In a highly anticipated match-up, the two best 135-pound boxers in the world will square off when two-time WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo takes on WBO champion Diego “Chico” Corrales in a world title unification bout Saturday, May 7, 2005, on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
In the excellent Showtime Championship Boxing co-feature, IBF/WBA featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez will defend his titles against WBA No. 5 contender, Victor Polo. The world championship doubleheader at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas will be co-promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, Top Rank, Inc. and Banner Promotions.
Corrales: The time for talking is almost done. I have trained hard. I am ready to fight. I am ready for war and come hell or high water, I am leaving with the WBC and the WBO belts.
Castillo: I just came down from the mountain. I will stay in Mexicali the rest of this week before I go to Las Vegas. I had a real good training camp and am looking forward to what I consider to be a great fight. But there is no doubt in my mind that I am coming out the winner.
Begin Press Questions.
Question: Jose, are you glad that finally this fight with Corrales is happening?
Corrales: Yes, after a couple of postponements, we did not know if we were ever going to fight. But I am looking forward to fighting him. Now we have a date, we know where we are going to be at on May 7 and I am looking forward to the fight.
Question: Diego, you have made strong references on using your power punches to make a statement. If you do not break Castillo’s concentration that way, what other style will you use?
Corrales: I will use a barrage of punches. The power punches are with both hands. I can actually punch sharply with both. In order for this fight to go the way I want it to go, I have to make sure he feels my presence early and fast.
Question: Jose Luis is a strong puncher with all of those knockouts. How do you plan to deal with him if he matches you in speed, cuts the ring off and forces you to adapt to another tactic?
Corrales: I expect him to bring it forward and try to cut off the ring and to use his power and his physical strength. The thing about it is, I will be a strong guy as well. So we can kind of offset each other’s strengths and power. If my original plan to attack does not work, well, when all else fails, fight.
Question: Jose Luis, Corrales says he is driven to drive you to dangerous waters with his punch. Do you think he is going to switch gears with you by using his left hooks and then box you?
Castillo: His strategy could be to come at me or to box, me if that is what he wants to do. All I know is that whatever his strategy is, it will not work against me. I have proven that I can fight the punchers and I can box with the boxers.
Question: Diego, a lot of people are picking Castillo because they feel he has a much better chin and they feel that your chin might be a liability. How do you answer that?
Corrales: I do not answer it. I just let them think that and, hey, whatever they feel . . . if they believe that, then that is OK. My chin has stood up against some of the best and it does not bother me at all.
Question: Some are making a comparison, saying they feel Castillo did a better job in his fights against Mayweather and Casamayor than you did. Does that enter into your thinking?
Corrales: Not at all because I am Diego Corrales and he is Jose Luis Castillo. The two styles have to match up with each other and we will see exactly what happens in a couple of weeks.
Question: Jose Luis, you have not been given the recognition like the other great Mexican boxers, Barrera and Morales, have received. Do you feel a victory over Corrales will finally get you that recognition?
Castillo: I think once I defeat Diego, everyone will look at me as the real champion, a durable champion, for what I have done. I think this is a big fight.
Question: Jose Luis, you have been in two excellent fights and proved you are a champion in both. But they were two hard-fought fights and Joe Goossen (Corrales’ trainer) made the statement that he believes they may have taken a little bit out of you and that it may work to your disadvantage. How do you answer that?
Castillo: I know there have been tough opponents that I faced, but fortunately, I have not really been hit that much. I have not really gone through a real tough time in those fights. I did well in those fights and I think I will have more than what I need for this fight come May 7.
Question: Diego, was there ever a time that you thought that this fight was not going to happen? Or was this a fight that you felt you had to have to make your career valid?
Corrales: From the point that it was brought up to me, it was a fight I was gung-ho for. I had to have it and so I always kept my faith that something would work itself out and it did.
Question: So you never felt that you were going to have to move on and look at another superfight?
Corrales: Not at all. At one point, I was actually down here in training camp to get ready for this fight. There was never a doubt in my mind that this fight was going to happen.
Question: Chico, it has been a long time since you faced someone who is actually going to come toward you. Even though Castillo is as tough as they come, do you see this as kind of a luxury that you are actually going to have someone who is going to come toward you instead of having to chase someone around the ring?
Corrales: Yes, it is much nicer to have someone actually coming to me for a change and it will be a little bit of an adjustment early on, but it will be very nice.
Question: Would you be surprised if Castillo took the role of a counterpuncher and made you come forward?
Corrales: Yeah, I would be surprised.
Question: Chico, are you approaching this fight any differently than you did Freitas or Casamayor?
Corrales: Just in the sense that I have been in camp a little bit longer. I have spent a little extra time in training camp, putting a lot more focus on different things. I worked harder because I know he is a late round pressure guy and, even though we both are strong in the late rounds, I wanted to have a little extra in there. So we worked a little harder on that.
Question: Jose Luis, you said that Julio Diaz had rocked you at one point in your fight and hurt you. If that is true, how are you going to handle Corrales’ power?
Castillo: I think a good solid punch can knock anyone out. Even an elephant can go down with a good, solid punch. I am looking to see if he really does have the power to knock me down, to knock me out. We have to go up in the ring and find out. I think I am strong enough to take his punch and we will find out who really is the strongest guy up there.
