Corrales Stops Castillo: What a Round! What a Fight!
By Sean Newman, Photo Lay Out By German Villasenor (May 8, 2005) 
Photos © German Villasenor
If fans watching from ringside and on Showtime had been lulled into a semi-conscious state by the tactical fight between Juan Manuel Marquez, they were certainly jolted awake by the utter carnage that followed, and were undoubtedly left talking about it well into the night and early morning hours. What transpired between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo was one of the most brutal, grueling, and dramatic fights witnessed in recent memory. In other words, it was beautiful. In the end, there was Diego ‘Chico’ Corrales staging one of the most improbable comebacks a single round has ever produced, and in doing so laid claim to The Ring Magazine’s World Lightweight Championship.

The fireworks began early as each fighter drew warnings from referee Tony Weeks in the opening round. Corrales began that frame by jabbing from the outside, but would not stay in that position for very long. Soon, the tone of the fight was set, with each fighter’s head resting on the shoulders and neck of the other as they whaled away on each other with reckless abandon. Corrales took the first round on my card with some excellent work on the inside, including a nice body attack.

The fight continued its frantic pace in the second, as Castillo, 31, scored well with left hooks to the body. A two punch combination from Corrales, however, briefly stumbled Castillo, who fired right back with a right hand. A left by Corrales late might have taken back the round. Corrales started the third by firing strong, accurate left hooks, which would become his signature punch through much of the fight. Castillo answered with a series of right uppercuts, a punch he would put his trademark stamp on in the fight. Castillo seemed to briefly stun Corrales with a flurry at the end of round three.

This was becoming a typical rock ‘em, sock ‘em robot affair with Corrales and Castillo taking turns on offense with little to no defense, and it was very difficult to score as a result. Castillo suffered a moderate cut over his left eye for his troubles in round four, which referee Weeks ruled was the result of an accidental butt, however cameras seemed to confirm that it was a result of a punch.

Corrales seemed to box more in the fifth, but often the two brave warriors were back on top of one another. Back to the inside in the sixth round, with Castillo knocking Corrales back with a left uppercut. By round seven, Corrales’ left eye was rapidly becoming a mess, with swelling underneath threatening to close it completely. His right eye was no pretty sight either, but still he fought on even terms with Castillo in the seventh and perhaps won the round with harder, cleaner blows, included the left hook that buckled Castillo’s knees to punctuate the round.

The eighth round featured such back and forth action and terrific punching that it could have been considered for round of the year. All consideration for that honor was subsequently taken away, but in this round, Corrales went right after Castillo, seeming to want to capitalize on Castillo’s lingering weariness. Each fighter scored well, back and forth, and the crowd remained on its feet. Corrales lost his mouthpiece, seeming to spit it out unnecessarily in the middle of a combination by Castillo.

The ninth would be the calm before the storm, only there was nothing really calm about it, like everything else with this fight. Castillo would be warned for punching low, and just after that, rocked by a big Corrales combination. A big right at the bell had Castillo in some trouble again.

Early in the tenth, a scorching left hook by Castillo sent Corrales down for the first knockdown of the fight. Out went the mouthpiece from Corrales again, as he used an old trick to buy himself precious extra seconds to recover. After getting up late in the count, Castillo was all over him again, and a left hook-right hand-left hook combination floored Corrales again, and again Corrales spit out his mouthpiece. He rose at the count of nine, and Weeks took a point from Corrales for the intentional spitting of the mouthpiece. In what was quickly becoming a blowout, already a 10-7 round, it seemed just a matter of time before Castillo ended things. Things would be ended, alright, but not by Castillo.

Corrales’ trainer Joe Goossen, as he replaced Corrales’ mouthpiece, looked into his dazed fighter’s eyes and gave him some words of encouragement, the urgency clear in the manner he delivered them. Corrales could not have responded more affirmatively. As Castillo closed in for the kill, he was caught with a terrific right hand from Chico, one that sent him reeling with his back to the ropes. He was a sitting duck and Corrales fired punch after punch, many of which connected flush.

As Castillo’s hands came down with every punch and his eyes drifted toward the rafters, his legs refused to fold. Referee Tony Weeks then jumped between the two fighters at the 2:06 mark, saving Castillo from what could have turned into a tragedy. At the time of the stoppage, Corrales led by 3 points and 1 point on two cards, and Castillo led by 3 points on another, illustrating just what a close, difficult fight this was to score. This writer had it 87-85 for Corrales at the end.

Corrales has proven now himself among the top pound for pound fighters in the world, having attained victories over Joel Casamayor, Acelino Freitas, and now Castillo. Castillo proved, once again, his warrior’s heart and excellent overall ability, and loses only his title with this fight. He certainly loses no respect.

In that frantic tenth round, these two battlers were immortalized. In it, they turned a very good fight into a fight for the ages, and a round that will probably be recalled as one of the best, if not the best of all-time. Boxing fans everywhere, after witnessing this, would be crazy to call for anything other than a rematch. To Corrales and Castillo, we owe a great debt of thanks for this unbelievable fight, and to Showtime, a thanks for televising it so we could all have the chance to watch it.


Juan Manuel Marquez put up a near shutout performance with his IBF/WBA featherweight title retaining win over Victor Polo of Colombia. Though Polo had his moments, he was never really in the fight at all, and was knocked down for the fifth time in his career in round seven. Marquez advances to 44-2-1 with the win. Richard Steele was the referee.
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