrales camp say they are not really ready for a rematch right now. I think obviously it is what the fight fans want, it is obviously what Castillo wants. Obviously, the Corrales’ camp probably feels different. But listen, it was a terrific show, and obviously we would like to give it back to the people, so we will do whatever we can to try to make that.
DuBuof: I just thank everybody and from all of us, we should thank Jose Luis. It was great and we hope everyone enjoyed the show as much as we did. He gave a wonderful performance, and the sport of boxing is better today because of Jose Luis Castillo than it was yesterday.
Castillo: That is the way I like to fight. Opponents are not always are willing to mix it up like that. Diego did, so I am very happy that he was able to do that, and I am very happy that people really enjoyed the fight. Like I said, if you give me more opponents like that, I will give you that kind of night every single night out.
Shaw: I want to start off and give a special thank you to Showtime for just sticking by me, Gary Shaw Productions, and sticking by Diego Corrales for all these many, many months and delays in getting both fighters in to the ring. I want to let the world of boxing know that without Jay Larkin and Ken Hershman standing behind (me) strong and wanting this fight as much as I wanted the fight, the fight would never have been made. To Showtime, I am indebted to you.
I think everybody on this call, as well as the rest of the world knows that this is now a legendary fight, and both fighters are now legends. Both fighters are true champions. Jose Luis Castillo is not the best lightweight in the whole world. He is right up there, right with Chico Corrales, as Joe Goossen said during the press conference. But on that night, Diego Corrales was just a hair better. But never, ever take anything away from Castillo or Chico Corrales. I told Chico the other day that that punch changed his life for the rest of his life, not only financially and with respect to opponents, but for the rest of his life. People will always come up to him and talk about that fight on that May date against Jose Luis Castillo. I think both fighters deserve all the recognition that they are getting because I believe that possibly both of them left a little in the ring. I will tell you that Top Rank are sore losers once again; like in Mosley-De La Hoya, calling it a fix and trying to make the mouthpiece a controversy. We have not talked about all the low blows that Castillo threw. Chico Corrales has never made one statement about that, or the points that probably should have been deducted. But I think, to Tony Weeks’ credit, the stoppage was correct. On Friday night, when you watch it, I suggest after you watch it, you put it in slow-mo, or watch Showtime put it in slow-motion for you, and when you see Castillo’s head going from side to side, you will know at that moment Tony Weeks did the right thing. It was the right stoppage. No fight is worth going on with if there is the possibility of a fighter getting hurt badly. It is better that they come back for another day. You notice Bob Arum is not on this call because he is probably sitting with Jose at breakfast in Mexico, trying to get the WBC to order a rematch. I think that would be the wrong thing for boxing, and certainly a terrible thing for a sanctioning organization.
If the fight is going to happen again, it will happen because Team Corrales believes it is the right fight, both financially, and for the health and welfare of our fighter. Chico Corrales is not afraid to fight anyone, including Castillo. And it is not that Castillo is not deserving of a rematch, but there may be others (to think about), The team will get together, Jay Prince and myself and Diego and Joe, and we will discuss a strategy. So there is no ducking. There is no ducking Castillo. Maybe it will happen. Maybe it will happen at a later date. Maybe it will happen at a different weight. We do not know, but it is premature at this time. I think what Diego said when Jim Gray asked him his thoughts on this fight, his first statement was, “It is an honor to be in this ring.” And I think that sums it up. I think that is what this fight was all about. We always said that it was going to be toe-to-toe action. Put a little dot in the center of the ring and both fighters will fight there. They gave the world the greatest fight that I have ever seen in my lifetime, either on TV or in person. I think they did so much for boxing. Right now in the heavyweight division you have a steroid issue, but here were two clean fighters in just the absolute greatest fight of all time. So Chico knows how I feel. I thank you all. I thank everybody for continuing this great victory on. I am taking Diego personally to Manchester, England to sit at ringside (for Kostya Tszyu vs. Ricky Hatton, June 4 on Showtime, 9 p.m. ET/PT), because maybe for all we know, Diego’s next fight could be at 140 pounds. But I thank you all for your continued interest. I would like to turn it over to Diego at this time.
Corrales: I am going to start by saying I have to thank Showtime and my management and my promotion, my trainers, everybody for really making it possible for me to fight a fight like that.
Shaw: Jay Prince, do you want to say something?
