Corrales-Castillo 2: Do They Really Have To?

23.07.05 - By Wray Edwards: More’s the pity. Standing in the magnificent hall of the Accademia Museum in Florence, Italy we looked up at one of the great accomplishments of western civilization: Michelangelo’s David. This work is a depiction of a young warrior just prior to doing battle. It is an example of a specific human effort which is both thematically and artistically complete and final. Suppose someone had come to Michelangelo and said, “Hey Mike, why don’t you do another one with him looking over his right shoulder this time?” He would be laughed out of town.

Yet, here we are, in the process of whetting our sadistic appetites for a re-match of what was arguably one of the most dramatic prize fights in the history of boxing. And should Castillo win the next contest, our avaricious mentalities will, of course, scream for the “rubber match.” The word “sadistic” applies, because the first pairing of Diego and Jose was a violent slug-fest which was not an example of an elegant ballet of the sweet science in which hit-and-not-be-hit is the ideal. It was a knock-down, drag-out hummer which stirred the hearts of all, except for a few purists who poo-pooed the crass nature of the contest.

These were the same detractors who feigned dismay at the crude nature of the Ebo Elder–Courtney Burton bout which was very nearly as brutal and exciting. The boxing goose laid a golden egg in Corrales-Castillo One. The Morales-Barrera trilogy was an epic demonstration of the potential for the success of such enterprises. Still, there were those who speculated that such brutal encounters might shorten careers by what they “take out” of a boxer. Mickey Ward comes to mind.

During the news conference after the Castillo-Casamayor contest at Mandalay Bay last December, Diego Corrales stood in friendly conversation with those present. Though he was engaged with those who petitioned for his attention, he kept his “cat’s eye” on Castillo most of the time Jose was in the room. Though they both took another fight after their meetings with Joel, it was obvious that Diego was stalking Jose with serious intent. Both Diego and Ebo looked like the loser after their respective victories with eyes swollen nearly shut and bleeding here and there, while their vanquished foes looked much better.

The statue of David is frozen in time as the perfect object it is. So are the images on the video-tapes of Corrales-Castillo One. The almost legendary magnitude of their first fight has everyone positively drooling over the re-match, the money and the colossal venue of the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The memorial energy of that first fight is still so fresh in the author’s mind and feelings, that a re-match seems almost sacrilege. Like the man who took a hammer to the left foot of David, it seems that Boxing (you, me, the boxers, the officials, the trainers and promoters) are planning to desecrate a near perfect memory.

Sentimental you say? Yes…guilty here. It is an isolated and un-sullied pleasure to pop in the tape and view the masterpiece once again whenever the urge arises. One is tempted to say “How can you possibly match that?” “Let’s not take the chance.” Alas, life goes on and glory which is fleeting is better than no glory at all. “Look how the mighty have fallen” is the universal fate of most champions. Yes, the author will watch on October eighth, but with a cautious nostalgia for the first
meeting, hoping that nobody dies, and fearful that the encore might be a disappointment by comparison.

As Buddy McGirt quipped about a recent fight, “The proof is in the Pudding.” There is (we confess) a curiosity about what adjustments and counter-points might have been practiced in the Castillo camp, and what changes will emerge in Chico’s approach to defend his hard-won titles. Some of you may scoff at comparing art and science, but this writer gets almost the same feelings and thoughts from both experiences. Behold the words of another which perfectly depict the seamless relationship (just substitute the word Boxing for the word David).

“The key to the ‘David's’ appeal is Michelangelo's magnificent projection of man at his best--vigorously healthy, beautiful, rational, competent. It expresses a heroic view of man and of a universe auspicious to his success. Such a projection is of immeasurable worth to anyone who holds such a sense of life--whether that person lived 500 years ago or lives today. He can choose to undertake great challenges in the face of seemingly impossible odds; he can actively pursue success, fight for victory--even slay a giant (from “The Meaning of Michelangelo’s David” By Lee Sanstead – Sept. 5, 2004).

Some might find it perverse to speak of Boxing in such a manner, but of all the sports, it is the most intimate, violent and perfect expression of the human challenge here on earth. It treads the fine line between civilization and anarchy, and in doing so instructs each of us with a coarse severity. Those who do not understand this are, sadly, missing out.

Article posted on 24.07.2005

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