World War III: Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo

01.06.06 - By Barry McQueirns: The first fight between these two fighters was possibly the most brutal and dramatic fight in History. Corrales got off the floor twice in the 10th to batter Castillo along the ropes and force the referee’s intervention, whereas the second fight was fairly one sided and ended in Castillo knocking Corrales out with a monster left hook in the 4th.

Both fights were marred in controversy – Corrales deliberately spat his gumshield out when dropped to gain some valuable seconds in that breathtaking 10th round of the first war. And in the second fight, Castillo came in overweight, whilst one of his entourage was caught red-handed (or red-footed) sticking his foot under the scales to lift them up slightly (allowing Castillo to make weight).

The situation was a farce, and in retrospect, Castillo had a clear advantage by not boiling himself down to 135lbs.

They were meant to have fought for the third time back in February, but Corrales pulled out after injuring himself in sparring. The rest can only have done Corrales good, both physically and mentally. The last few weeks he has had an air of confidence I didn’t see in the build up to the second fight.

I remember watching the rematch and thinking Corrales had his strategy all wrong. He seemed to think that he and Castillo had entered into a silent contract that stipulated they stand in punching range and trade from the first bell. To his credit, Castillo moved out of range, picked his shots better, and blocked a lot more than the first encounter. He also looked a lot physically stronger. There is, no doubt, not boiling off those extra few pounds seem to help Castillo. At this level, that is equivalent to not eating properly for a week.

In his last fight, Castillo fought a boring and pointless 12-rounder vs. Renaldo Reyes, back in February. Sadly, Castillo seemed uninterested. However, I'd be willing to bet that he will definitely be up for this. The teak-tough, granite chinned warrior sees winning as vindication for the weight scandal which many feel tainted his previous victory. Equally, Corrales has stated he is prepared to put himself through hell to win the decider in the series.

It’s this do-or-die attitude from both combatants that will make this fight so thrilling.

If this was waged at 142, I would make Castillo a firm favourite. He has a better chin and is physically stronger. The WBC confirmed that last week Castillo weighed in at 142lbs. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a bit heavier. That means he will have had to shed another 7 lbs by the weigh-in. Clearly, I think this will be a huge factor

I suspect Corrales will use his height advantage early on and stay on his toes, using the canvas a bit more. I can see him targeting the body early to soften Castillo up for the later rounds – Nothing hurts a weight drained fighter more than a body shot. This will give Castillo ample opportunity to counter with the left hook, but I suspect he won’t have the sharpness that he had in their second encounter.

Castillo, for his part, will probably do what he did for the second fight. In other words, try to persuade Corrales to over commit himself and punish him. And Castillo could finish this early - he has that sort of power.

But I think Corrales will box with a bit more caution in the early rounds, possibly building up a lead with work from long range. But at some stage in the fight, Castillo will hurt Chico and I think it is in the make up of Corrales to throw tactics out of the window and engage in a war.

I see the fight going back and forth, much like their first encounter, with Corrales winning narrowly on points or stopping Castillo, on his feet, in the 11th round.

Article posted on 01.06.2006

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