Prince: No, it is hard to add or subtract to what you said, Gary. I stand behind it 100 percent.
Goossen: I had heard that they were going to make an issue of this mouthpiece deal and it is really grasping at straws, to tell you the truth. To overshadow this performance by both of these men by being petty and nitpicking about a mouthpiece incident where we were penalized for, and the usual steps were taken (is wrong). You take the fighter over, the mouthpiece is rinsed off and put back in. In the round before, when Diego’s mouthpiece had come out, by a punch, the mouthpiece was still on the floor and the action continued. Now the fight turned around after Diego got hit in that same round and hurt Castillo with it. Now let me just tell you something – the mouthpiece happened to help him in that instance, because Tony Weeks stopped the action when Castillo was hurt the round before the 10th round.
I would just like to say this. For anybody to try to overshadow this, literally one of the greatest fights I have ever seen live or on TV or anywhere else, by trying to get some sort of controversy over the mouthpiece is ridiculous. He had a point taken away for it and that is where it should end, and I am very disturbed that anybody should raise those issues. If you want to fight Diego again, forget all the petty stuff. Just ask for a rematch and that should suffice. But you do not have to sully this fight by throwing in petty stuff like that.
It goes beyond words what the people I have talked to have said, and nobody has mentioned as vehemently as the other side anything about the mouthpiece. All contend one thing – it is the greatest fight they have ever seen and they’ve never seen such heart, determination and courage from two men in the ring ever before. I would just like to leave it at that, and that is the way it should stay.
Question: Diego, you have always talked about the great fighters, and their legendary fights. Is this the kind of fight that you were talking about?
Corrales: It is one of the fights. It came all in one night and this is one of those fights everybody is going to remember for a long, long, long time, so it is cool. I am happy with it. I am looking forward to doing more, but yes, this is exactly what I am talking about.
Question: Could you take us through the point when you got up after the second knockdown. How were you able to summon up the will and the wherewithal to keep going and what did you hit him with?
Corrales: First, I went down and it was a good accumulation of punches. I was trying to grab my mouthpiece and pull it out of my mouth. I grabbed my mouthpiece and pulled it out and my intentions again, like I said before and I am going to say it again, was to grab it, pull it out of my mouth and stand up with it. It fell out of my hands, slipped out of my hands, and I am not going to waste my time or get counted out looking for a dumb mouthpiece. The first thing once I got up was to make sure my corner knew I was OK, that I was clear. I saw Joe and Joe knew I was clear. I got to my feet. At that point, when I was coming to my feet, I see I am losing a point, so it was like, well, come on now. I dropped back and I am trying to keep from losing the point as I really did not want that 10-6 round, but my spirit was still in it. I still knew I could win. I had all the heart and the desire and the knowledge I was going to win the fight. I had to stay in it. I just landed a great right hand. I knew he was going to put the pressure on. He did. He put the high heat on and he threw a jab and I am countering with a right hand, which led everything off. He started to back up and I remember thinking to myself that, oh, he is hurt. So I tried to step forward and land some shots. I landed another right hand, a couple hooks and then finally a clean, clean left hook. The first one, he buckled really good. We now changed positions on ropes. I landed another clean hook while he was on the ropes. Then I threw a hard right hand. I knew he was hurt but it missed. I then threw a hook, and another few punches that missed. But then I landed another left hook and Tony Weeks got in there and had the fight stopped. I knew he was pretty much done once his hands went down to his side. My thing was to never ease up. I had tons of time. I was not going to let this guy off the hook after what we just went through.
Question: After seeing the tape, did you count the number of punches that Diego hit him with before it was stopped? How many it was in a row?
Goossen: It was the effectiveness of the punches that Castillo was getting hit with. His eyes rolling in the back of his head, his neck stopped supporting his head at one particular point. He was defenseless and getting hit with hard shots, whether it was five or 10 of them. They were shots that he was getting hit with while he was helpless and defenseless and basically unconscious. What Diego would have been doing had Tony Weeks not stepped in was to continue to hit Castillo with a few more bombs while he was really out on his feet and asleep.
Shaw: Any time you see a neck like what happened, then you know that’s a danger point. I am here to tell you, that even as Diego’s promoter, if that ever happened to Diego, I would hope someone would step in and stop the fight.