Question: Jose Luis, all your fights are high-profile and you do not have any easy opponents. Is that the way you like it?
Castillo: As a boxer, you know those are the ones that will give you the respect of the people. The people are going to respect you as a boxer, and those are the ones that you will make more money with. So, obviously, yes, I like to have those big profile fights.
Question: Jose Luis, you have been saying for a while that making 135 is tough and you are looking forward to moving up to 140. Do you think this will be your last fight at 135?
Castillo: It looks right now like I may have to do one more fight at 135. On Sept. 10, I could have a fight at 135. So I might stay for one more fight before thinking of moving up to 140.
Question: Diego, it seems like all your fights are also high-profile type match-ups. You do not have any easy fights. Is that the way you prefer it and, if so, why?
Corrales: Yeah, because at this point I have achieved my goals as far as becoming world champion. I have repeated it on a couple of occasions now. Now, it is just to see where I can place myself in history. Now, I am working for when they bring up the (junior) lightweights of the world and the junior welterweights, or wherever I wind up at, and hearing my name being brought up in comparison to the young guys who will be up and coming in 10, 20 and 30 years down the line. I am now working for the history of the sport, and it is something that drives me.
Question: Diego, are these the kind of match-ups that are fun for you?
Corrales: They are, absolutely. It is a great chance for blood and guts with people like Castillo and Freitas and Casamayor. These are some good, solid fights. You have got to rise to the occasion for these kinds of fights. I love them.
Question: Chico, where do you rank Castillo in terms of opponents that you have faced so far?Secondly, what would a win over him mean to you compared to all of your other wins?
Corrales: I rank Castillo right at the top of the list. He has proven himself over and over again that he belongs. He keeps wining the world titles. He defends the title very well. And the guy is an awesome world champion, so he ranks extremely high on my list of people that I have ever fought and he has all my respect. All of it. With that being said, a win over him would be awesome. It would be huge to me. I have been working very hard for this thing and I am determined to win it because he is such a great fighter and such a great, great champion.
Question: Jose Luis, your fight with Chico is going to be your fourth tough fight in a year. You have wanted this fight since December, but it kept getting pushed back. Was there any thought of possibly just taking a break before taking this fight or did you not mind this busy pace?
Castillo: No, I am fine with it. The opportunity has come along and I knew this fight was going to be made eventually. It has been talked about so much.So I am ready for it and I am glad it is coming and I am glad I am active and I am glad that I am ready to fight. Hopefully, everything goes well because I am looking forward to fighting again in September.
Question: Diego, when you lost to Floyd Mayweather, it was attributed to you having difficulty making the 130-pound weight limit. Yet after that fight you stayed in that division for awhile. So did having to make weight have anything to do with that loss?
Corrales: Yes, the weight actually had something to do with the loss, but all in all, I cannot take anything away from the kid. The kid fought an awesome fight.
Question: Mayweather is a junior welter right now. If you win this fight, does he head your list of potential opponents who you would like to fight next?
Corrales: Right now, I have not thought of anything but Castillo and I will not even entertain the idea of anyone else but Castillo. Until May, Castillo is the only thing I will think of. I have not given anybody else any thought.
Question: Jose Luis, if you move up to 140 after this fight, does Mayweather top your list of opponents you would like to box?
Corrales: Not necessarily. I think I will fight the first guy that gives me the opportunity to fight. If it is Mayweather, it will be Mayweather.
Question: Chico, everyone knows that Castillo is a rough fighter. Some people say he fights dirty. What are your thoughts about that and do you anticipate this possibly being the roughest fight and how will you deal with his tactics?
Corrales: He will be rough. There is no way around that. That is his style and that is what he does, but I have enough firepower to keep him honest or at least semi-honest and we will let the referee do his job and I will do mine. I am not worried about his rough tactics and what can happen in the ring, or cuts or bruises or any of those things. They do not worry me. I will just do my job and let the referee do his.
Question: Chico, how much of your preparation for Jose Luis is based on Joe Goossen’s experiences in the past versus watching tapes of common opponents such as Mayweather or Casamayor, etc.?
Corrales: We based it off of everything – all of his good performances, all of his bad performances, all of his recent fights and a little bit of Joe’s recollection and a little bit of mine. That is what we always do. So it is a lot of homework put in by both of us and game plans are long and drawn out. Joe is like a mad scientist. He pulls things apart.
Question: Chico, was there a difference in the way you felt on the stool in between rounds in the second Casamayor fight having Joe there and knowing he knew Casamayor so well? And again, against Freitas, it seemed like he had a real calming influence on you. Is that a difference between having Joe in your corner?
Corrales: Joe is very calm. It is a little bit of both. You still have to go out there and take punches, but Joe is a very calming person in the corner. He is relaxed and almost kind of chipper in there, which is kind of hard to be when you are in the corner, especially in the heat of battle. But he kind of finds a way to do it.
End Press Questions. Begin Closing Comments.
Corrales: Like I said earlier, the time for talk is pretty much over. Time for speculation and questions is almost over. Everybody knows what I am there to do and everybody knows I am prepared. I never show up unprepared. Come hell or high water, I am leaving with both those belts.
Castillo: I expect a tough fight, but I also expect to win the fight. I expect that once the bell ends, once the fight is over, to have my hand raised. That is all I am thinking about.