Diego Corrales: “It’s going to be a war”
INTERVIEW By Rob Scott (May 24, 2006)
Diego Corrales
The history of boxing is filled with fights that have thrilled viewers from generation to generation. Single nights like the night Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns waged war on April 15, 1985 will go down as one of those nights that we will never forget. To see fighters go at it multiple times and make the same impression as the first time is a rarity, but for the ones that have lived up to their predecessors, they have left an indelible impression.

Diego Corrales, 40-3 (33), and Jose Luis Castillo, 54-7-1 (47), have thrilled us with their two epic battles and on Saturday June 3rd they will meet for that third added charm for the WBC lightweight championship in what is being billed as the ‘War To Settle The Score’, live from the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Top Rank Inc. and Gary Shaw Promotions will present the bout, in association with Caesars Palace and Wynn Las Vegas and televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing.

As before his first two bouts with Castillo, I spoke with Diego Corrales about what we can expect when these two lock horns. Read what the defending WBC lightweight champion had to say before this their third and deciding fight.  

Rob Scott: What’s going on my friend? Again thanks for taking the time out of your training to talk with our readers.

Diego Corrales: No problem. No problem.

RS: Diego, with different fighters, pre-fight feelings vary. Yes it’s not minutes before your actual fight, but the clock is ticking and June 3rd will be upon us in no time. How is your mental and physical being right now as we speak?

DC: My mental is great and my physical is absolutely flawless. I’m doing good and I feel perfect right now.

RS: There has been a lot of speculation as to whether Castillo had an unfair advantage going into your last fight. It’s easy for viewers, whether they’re trainers, commentators, etc., to speculate, but do (you) think him not making weight was the deciding factor in your last fight?

DC: The deciding factor was when I got careless and got caught with a good shot. Was it a part of the whole thing? Yes. Because when you’re not draining your body the same way I am by not cutting off the extra pounds, it makes a difference. I mean, there are weight divisions for a reason. There are five or six pounds that decide a weight division, and it’s obvious that those five or six pounds mean a lot.

RS: I ask that question because with some punches, it’s not so much as to how powerful they are, but more as to how well placed. In hindsight, which one was the deciding factor in your mind?

DC: He caught me with a good shot, but the weight is still a factor. So I think it is 50/50; good shot, but I was hit with a good shot before when he made weight, but I got up. Not to take away from a good shot, but I don’t want to add any interest to it either.

RS: Castillo not making weight in the last fight brings about questions of how he will make weight this time around. Will your competitive nature make you have the ‘show must go on’ type of attitude this time around, as you had with the last fight?

DC: No, there won’t be a fight.

RS: You, no doubt, at 5 feet 11 happen to be a big lightweight. What’s your walk around weight?

DC:  I don’t tell anybody that (chuckles).

RS: Have you ever had problems making 135lbs?

DC: Oh yeah. That’s why I actually don’t cut him any slack on what he was trying to pull at the weigh-in – you know trying to cheat the scale. I have problem making weight – we all have problem making weight. I’m not going to sit back and play and cheat the scale. I have the same problem he has. It’s not easy for me to make weight and it’s not easy for him to make weight. Let’s do our jobs and be professional.

RS: It’s two down and one to go, and what else can anyone say about the wars that you and Castillo have fought? In the history books your names will be synonymous like Ali/Frazier, Zale/Graziano and others. Give us your personal thoughts on the Corrales/Castillo rivalry and how you see history treating it.

DC: I think history will treat it great. We have kept in stride with all the great rivalries throughout history. I think we will be looked at as awesome. I never thought to have had a rivalry like this with anybody, but I have it now. It’s gonna be unique to actually get older and see how the youngsters, fight fans and the media all treat this fight throughout history.

RS: When Ali/Frazier 3 took place both said the fight was the closest thing to death. You have said that you are willing to die in that ring, but that was spoken in a drag out/ wear down connotation. You and Castillo both have the ability to shoot your best shots and put the other out of their misery though, but in the last fight you were the one shot down in a sense. What differences will you do to dodge his bullets this time and be the last man standing?

DC: We both have to make adjustments; well actually he made his adjustments from the first fight, meaning he got caught in the first fight. He made his adjustments, now it’s time for me to make my adjustments, because now it was me being caught. The differences I will make will be very strategic. They are adjustments that I can’t touch too much on.