Goossen: I would have been in there way before Tony Weeks would have been had I seen Diego on the ropes helpless. Any time Diego got up, I looked into his eyes and you look at the tape, his legs were steady, he responded to all the commands of Tony Weeks to step forward, then Tony Weeks looked into his eyes. If I had seen that Diego was helpless or could not defend himself, I would have stopped the fight. But that is not what I got. That is not what I saw. I think it was proven right by the end of the fight.
Question: Had you ever landed so many blows and have a guy still standing in front of you?
Corrales: No. He was just unreal. I take my hat off to him. Castillo was unbelievable. How do you take some of the shots he took, as clean as they were, as many of them grouped together?
Goossen: I was completely shocked at the amount of hard shots he took. But he was getting buckled. He got buckled hard in the seventh, but he was buckled in the fourth and in the sixth round as well. He was getting hurt along the way and the accumulation of those punches that stunned him – the only time Diego really got stunned was once before that 10th round where he got driven back a little bit. But that guy got stunned and buckled three, four, five times during the course of that fight and never went down. I’ve never seen a chin like that in my life.
Question: Jose said you landed the first right hand. He was waiting to throw his own right but you came out of nowhere and he said it was perfect. Was that something you were planning?
Corrales: No. I saw an opening, I took it. It is never the shots you plan on making that are so spectacular. It just was I saw the opening, I went for it and it wound up being a great shot. I didn’t expect it though. Honestly, until the seventh round I had given up on the fact that he was ever going to be hurt. I assumed this is going to be a 12-round, hard-fought fight.
Question: How could you see through one eye to throw that punch?
Corrales: The left eye was pretty much closed. It wasn’t all closed, it was pretty close to closed.
Question: In regard to the Mayweather fight, do you feel this somehow vindicates you?
Corrales: Yes, I think it vindicates me. I think it more than vindicates me. I think it has now solidified the fact that my time has come, that I really was there, that I am a person who can come back. I showed I can come back from anything and I showed that this weekend. That is what is most important to me, because I want people to know that when I am down or I am behind, there is no counting me out. I can and will do whatever it takes to win a fight. I can pull it out. Hell or high water is my favorite comment, and it is true.
Question: Would you like a shot with Mayweather down the line?
Corrales: Absolutely. Of course. I would love that very much. That is something I have to avenge here. It is my first loss. It is funny, because our names are going to be stuck together regardless. I think me and Castillo’s name will always be together like mine and Mayweather’s will always be together.
Question: Joe, did you say or do you feel that Corrales and Castillo should not fight again?
Goossen: What I actually said was there is no way one man should have to fight two fights in a career like that; not saying that they should not or will not fight again. But as a trainer you never want to see your guy have to fight more than one fight like that in their career because those are fights that are debilitating and devastating to both sides. Eventually, they might meet, but the talk of having an immediate rematch, that to me is something that should be off in the future. Diego should be able to go in any direction he chooses to because he is the unified champion now, and he should be able to make decisions with his team and his promoter on which way they want to go and not be mandated by anybody. He beat him fair and square. But I have to tell you, the reason why that is going to be a legendary fight is because of the brutality of it and the expertise and precision of the punching. For both guys, and they would absolutely end up doing the same thing again. So maybe eventually they will fight, but not in the immediate future.
Question: Diego, do you think you fought the right fight? Why did you choose to stand flat footed and just trade?
Corrales: This was one of those things I had to do. You take everything out of him by starting him in a fight very, very early. I could have come out boxing in the early part and made it easy on myself through the half. The problem is we have the second half of the fight, where he picks up and he still has that energy. So we had to sit back and tap the tank early and what is the best way to do that? Make you start off out of your norm. He had to start so much quicker by starting from the first round opposed to starting in the seventh that he had no late energy. Now we are basically fighting on an even keel. We are both tired. It is really basically my pace where I can fight the whole 12 rounds. He is fighting half. Now he is fighting me the entire 12 rounds, and we actually gave ourselves a better chance, as far as the later rounds go. He did not have the same kind of energy. I think it was the right fight to fight. It was hard.
