Some very interesting match-ups are headed our way in the next few months. Fights such as Felix Trinidad vs. ‘Winky’ Wright, James Toney vs. John Ruiz and Floyd Mayweather vs. Arturo Gatti are sure to bring a great deal of excitement and interest. Of all the bouts taking place, the can’t miss match-up in my eye happens on Saturday May 7th as Showtime Championship Boxing broadcasts a unification clash between WBO lightweight champion Diego ‘Chico’ Corrales and WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo live from Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. With a combined record of 91-8-1 (78), this match-up has the makings of a definite fight of the year candidate.
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I had the pleasure of speaking with the defending WBO champion Diego Corrales after a hard day of training for a discussion leading to up this battle.
Rob Scott: First off I’d like to thank you for taking the time out in between your training to talk with us.
Diego Corrales: No problem. No problem at all.
RS: I first met you at Ballys in Atlantic City in 2003 directly after your initial comeback fight with Michael Davis. We spoke and took a few pictures together with your manager James Prince. I told you that night that if you keep at it, there would be no question that you would be back on top. Was there ever a moment while being incarcerated, that you doubted yourself?
DC: Um, yeah I had my moments. It’s always hard when you walk it. A lot of people can’t see it, but it’s always hard to walk it. I had my moments where I was like, “Am I still going to be able to do this”, and you know you have your worries.
RS: Only you know of the true negatives that were in your life back in 00/01. Are all those negatives dealt with now in 2005?
DC: Oh yeah, those are all done and gone. It is what it is.
RS: Before your fight with Floyd Mayweather in 2001, he made public remarks about you and the domestic abuse situation, saying he would win for all battered women. Give us your thoughts on all the run-ins with the law concerning him and hitting women since your fight.
DC: It’s just bad karma I guess. You know you do bad - you get bad, I suppose. That’s kind of what happened to him. Honestly, I hope nothing but the best for him. Hopefully he pulls out of this whole thing and is able to keep his self together; because, just going through that and actually having lived it on my own, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. Not even my worst enemy would I wish that upon. It’s truly a mentally/emotionally draining situation; so my heart goes out to him and I hope him nothing but the best.
RS: Going into the Freitas fight, he was known as a powerful knockout puncher. After taking his best shots, give us your assessment of his punching power.
DC: Freitas can punch. I take nothing from the kid the kid can punch.
RS: Is he the hardest hitter you’ve faced?
DC: I’ve been hit hard by a lot of good punchers and he’s definitely up there with some of the hardest punchers I’ve ever faced.
RS: What’s a more satisfying feeling the knockout or making someone say “no mas”?
DC: Wow (laughs), you know what? I personally would have preferred a knockout, but I will take the W, whatever way I get it.
RS: Not looking past your next fight with Castillo, but you have a rematch clause with Acelino Freitas. Would he be your next opponent after Castillo?
DC: You know what? I can’t answer that question. I’m gonna give Castillo his props and credit, because he is the only thing on my mind. There won’t be a Freitas if I don’t get past Castillo. So, I’m not gonna think what I’m gonna do past this fight. We haven’t scheduled anything. We haven’t talked about scheduling anything past May 7th. May 7th is all I’m looking at.
RS: You were down a total of 8 times between the Mayweather fight and your two bouts with Casamayor. Those knockdowns seem to come from their speed. Were you ever hurt in those fights?
DC: No, not at all.
RS: I think the Freitas fight should have eliminated questions of your chin. With all the shots that you took from Freitas and kept coming, do you think Castillo really feels that you do have a weak chin as he has said to the media?
DC: I think he is really trying to convince himself. I think he knows what he is in for and that is the way for him to give himself that little bit of extra courage. I think he knows what he is in for.
RS: Mayweather and Casamayor had speed; Castillo relies on strength and power. On paper, you haven’t faced anyone as strong as Castillo; to the best of your knowledge, has he ever faced anyone as powerful as you?
DC: No, I don’t think he has ever faced anybody as powerful as me either. I think me and him both have one thing in common, that is, I am the biggest and he is the biggest that I have faced. We are the neutralizing factors in our careers, in that he is used to having the size advantage over everybody and I’m used to having the size advantage over everybody. He is used to having the power advantage over everybody and I am too. It is gonna be the clash of the titans of the lightweights. We are the biggest and strongest and now we will see who is the biggest and baddest.
RS: Freitas couldn’t handle your pressure, and as hard as you hit, deep down, do you think Castillo will withstand your punches?
DC: We’ll find out on May 7th.
RS: You and Castillo were scheduled to meet each other this past March, but the fight fell through. On fight night, it will be your first fight in 9 months, explain what you and your trainer Joe Goossen have done to combat his activity and for that matter, your inactivity.
DC: We’ve done so much work. We started camp early, and we were so far ahead of schedule as of like three or four weeks ago, it was ridiculous. So, that’s what we did, we put extra time in camp. It was a particularly long camp, but knowing that we had so much time off, we needed this long camp.
RS: Castillo said, win or lose, he would be moving up after this fight. You at 5 feet 11, how much longer will you campaign at 135lbs?
DC: As long as there is something there for me to go after and get; and as long as my body will permit.
RS: Is it a struggle getting to the 135lb limit?
DC: We’ll find out in this fight here, because this is where I’m going to be a complete true lightweight and probably junior welterweight; and now I’ll be able to tell you more if it is going to be a struggle or not.
RS: People talk of how fighters like Felix Trinidad seeks challenges, but with two fights with Casamayor, a war with Freitas, and now this showdown with Castillo, where do you think you fit on that mythical pound-for-pound list?
DC: You know, I don’t even worry about the pound-for-pound. I let other people say where I stand pound-for-pound. It’s not my goal; it’s not one of the thing that burning me to get into. I don’t care about the pound-for-pound list. I care where I stand in history and I’m gonna keep on chopping at that. If I happen to make the pound-for-pound list, that will be great, but everything I’m working for is my place in history. I’ve obtained my goals by becoming world champion, not once, not twice, but three different times; and now I’m trying to secure my spot in history. The pound-for-pound list? It would be a new accolade for myself, but it’s really not all that important.
RS: Believe me, you have a lot of supporters at DoghouseBoxing.com. What things would you like to say to them before leaving?
DC: Thanks for all your support and don’t miss May 7th, because it’s gonna be the battle that they have been waiting for.
RS: Last but not least, I know you’ve seen each other at the press conferences, but is there anything you want to say to Castillo and for that matter, your future opponents, so they can read it on our Doghouse pages?
DC: Be ready for May 7th, because it’s war.
RS: Again, thanks for taking time out to talk to sit and talk. Good luck in your fight on the 7th.
I'd like to thank John Beyrooty and Ed Jackson for setting up this interview.
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