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Jose Luis Castillo “Gets” Oprah

BY Michael Woods ON May 23, 2006
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You’d think the guy was a full-fledged fatty with all the hubbub surrounding his weight.

It’s like a Weight Watchers meeting whenever Jose Luis Castillo is around, really.

How much do you weigh today?

How much did you weigh yesterday?

What about tomorrow?

How many points is that chicken burrito you’re eating?

OK, the last line is a joke. But you get the point.

Jose Luis Castillo and Diego Corrales are gearing up to do it again, with June 3 being the designated date for their much anticipated third installment of beautiful brutality.

The first one took place on May 7, 2005 and was an instant classic, a back-and-forth gorefest that gave the sport a three-month infusion of credibility based on the amount of action and size of stones exhibited in Las Vegas. Corrales emerged the victor (TKO10) but no one really lost, as all the attributes that make the savage science a noble art and compelling theater were on display.

The second scrap tool place five months later and controversy over Castillo’s inability to make the 135-pound limit overshadowed the action of the bout. The Mexicali-born hitter weighed 138½ pounds for the sequel, as a rib injury sustained 10 days before the bout disabled him from fending off an upward creep of the scale. Castillo, now 32, kayoed Corrales in the fourth round, but the poundage screwup is what average fans recall about that fight.

So, it’s no surprise that Castillo is continually peppered with queries about his weight, and is visited by the Poundage Police every week as he gets ready for his final foray in the 135-pound class. A conference call with Castillo and promoter Bob Arum on Tuesday to hype the thrillogy was dominated by questions about weight, to the extent that Castillo must know what it’s like to be Oprah. Well, Star magazine doesn’t get paparazzo shots of Castillo on the beach and point out his cellulite…But you get my drift.

“Both fights were full of controversy,” Castillo said through an interpreter. “But normally those things don’t happen in my fights. The third fight I will make the weight. There will be no controversy.”

Arum and Castillo both acknowledged that this will be Castillo’s last go at 135; after this, a match with Miguel Cotto, should he get past Paulie Malignaggi on June 10, is a distinct possibility.

To insure that he pleases the scale, the Nevada Commission and the suits at Showtime, Castillo said he’s been wary in sparring not to get dinged up. “This time I’m perfect,” he said. Weekly weigh-ins have been distracting, he said, but “I’ll be ready to fight,” he promised.

Promoter Arum alluded to “extreme penalties” put in place by Nevada and Showtime that will make a Castillo (or Corrales) overage very unlikely. Arum said a memo detailing the punishment for overeating would be released shortly.

One ethically centered writer broached the subject of Corrales’ fitness to fight, to his credit, and Arum took on the touchy matter.

“I have to rely on trainer Joe Goossen,” the promoter said. “I know how he acted with the Ruelas brothers when it was time for them to hang up the gloves. I believe Joe wouldn’t allow it or want to be part of it (if Corrales were in severe danger if he continues fighting).”

The prospect of a Castillo-Hatton pairing was also broached. Arum tossed a vat of acid in HBO’s face. “I can’t talk for Hatton, but I think Hatton has been exposed,” he said, “as an ordinary fighter. I don’t think he’ll be ready to fight anybody real soon as long as he can grab HBO’s money to fight second-rate fighters. Jose Luis versus Cotto if he gets past Malignaggi is more likely.”

God, I hate it when I have to hear this boring-ass spin from these power players! For once Bob, will you say what you mean and mean what you say?!!!??

Castillo, for his part, said: “I think Hatton’s style would make for an explosive fight if it can be made.”

Castillo predicted that June 3rd will be another great fight and believes that he will KO Corrales, probably around the sixth round. He certainly won’t be making the same mistake he made before the first bout, he said: “I was confident I would knock him out with one punch early. I didn’t have enough to fight that length.”

Castillo also uttered a line that most capably sums up the difference between him and 99.9% of the world population. When a writer asked if he was getting stale fighting Corrales for the third time, the Mexican boxer said: “I enjoy fighting him.”

He enjoys it.

Like I enjoy my cup of morning Maxwell House as I kick up my feet and read the Post with my wife on one side and Lily the Plott Hound on my left.

Different animals….

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