Goossen: Basically everyone thought we were going to box, including Castillo, I can guarantee you that. What we did is we surprised the hell out of them, and that is why we had the upper hand through most of the first half of the fight. Then it started seesawing back and forth. The bottom line is we were ahead on two of the three judge’s scorecards, and by three points on one, meaning we were winning the fight at his own game. Diego is 100% right. Had you not put a hurt on that guy’s body and head early on, this guy would have tried to steamroll from six through 12 with a lot of energy left. We had to debilitate him. We had to take some of the starch out of his sails early, even though we were putting ourselves at peril and risk. He was in the same peril and risk we were on the inside. The two knockdowns that happened with Diego were at midrange, when Diego was in close and smothering his big power. He was able to get off short shorts and good body shots, but he was not able to get that long left hook and right hand going, which he depends on so much. The two times Diego got knocked down was at midrange distance, never in close did he get hurt like that. As it turns out, it may have seemed a bizarre strategy to everyone else, but you guys are overlooking the fact that Diego is an expert inside fighter and I think that was proven very handily that night.
Question: How much having been knocked down before helped when you got decked by Castillo?
Corrales: I have to give a lot of credit to the calmness I have, and I think that is the biggest part of being knocked down: relaxing and staying calm, keeping everything in control and perspective. You have to be calm in the fight and relax to be able to do stuff like that. I do not know if it is really just my nature or just the fact that I have been down before, and know what I can do.
Question: Do the comments from Castillo’s promoter change your opinion of him?
Corrales: No. It is hard to take any loss and it is hard to be a champion and lose your title, no matter what kind of fashion it is in. If it is Castillo, no, it will not take anything from him. I will be a Castillo fan and I do not care where he fights at, I am going to go watch him. The guy has earned every bit of my respect. I was in there with him and he has earned that respect.
Question: If the roles were reversed and you lost like he did, how would you feel?
Corrales: I expect I would take it hard. Everybody knows it is hard to take a loss. It is what it is. I would not make any excuses and I would just try to get the rematch and do my best to make the rematch happen. That is all you can do. I would take it the same way I took the fight, as a proud champion.
Question: Going in, did you feel you were fighting the best in Castillo?
Corrales: I knew that me and Castillo both are the same way. I felt I was the best lightweight, he felt he was the best lightweight. We both knew that we were fighting the top lightweight in our division. We both felt that way. There is no doubt in my mind. He has said it, I have said it. I am still saying I fought the best lightweight in the division. There is me and there is him.
Question: Joe, is fighting Erik Morales a possibility or do you guys have to go up to 140 because that is where the money and the fights are?
Goossen: Morales is very tall for his weight (130 pounds) and he can grow in to that weight (135) very easily and put on those pounds. He is getting older too. But with his style, do not say that the money or the fans would not be there. Morales has got a huge following. He fills up 20,000-seaters. A fight between Corrales and Morales – not only does it sound good and rhymes, it would fill up any arena. In the United States, Morales has got a bigger name and I think would draw more people to an arena than Kostya Tszyu would. That is just my opinion. Again, it would be another one of Bob’s (Arum’s) Mexican fighters that he says nobody can beat, so I would like to see that more than anything because, remember, Diego was a 130-pounder nine months ago. The bottom line is I would like to see Morales because he wants to go up to 35. I think Top Rank figured that they were going to keep that 135-pound title, may have moved Castillo up and then could have worked with Morales at 135 pounds with that title. Well, Castillo is not there, he does not have the title, but Morales can still come up to 35 and work with us.
Question: Are you going to go for a big fight after this or are you guys looking for a tune up?
Goossen: I do not know. You can ask Gary Shaw and Jay Prince that. Diego, would you like to comment about Morales?
Corrales: I am game to fight whoever. There is never in any doubts in anybody’s mind.
Goossen: Would you like to fight him though?
Corrales: Of course. I don’t care who it is. My job is to go out there and fight any name that comes up. With Jay Prince and Gary, I let them work those things out. Like I told Jay way back when, he lines them up and I knock them down.
Shaw: Before we get to the next question, as far as Chico opponents go, I have no idea who he is going to fight next and I have no role in picking his opponents. If you look at Chico’s resume, especially his recent fights, this guy has no tune-ups. They are all world class caliber fights. I have always thought that Chico has really been underrated in that regard as far as pound-for-pound lists go. He is definitely going to get more respect after this incredible performance and fight.
Question: Chico, have you watched a replay yet and what were your thoughts while watching it?
Corrales: I watched it on Sunday. I think the first thing I did, the first time I watched it, was say something like “wow.” It was shock, like I can not believe that. To see some of the shots that I took and some of the shots that he took, it was like, whoa. I finally saw how brutal and how exhausting of a fight it was, to be involved in. The second time I watched it was like more of the, wow, I really went through that?
