by Jeremy "Fasttalker" Bjornberg - 05/10/2005
Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo battled Saturday at Mandalay Bay in what has easily been the fight of the year, and a candidate for best fight of all time. It definitely became an instant classic as the two lightweight champions bravely fought toe-to-toe for 10 incredible rounds.
In the first round Diego Corrales and Castillo didn't bother to feel each other out at all -- rather both fighters exchanged left hooks and crushing body blows. Diego Corrales, at 6'0 -- 4 or 5 inches taller than Castillo -- really had no intelligent reason to stay inside. He would have been much better off jabbing and boxing from the outside.
Corrales did not come to box, he came to cement his reputation as a warrior and a throwback fighter. He accomplished that feat along with cementing his reputation as the most exciting fighter in boxing, an even more talented version of Arturo Gatti.
The first round was a tossup and both fighters were doing damage. The next few rounds were very similar, Castillo was landing a higher volume of weakening shots, and Diego Corrales would come back by stunning him occasionally with his tremendous power. After six rounds, Castillo and Corrales both had swollen eyes and both were having trouble seeing the bombs coming. Castillo seemed to be taking over as he was clearly out landing and slowing down the too brave for his own good Corrales.
Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo
As the fight moved to the championship rounds, Diego Corrales could not see out of one eye at all and barely out of the other. Castillo had a huge mouse that was cut above his right eye as well. Both fighters were head-to-head the whole fight and it started heating up again in the ninth round as a few exchanges had both fighters stunned.
Corrales was taking a lot of shots and I was starting to wonder if the body shots were also taking their toll as his work rate started slowing. The rabid Mexican fans were all cheering for Castillo and they were starting to smell blood.
Round 10 was hands down the greatest round I have ever seen and it was just icing on the cake for this amazing war. Diego Corrales was dropped early in the round from a short shot inside and he crumbled to the canvas in a heap. He spit out his mouthpiece and just barely made it up at the count of nine.
After a short break to clean his mouthpiece Diego refused to hold on, rather he went right to Castillo and was promptly dropped again and this time he looked like a beaten man. Corrales grabbed his mouthpiece out and threw it out and many in the arena thought the fight was over. Referee Tony Weeks carefully looked over the shaky Corrales and decided the fight could go on, however he also deducted a point from Diego for the mouthpiece maneuver. This round officially dashed any hopes Diego had of winning a decision. Diego's corner was close to stopping the fight as trainer Joe Goosen looked over Diego Corrales' glossy eyes and he gave Diego the benefit of the doubt.
The ref signaled to fight and it looked like Castillo was going to put an end to the battle. What happened next is the most heroic thing I've witnessed in sports. Diego decided once again to not hold, rather he went in for the kill himself.
Diego is the kind of fighter who goes out on his guard, and he was not going to go out without giving it everything he had. Diego landed a few jarring left hooks to the chin of Castillo and he wobbled him on both. Castillo then landed a short right that almost dropped Corrales again, but he held on and fired back with a combo that once again hurt Castillo.
Diego Corrales sensed a KO and moved in with no caution. Diego landed one of his vintage left hooks again to stagger Castillo along the ropes. The whole arena went silent as Corrales proceeded to unload every punch in the book on an exhausted and hurt Castillo. Finally the punch Diego had looked for all night landed and it instantly froze Castillo's arms and made his eyes roll back in his head. Only the ropes were holding up Castillo and Tony Weeks moved in for the stoppage.
It might have been a bit premature but it wouldn't have mattered. Castillo was out on his feet and since he had never been down in 60-plus fights, he probably would have stayed on his feet and taken a lot more potentially life threatening damage. Diego Corrales not only unified the Lightweight division, he put himself in the Hall of Fame.
I could feel a fighter moving onto a level of greatness few ever achieve. Diego Corrales is now boxing's biggest warrior and also maybe its hardest puncher. Words cannot describe the shocking stoppage but I do know that a Hall of Fame spot was earned. The fight was the greatest fight seen in my time and hopefully a rematch will be made. Diego is the kind of fighter and personality that should be taken advantage of by all sports fans. Doc's was right again with this pick, although we did expect a decision; it was hard to be disappointed by this KO. Doc's improved to 15-3 on boxing picks.
I can only hope the upcoming Felix Trinidad versus Winky Wright fight will be at all comparable. I know Tito will do his part -- Winky was at the fight and it should add some motivation for him to keep the boxing public buzzing. Doc's has once again done their homework and found a lot of value in their picks for this fight. Don't miss out on more 100 percent guaranteed profits, the values are too hard to pass up.
NBC show The Contender had another thrilling ending as my fellow Minnesotan Anthony Bonsante won the first four rounds but foolishly listened to his corner and went for the KO in the final round. Nevada native Jesse Brinkley dropped Bonsante with a devastating uppercut and Bonsante got up but was finished a few seconds later. This was the first stoppage in Bonsante's career and was a very impressive win for Brinkley. The final four fighters are now Sergio Mora, Peter Manfredo Jr., Jesse Brinkley and Alfonso Gomez. The action will really heat up next week as the show winds down to the live finale.
Check back later this week as Doc's will give its updated pound for pound rankings. Expect Diego to jump into the top five as he is rewarded for his third straight thrilling victory over a topflight champion.
Click the link for boxing picks.