|Corrales-Casamayor trilogy ends in tactical split decision
By Jeremy Valdez (Oct 9, 2006) Photo © German Villasenor
In a fight surrounded by bad blood, bad words, and plenty of controversy Joel Casamayor defeated Diego Corrales for the WBC lightweight title in a close, tactical fight to win a split decision that could have very well gone either way.
Many experts and fans expected another war between these two combatants to settle their series of memorable fights. Their first fight ended when Corrales mouthpiece cut deeply into his lip and ringside doctors wouldn't let him continue. It was a brutal fight with both fighters being knocked down. The rematch didn't have quite the action, but the two still delivered an exciting fight with Corrales winning a split decision.
This fight started off very tactical and slow paced with both fighters feeling each other out. In the fifth round Diego Corrales was credited with a knockdown that appeared to be more of a slip that was caused by a brushing blow instead of a flush shot. The action got heated by the middle rounds with both fighters trading low blows, headbutts and elbows
throughout, with a few hard punches mixed in. Both fighters seemed able to walk through each other's best shots. Corrales seemed to control the pace of the fight as he stalked Casamayor throughout, while Casamayor showboated and played to the crowd in many of the rounds. The difference in the fight seemed to be that the judges favored Casamayor's counterpunching and combinations over Corrales' seemingly harder single shots that he was able to land. The judges had it 114-113 for Corrales, and 115-112 and 116-111 for Casamayor. Both fighters, however, believed they deserved the victory.
"I thought I won the fight," Corrales told Jim Gray in his post fight interview. "I'll have to go back and watch the tape, but I thought I won the fight. I boxed very well. I used a good jab and started landing combinations later in the fight. I'm pretty tired, my body is running on fumes right now but I felt pretty good. You've seen the end of me at 135 and it's time to go home and decide if you've seen the end of me period.”
Casamayor was no doubt ecstatic that he earned the victory given that all three of his losses ended in close controversial decisions. "I was concerned,” he admitted. “Three other fights didn't go my way, but I knew they weren't going to take this one away from me because I won it clearly. I never went down, it was clear that it was a push not a knockdown.”
The fight may have lacked the action that the fans at The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas wanted but it didn't lack in controversy before the fight. In an ironic reversal of his role in the weigh in debacle for his third fight with Jose Luis Castillo, this time it was Corrales that could not make the 135 lb weight limit. He could not get below 139 lbs at the weigh in and several different factors had to be agreed upon for the fight to go on. There had to be a second weigh in the day of the fight and neither fighter could weigh more than 147. Corrales was also fined $240,000 with half of that going to Casamayor. He also agreed to give Casamayor an undisclosed amount of money so Casamayor would take the fight. Lastly, Diego Corrales was stripped of his WBC lightweight title and Casamayor was the only one that could leave the ring with the belt, while Corrales could only fight for his pride. The title would have remained vacant had Casamayor lost. After blasting Castillo so publicly for not making weight a second time for their rubber match, Corrales was very dejected and somber before the fight. He took full responsibility and blame and said he did everything he could to make weight. He claimed he ate almost nothing the week of the fight and said he felt faint at the weigh in. Corrales falls to 40-4 (33) while Casamayor moves his record to 34-3-1 (21).
On the undercard exciting and hard punching Vic Darchinyan of Australia by way of Armenia defeated Glenn Donaire by a technical decision win with all three judges scoring 60-53 for Darchinyan. Darchinyan nailed Donaire with hard punches throughout and was seemingly deprived of a deserved TKO victory. In the sixth round Darchinyan was landing numerous power punches when Donaire informed referee Tony Weeks that he thought he had a broken jaw. His mouth was clearly bleeding and the ringside doctor advised the fight to be stopped. For some unapparent reason, Weeks ruled that it was a clash of heads that caused the injury and not the numerous power punches, therefore it would go to the scorecards. Replay's showed no clash of heads. Donaire acted disappointed after the doctor advised the fight to be stopped but it clearly looked as if Donaire initiated the stoppage and simply wanted to taste no more of Darchinyan's left and right combinations and opted for a way out with his pride intact. Darchinyan, who retained his IBF flyweight title, is now 27-0 (21) and seems on his way to numerous big fights in the lighter divisions. Donaire, who for his part did take a good punch, falls to 16-3-1 (9).
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