I looked up and there was Hollywood Joe Goossen in his familiar pose last Saturday night in Atlantic City. He was in the corner of Philadelphian heavyweight Malik Scott, who fought on the undercard of Gatti-Baldomir. Called in three weeks ago to mold Scott into a legitimate contender, Goossen got his first ringside look at his new protégé. He couldn’t have been overly enthused considering that Scott looked out-of-shape and unimpressive in his win over journeyman Marcus McGee, but Goossen is confident that the undefeated heavyweight is a promising prospect. After Dominick Guinn's last loss and now diminished contender status, Goossen is hoping to make Scott a legitimate player who can bring in the dough because we all know that the big money is still in the heavyweight division, regardless of the lack of talent level.
A Corrales Trilogy?
Diego Corrales may fight his trilogy after all, but not against Jose Luis Castillo. Goossen told me that it looks like Corrales will fight Joel Casamayor for the third time in October. Based on Casamayor's latest uninspiring performance, Goossen believes he is the perfect opponent for Corrales' first fight back since enduring the Castillo debacle. If all goes well against Casamayor, the plan is to then take on Rickey Hatton in early '07. Goossen thinks Hatton's style is made for Corrales. "He's short, comes straight forward, and throws wide punches. That would be a great matchup for Diego."
A Star is Born in the Desert
Corrales is fresh off completing his first acting job out in the blazing California desert. The film stars Rob Schneider and should be out sometime next year. Goossen is a pal of Schneider’s and played the role of agent/trainer when he brought Corrales into the mix to play the leader of a prison gang. By the way, Goossen also has a role in the film, playing a gay biker.
"They made my tattoos look so real that when I came home nobody could believe it," said Goossen in reference to his character’s decoration. Corrales, according to Goossen, didn't have it easy out there in the desert. "He called me and said this was the most painful experience of his life because of the heat and the long days shooting."
Search and Seizure and other Sad Tales
In other news, the California State Boxing Commission recently made a major change to the rulebook, outraging Joe Goossen who’s based in the state. He referred to it as "search and seizure" and it entails patting down the cornermen to prevent anything illegal from getting through the door. The first time they tried it on Goossen he supposedly refused to patted down and just walked away, saying "How would you like if I search you?"
He continued his criticism by explaining the problem of boxing commissions. "These people on the commission don't know what they're doing," said Goossen. "They are civil servants and don't know anything about boxing."
In other commission news, New Jersey sure likes to keep an eye on fighters' corners. Goossen compared it to a baseball umpire hovering over a manager as he talks to his pitcher on the mound. "He was right on top of me," Goossen said in reference to an official climbing into the ring and listening in on Malik Scott's corner between rounds last Saturday night. Not to mention another official sitting in the corner throughout the entire fight to make sure no cheating was going on down in the trenches. Goossen is wary of this overregulation and believes that boxing people should be in charge of the rules, not civil servants who aren't immersed in the sport. Maybe these commissions should send in officials to promoters' business discussions to spy on any cheaters. If the California and New Jersey commissions, and the rest of the country for that matter, want to regulate boxing, then do it right and stop oppressing the poor trainers.
Did Jose Luis Castillo ever make the 135-pound lightweight limit in his first fight with Diego Corrales? Joe Goossen doesn't think so considering what happened on the scale the second and third time around. Officially, he made weight, but Goossen contends that it was possible that Castillo's camp tipped the scale since they tried it unsuccessfully during the weigh-in for the second fight. We'll never know what the truth is but it's clear that Bob Arum pressured Castillo into staying at lightweight in order to win the belt. "Bob was obsessed with getting that belt," Goossen said. "He never thought Castillo would lose to Corrales and so when he lost, an immediate rematch was called even though Castillo was really a true welterweight." Arum's plan was to have Castillo win the title and then fight another one of his stars, Erik Morales, in a Mexican showdown. Refusing to let Castillo move up in weight cost both Arum and his fighter dearly, and together, they will always be remembered for two consecutive scale controversies that made a mockery of our sport. According to Goossen, this all could've been avoided if Arum wasn't so persistent with his great plan.
Goossen actually told Corrales midway through training camp for the first fight that he didn't think Castillo was going to make weight. "Diego, I don't know how to put this to you and I don't want to take anything away from your hard work, but I have a feeling Castillo won't make weight," he told his fighter. Goossen based his prediction on the fact that Mexican officials were supposedly checking on Castillo's weight during his camp and reporting back to Arum. "If Arum was serious about the whole thing he would've had Castillo training in the United States where he could've been monitored by Arum's own people," Goossen explained.
Who's the best Mexican boxer today?