Dogfight: Castillo vs. Corrales
By Aaron Imholte vs. Sean Newman (May 6, 2005) 
Photo © Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
This Saturday night on Showtime at 9pm ET/PT, Jose Luis Castillo will attempt to unify his WBC lightweight crown with the WBO version held by Diego ‘Chico’ Corrales in another pick ‘em fight that has hardcore fans salivating at the promise of a sustained all-action bout. They say there are two sides to every story and this week Sean Newman steps in for regular Dogfighter Martin Wade to go head-to-head with Aaron Imholte to breakdown the strengths of these two battle-hardened warriors.

Aaron Imholte: WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo has been underrated for a long time now. This may be part of the reason Sean thinks his WBO counterpart Diego Corrales is going to beat him. (I don’t get to read his part but I’m guessing he thinks Chico will KO Castillo.) But why? Why is a man who fought Floyd Mayweather to two close decision losses being so underrated and looked at as the underdog?

The answer is the manner in which he conducts himself in and out of the ring. He is not a gloater, a showman, or an arrogant fighter. He is a workhorse who goes about his business, breaks down his opponent over time, and finishes him later in the fight. He does all of this minus the excessive trash talking and finger pointing. He is a quiet, class act, and that does not necessarily translate into ticket sales or pay-per-view buys.

Castillo comes into this fight riding a six fight win streak which includes an unquestionable unanimous decision victory over Juan Lazcano, a not so unquestionable split decision over Joel Cassamayor, and a dominant dismantling of the gutsy Julio Diaz in March.

Jose is a different fighter than Corrales’ last KO victim, Acelino Freitas. Freitas, a slugger, wanted to get inside and out punch Chico and that is something you just cannot do to a warrior and hellacious puncher like Corrales.

Castillo, on the other hand, is more patient. He will use his defense and counter punching techniques to frustrate Corrales and control the tempo of the fight. Castillo will use his all around boxing superiority to break his man down outpoint him, or even score a late stoppage.

While Chico holds the height and power advantage, it will take a lot more than that to unify the WBC/WBO lightweight titles. Corrales will be fighting a hungry, underrated and under respected opponent who wants his recognition and a couple of flush shots to the chin will not be enough to stop him. To win a fight like this you need to be a great all around boxer. This means taking punches, slipping punches, countering punches, and pacing yourself for a 12 round marathon.

If Jose Luis Castillo can utilize his superior boxing skills and use all of the tools in his arsenal, he will decisively outpoint Diego Corrales and unify the belts. Corrales is big, and he does hit hard, but how will he react this time when the man he is hitting doesn’t fall all over the ring and scream ‘No mas’ when he gets hurt? (Sorry Acelino.) Jose Luis Castillo will outbox, outlast, and out-heart Corrales on his way to a unanimous decision this Saturday.

Sean Newman: I must begin by saying I am honored to pick up the slack for my colleague Martin Wade in this Dogfight, and though I lack experience in such debates I will attempt to make up for it in boxing, ahem, knowledge. This weekend’s lightweight fight, contested for The Ring Magazine’s World Championship, promises to be a fight of the year type and is one that has been heavily anticipated by hardcore fans.

Castillo is best known for hanging in there with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. better than anyone else to date, and arguably winning their first meeting. He really established himself as a star quality fighter with his face-rearranging drubbing of ‘The Hispanic Causing Panic’, Juan Lazcano. Castillo is a relentless warrior who gives and takes a good shot, and has the ability to box when it is called for.

Corrales, on the other hand, has recently undergone somewhat of a metamorphosis from a boxer to a boxer/puncher in wins over Joel Casamayor and Acelino Freitas. While the Casamayor fight was close, the Freitas fight was not. After bouncing around the ring like a hyperactive puppy and winning a few rounds in the process, Freitas was eventually broken down and was bounced off the ring canvas a few times before calling it a night.

Corrales has always had frightening power and his move from junior lightweight up to lightweight does not seem to have affected him in this regard. However, given Castillo’s ability to absorb punishment and trudge forward, combined with Corrales’ susceptibility to flash knockdowns, it would be in Chico’s best interests to use his freakish height and reach advantage and employ his newly acquired boxing skills to take Castillo apart from the outside. In no event would it be wise for Corrales to engage Castillo in a shootout.

This will not be an easy task, as there is scarcely a better pure boxer in the sport in Floyd Mayweather, and even he had substantial problems with Jose Luis Castillo. Castillo also owns a close win over Casamayor, who seems to be just good enough to drop narrow decisions to the top fighters. So Castillo is clearly nobody’s pushover. Just ask Cesar Bazan and Julio Diaz. Diego is a better fighter at this point than any of the above save Mayweather, and we know what happened when Corrales went head to head with him. But that was a long time ago. If he’s improved as much as it appears since that fight, he should be good enough to beat Castillo, just as Mayweather did.

Corrales seems to have adapted well to different styles in his last few fights since coming back from his judicially imposed hiatus. The fight with Castillo will provide no exception, and Corrales will box efficiently enough, adequately using power to keep Castillo honest if not altogether hurting him, winning a close but unanimous decision in the end.
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