Question: Some are saying that when Jose was up against the ropes and Tony Weeks stopped the fight that he should have administered a count at that point, rather than stopping the fight. Do you agree?
Corrales: Unified rules, no standing 8-count. We fought under unified rules, there is no standing 8- count. If he wanted a count, he needed a knee. Those are the unified rules. We both were subject to those unified rules. What happened happens. He was hurt. Joe, Jay, Gary, everybody knows that when it comes down to being a heartless finisher in that ring, that is my obligation, that is my job. My obligation is to finish off any job. If Tony does not step in, I am still swinging punches today. That is my job and he was dangled on his ropes. He was hurt. Unified rules calls for no standing 8-count. He needed that knee.
Goossen: Number one, again, I reiterate, he was helpless. His arms were down to his side. His neck had lost all muscle control. His eyes were in the back of his head. We are in the gym six days a week, we deal with fighters every day. I do not know about these guys that sit ringside, but we are in the gym six days a week year around, and we deal with a lot of young fighters, veteran fighters and we would no more let a guy take punishment in the gym, even close to that. You think we would go for it to let a guy take punishment in a fight like that? We have a heart for these fighters and if it was my fighter on the ropes like that, I would have been very angry if Tony Weeks had not stepped in before me. Number two, the greatest way of gauging whether a fight was stopped incorrectly or correctly is not when promoters start screaming or managers from the other side start screaming, it is when you look at the corner. The corner people for Castillo did no protesting at all. Castillo did not protest at all. In fact, he had to be sat in his corner for the next five minutes. What does that tell you? It tells you that he could barely stand up after that barrage of punches. The corner did not protest. If I was in the other corner, I would not have protested either. Had it been stopped too early, that corner would have protested. There is your greatest indicator of whether that fight was stopped correctly or not. Not the people that don’t go to gyms, that do not ever strap on a headgear, never been hit in the face, never had a mouthpiece punched out of them, never been helpless. For them, it is easy for them to make comments that it was stopped too early. But any family member of Jose Luis Castillo’s was probably (relieved) it was stopped and his corner did not put up a fuss. That is the greatest indicator that that fight was stopped exactly when it was supposed to.
Corrales: I agree with Joe 100 percent. I have talked with Castillo’s kids, he has got an adorable family. It would be shame to sit back and put that family through what could have happened had Tony not stepped in. He has a beautiful family. Most fighters are family men. The last thing we need to do is have a tragedy happen in the ring with another fighter. I do not know if I could personally stomach that and live with that and look at this man’s family and just stomach that. I do not know if I could do that.
Goossen: Tony Weeks should be given a commendation for what he did.
Question: Diego, how are you doing physically? Did you check out all right, is your eye OK?
Corrales: Yes, I am OK. Everything is good. We were both a little beat up. We beat each other up pretty good in there. Everything is fine. My eyes are still bruised a little bit, but they have opened back up, the swelling is gone pretty much. I feel a lot better. I am in good spirits. I am glad that Castillo is okay and that I am okay.
Goossen: At the hospital that night, Diego got a full CT scan of the head and everything checked out perfectly. That is number one. Number two, all internals were checked out. Blood work was done. Everything turned out perfect. He got a clean bill of health and was released within an hour and a half of the hospital visit.
Question: No blood in the urine?
Goossen: You are always going to get a little bit of that, but that has already cleared up. That lasted one day. It’s like blood in the eye, it’s like blood on the eyebrow, anywhere else, you’re going to get a little blood.
Corrales: I want to say one thing about the team that I have. Speaking of Joe, I cannot say how invaluable he is to the team. His addition to my career has been perfect and I am looking forward to finishing off this career with this guy. This is unbelievable. He is awesome. Joe has been a perfect addition to my team. To the people that are not giving J.P. his props yet, you have got to give James (Prince) his props for what he has done with the fighters he has had, outside of myself. You can’t even say just me. Look at the fighters and look at James, what he has done with some of these fighter’s careers. It is unbelievable. This is a man who came into boxing from the music business and really been a great addition to the sport. Gary, we have had an awesome run. He had worked wonders with my career. Look what we have done. You have to look at this team all the way through and just be happy with what we have done.
In Boxing News: Floyd Mayweather An All-Time Great, Valuev & More
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)
ShoBox Friday Night Fights
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
Pick ‘Em: Plenty of Big Upcoming Fights in ’06
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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