It’s often easy to forget that lightweight warriors Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo fought twice. It is the first fight – war, slugfest for the ages, contender for greatest fight of all-time – that these two are to be forever remembered for. It was 16 years ago today when “Chico” met Castillo at The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Every fight fan who saw it live, either in attendance or on TV, knows the story.
How these two superbly conditioned fighters tore right into one another from the opening bell, how they carried on doing so for nine non-stop rounds with scarcely a clinch in sight or in mind. This was blistering toe-to-toe action of the finest kind. Then came the tenth round and the stunning ending that elevated the fight even higher, into a league of its own.
Corrales, busted up and on the verge of exhaustion, was sent down by an equally shattered Castillo. But Corrales, afforded a little extra time due to his mouthpiece coming out, got back and up and fought back. Downed again, “Chico” this time bought precious seconds by spitting out the mouthpiece. Penalised by the referee, Corrales then somehow, some way roared back and pounded away at the Mexican hard-man to get the stoppage. It was truly breathtaking stuff.
All these years later, and has a fight topped Corrales KO10 Castillo for raw action, for drama, for sheer thrills? Probably not. As we also know, Corrales lost his life on May 7th of 2007, just two years to the day after his legendary, career-defining win.
The two did fight a return, in October of 2005. This time, an over-the-weight Castillo scored a relatively easy fourth-round TKO win. But nobody really remembers that fight. What we do remember, and always will, is the magnificent epic we were treated to when Corrales and Castillo took each other to the absolute limit in May of 2005.
Some fans point to Ali-Frazier, others to Robinson-LaMotta, or maybe Barrera-Morales, or Gatti-Ward, or Hagler-Hearns. All great, great fights, but did the 135 pound hell Corrales and Castillo unleashed on each other serve up the best fight ever? Maybe.