Casamayor-Corrales: Vindication For El Cepillo

08.10.06 - By Wray Edwards: Six weeks ago I evaluated Chico's recent career as having been in limbo for seventeen months. He had not thrown a significant punch during that time leading up to this fight. He had not been given a chance to make a series of bouts which most believe is necessary for a boxer to fully recover from a total KO such as he experienced in round four of his second meeting with Castillo. He ended totally off-balance, after a brutal training camp for his ill-fated third meeting with Jose.

What goes around, comes around, and Chico, looking puffy and double-chinned during his pre-fight interview with Jim Gray, was contrite about his own failure to make weight for his third tussle with Joel. Casamayor, whose frame and musculature are a natural Jr. Lightweight/Lightweight combination, made weight with ease. Having been beaten on the scales and financially thrashed by the WBC, Diego entered the ring with two strikes against him. He looked soft and was not well received by the crowd.

It was actually kinda sad watching Chico trying to drum up support from his adopted home-town fans to no avail. Corrales tried to put on a tough face, but it seemed, somehow, futile. Joe Goosen and Gary Shaw had to concede a great deal just to salvage their end of the deal so the fight could still take place. If anyone would be able to help Chico gain an edge against Casamayor, it was Joe Goosen, who had trained Joel before going over to Diego.

I was encouraged during the flyweight prelim to see Joe Cortez ring side hoping he would work Casamayor/Corrales. Kenny Bayless separates the clinches as well as Joe, but IMO gives at least one controversial call in most of his matches. During this one, it came in the 5th frame, which brings us to the fight.

Round One was dictated by Joel who was warming up a tactical approach which showed emphasis on body shots that were probably part of a strategic plan to go long and help to tire Corrales in the late rounds. The crowd got on their case for lack of action though Casa was marginally more active and effective, 10-9 Casamayor

Round Two went to Chico who stepped up a bit more, 19-19

In Rounds Three and Four Casamayor was showing a much more aggressive attitude and was getting through with the left. Joel also followed his attacks with vice-like clinches, if he fell in, waiting for Bayless to make for a safe break. His small nod to the style of John Ruiz earned both fighters a stern ?No wrestling!!? from the ref. Joel edged both rounds, 29-28 & 39-37 Casamayor.

Round Five saw Joel get a really bogus call from the ref when he got his right foot caught on the outside of Diego's left foot. Joel then falling to his left was struck mostly to the back of his head by a Corrales left causing El Cepillo to touch the canvas with his left glove. Bayless miss-read the action and called an eight count on Joel just at the end of the round. Joel complained bitterly and was completely supported by the clear evidence of a trip during the instant replays. I gave Corrales the round, but only by one point, 48-47 Casamayor.

The two fighters then exchanged Rounds Six (Joel '10), Seven (Chico '10), Eight (Joel -10), and Nine (Chico '10) first one carrying the action, and then the other. At 2:33 of the Eighth Joel was given a rest to recover from a Corrales low blow. Corrales cracked Casamayor with sufficient power to truly test his chin and Joel stayed right there, tough guy. After nine it was close, 86-85 Casamayor.

The last three rounds were close. Casa sustained a cut on the bridge of his nose and a small swelling to his left head. Chico had a small cut near his left eye resulting from a Casamayor head thrust. Joel just did, IMO, eke out tens in Rounds Ten (96-94), Eleven (106-103), and Twelve (116-112). I do not often match the most extreme Judge's score (114-113 - Diego, 115-112, Joel, 116-111 Joel), but came close this time.

Corrales looked rusty and soft. He and Joel have a long history which was stretched by Corrales' reluctance to keep his word and give Joel the third to settle things. Unfortunately for Chico, he chose to do so only after having gotten involved in two totally ill-advised and poorly timed rematches with Castillo. From his heady victory over Jose to a total train-wreck year in which he lost a fight, denied a fight, and failed to make weight losing his championship, his money and the sympathy of his fans, Corrales' career has totally imploded.

Though Chico is young, it will take some very resolute changes in his approach and management. Most agree that his premature rematch with Castillo was the beginning of his current troubles. The boxer has some responsibility for this, but his trainer, promoter and management are ultimately responsible for keeping him safe and successful. Certainly, he needs to move up to at least Super Light or Welter, but those are dangerous waters in which swim the likes of Mayweather, Cotto, Hatton, Castillo, Margarito and Mosely.

No longer does it seem that Chico will be able to yo-yo his weight on a string-bean frame to gain weight, height and reach advantage as he did in Super-Feather and Lightweight. Those are big, rough boys up there and Diego will have to make quantum changes and improvements in order to have the slightest chance. These are the kind of choices and events which can end a career. He has some really big decisions to make after this mess. In truth, it's Boxing's inability to come to terms with the damage caused by the absurd weight shifting which is tolerated between scales and fight which causes many of these troubles.

This was a good (not great) fight. It was, for these two, classic Casamayor/Corrales. Boxing is a very formal sport. Compared to MMA or UFC it is a circumscribed form of combat. It's only hope of resurgence lies in the disciplined fielding of professional boxers who are properly managed and matched. Again, and unbelievably, the WBC has failed to properly inform regarding a boxer getting progressively deeper into weight trouble as fight day looms.

It has always been a puzzlement how Chico could continue to turn up at the scales gaunt and pale, surprisingly taller than most other Lightweights, and still prevail in the ring. It finally caught up with him. He did generally well in this fight but had slipped just enough to miss his optimum chance. Joel looked very well trained and had obviously made improvements. At 35 he surely goes against the grain for aging Lightweights. The last time I spoke with him he said he wanted to clear out the division.

A look at the rankings reveals how important timing really is for Joel and his division. Juan Diaz represents the most serious task for Joel if he truly wants to become undisputed LTWT champ. One caveat: Joel would be well-advised to very carefully invest this recent financial windfall in future security. It is tempting to party and celebrate to excess after winning a belt. Joel loves his culture and his country and his life is surrounded with hangers-on who tend to distract him from his view of a secure future and how to ensure it.

Congratulations to Joel Casamayor and his team of Luis De Cubas, Jose Bonilla, Roberto Duran and Danny Wise for their successful fielding of this champion boxer. DRL now has a benchmark championship with which to form a nucleus of success. See you at the fights.

Article posted on 08.10.2006

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