Castillo vs. Corrales 3: Will Chico Take a Page From Gatti?

30.05.06 – By Flavio Alvarez: Here we go again… Castillo vs. Corrales. In a summer that promises to be a dream for any true boxing enthusiast, there is probably no fight more anticipated than the third installment of Castillo/Corrales. And perhaps none harder to predict. The smart man’s money would go to Castillo, and there is good reason. It’s not a stretch to say Chico won the first fight miraculously, being both behind on points and physically at the edge of the precipice. The second fight is tainted with controversy because Castillo did not make the weight, but the outcome was pretty clear..

It’s up to debate whether three pounds can give a man such a physical advantage over another when both are world class athletes, after all, heavyweights fight at much bigger disadvantages all the time, but it is certainly true that Castillo did not make the effort to lose the extra weight, which would have certainly depleted his energy for the fight. In any case, Castillo was visibly the stronger man that night, and had it not been for the weight controversy, we probably would not be having a third fight.

Having said all that, what can we expect for the third one? Two questions seem the most relevant to ask, and Corrales has to answer both:

1. Does he have anything left physically to go through another war like the first one? There is only so much punishment a body can take in a career before it starts to give out. The minute between rounds becomes too short, the face swells faster, the chin can’t take as much punishment. We saw a glimpse of it last week with Barrera. At the beginning of the fight Larry Merchant said the “baby face assassin” was looking more like the “Poker face assassin” at this point in his career, and by the end of the fight he looked more like the victim of a murder than an assasin. After the first fight, something inside me said “Corrales will never again be the same boxer.” The second fight might just be proof of that.

2. Can Corrales beat Castillo by boxing him? Chico certainly has the hand and foot speed to box Castillo. And the skill. The problem with this is that Castillo is specially adept at chasing down people. Even Mayweather, who Corrales himself could barely touch, had trouble staying away from Castillo in their first fight. There might also the belief in Corrales’ corner
that he is better off inside where Castillo can’t extend his punches. In the first fight, Gooden’s advice when Corrales was in trouble was “You better get inside of him now!”

Still, in the first fight Corrales did good in those brief moments when he was at a middle distance, staying away from punishment and dishing out his own.

But even if Corrales can’t stay away from trouble, he has two things working in his favor: a left hand that can make a Jimmy the Greek prediction as useless as a prediction by Walter Mercado, and a right hand with exactly the same resume. And if even those fail? He still has the biggest heart in boxing. I predict lots of drama.