RS: When you described Castillo’s power in our last interview you said “It hurts you to the bone”, with this knowledge, why would you place yourself in the direct line of fire?

DC: It’s unavoidable. The one thing about me and him, which is why people come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a bad fight between us, is there no way to avoid the inside fight. There is no way to avoid the inside fight at some point in time. I’m very come forward – he’s very come forward; no matter where the fight starts off at, it always ends up there. The trenches are where you are going to win the fight. There are actual layers to this fight that have to be won; the outside must be controlled, then the mid-range with defense has to be taken, then from that point comes a war of attrition. Who is going to win that battle on the inside? Knowing how this fight will progress, you’re going to have to control the inside game. 

RS: You’ve been indecisive on a move up in weight but Castillo has said that this will definitely be his last lightweight fight. Since you’ve experienced him first hand, tell us how you see Castillo faring against the likes of a Miguel Cotto, England’s Ricky Hatton or even the top welterweight fighters like Antonio Margarito, since he was a welterweight in the second fight that you two had.

DC: I see him beating Miguel Cotto. Hands down, I see him beating Cotto. Ricky Hatton would be very interesting, but I think he could beat Ricky Hatton on the inside. Hatton would have to fight him on the inside, and Castillo’s left hook to the body is one of the best left hooks to the body and he really never has gotten credit for it. So I think he would beat Ricky Hatton. Margarito? Much too big of a guy. I think he would be the one; too big – much too big.

RS: I was working at ringside in England the night Ricky Hatton beat Kostya Tszyu. I knew you would be there before Hatton’s people did. The rumor was you were there to challenge the winner. When this was mentioned to Hatton’s people, their eagerly sounding response was that they would send a car to the airport for you, as at that time, they didn’t believe the rumor. They showed eagerness back then and a win in this third fight with Castillo may bring that eagerness back, especially with Hatton deep down realizing that 140lbs is a better place for him. With both of your fighting styles, describe a Corrales/Hatton confrontation.

DC: I’m extremely good on the inside. I think my power on the inside would make him venture outside and once he’s outside I would be able to pick him apart. I think that fight is a lot easier than most people think it would be. Especially seeing how easy Collazo out-boxed him. Ricky Hatton, to me, was a very protected young guy. But if he is gung ho, first things first, let me handle Castillo – then I’m here.

RS: A fight between you in his stomping ground of Manchester would be huge. Would you fight him in hometown?

DC: The fight has got to be done where the fight has to be done. I don’t think here, hell or his hometown would make a difference.

RS: You and your wife, not too long ago, have been blessed with a new baby girl; first off, congratulations to you and her.

DC: Thank you.

RS: Like any family man, I know that they are a reason for you fighting so hard. That nest egg is a goal of many, but in this sport that quest for that nest egg can hamper your quality of life to enjoy it with your family when your career is all said and done. With that being said, how much longer will you be in this game?

DC: I don’t know, you know?  Me and my wife do a lot of talking about that now. I want to get back to my kids and spend time with my children. I love what I’m doing though and that’s the problem that I have with the game right now in leaving the game. So for me to answer that question, it’s very, very hard. I don’t know. I mean to tell you the honest truth, I love what I’m doing right now and I want to ride this train until it comes to a stop. But the minute I feel it slowing down I would stop this thing from moving.

RS: You know I have to ask you, when and how will the fight with Castillo end?

DC: Oh, it’s going to war with me taking control, having control and keeping control all the rounds until it ends. You’ll see; this last meeting with me and Castillo, I will win the fight. 

RS: So it’s total concentration on Castillo? Meaning, there is no one else on your blueprint or road map?

DC: Nobody – nobody, the only roadmap that I have is to the ring do battle one last time and then I’m going to invite him for a drink – then c'est-la-vie (laughing).

RS: Diego, no matter who wins the fight, Castillo and yourself have proven that the fans will be the true winners. Third fight, third interview and for the third time, it was a pleasure talking to you. Good luck on the June 3rd and in the future.

DC: Thanks Bro.

Once again I’d like to thank Ed Jackson and Antonio Leonard for all their help with this interview and to Diego Corrales himself for taking the time out of his training schedule to talk before this important third fight with Jose Luis Castillo. Be sure to tune into Showtime on Saturday June 3rdth 2006 as Corrales takes on Castillo in the ‘War To Settle The Score’.

Questions or comments,
Rob at: Robscottxl@msn.com
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