LAS VEGAS (May 7, 2005) – Diego “Chico’’ Corrales’ incredible, dramatic 10th-round TKO over Jose Luis Castillo Saturday on SHOWTIME may end up as the 2005 Fight of the Year. The 10th could very well be the 2005 Round of the Year. The manner in which Corrales rallied after going down twice earlier in the 11th to finish off Castillo may earn him the 2005 Fighter of the Year award. Or, quite possibly, a non-stop, memorable, action-packed world lightweight title unification slugfest that not only lived up to but exceeded its lofty expectations will finish with all 2005’s top honors.
Corrales (40-2, 33 KOs), of Las Vegas by way of Sacramento, Calif., who entered the ring as the World Boxing Organization (WBO) 135-pound champion, came from the absolute brink of defeat to take Castillo’s World Boxing Council (WBC) crown. The referee stopped a sensational, brutal battle in which the two most talented 135-pound boxers on the planet gave as much as they took at 2:06. Corrales was leading on two of three scorecards entering the 10th (87-84 and 86-85), but he went down from a left hook 25 seconds in the round. Less than a minute later, Corrales hit the deck again from a left hook. Like after the first knockdown, he lost his mouthpiece. This time, however, the referee took away a point. But the extra time Corrales got may have made the difference in a controversial finish.
Castillo (52-7, 46 KOs), of Sonora, Mexico, was ahead on one of the scorecards (87-84) going into the 10th. With knockdowns and the penalty point, he had the round won, by at least a 10-6 score. But ever the warrior, Castillo continued to press the action and got caught and hurt by a right hook. Backed against the ropes, Castillo continued to take punches without answering back, and the referee, Tony Weeks, stepped in and stopped it.
In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, International Boxing Federation/World Boxing Association (IBF/WBA) Featherweight Champion Juan Manuel Marquez retained his titles with a lopsided 12-round decision over Victor Polo. The world championship doubleheader aired at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on West Coast) and was co-promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, Top Rank, Inc., and Banner Promotions.
Marquez (44-2-1, 33 KOs), of Mexico City, Mexico, dropped Polo with a right hand in the seventh round en route to winning by the scores of 120-107, 119-108 and 118-109. In a masterful performance, the accurate-punching Marquez was effective with both hands as he improved to 15-0-1 in his last 16 starts. It was the defending champion’s first fight since Sept. 18, 2004, when he recorded a 12-round decision over Orlando Salido. The only time Marquez has not exited a ring triumphant since Sept. 11, 1999, came when he rallied from three first-round knockdowns and a broken nose to earn a disputed draw against Manny Pacquiao on May 8, 2004.
Polo (34-5-3, 24 KOs), of Bolivar, Colombia, had some success from long range, but the lanky southpaw could not land more than one punch at a time. A perennial contender who has fought at or around 126 pounds throughout his lengthy career, Polo falls to 0-4-1 in world title fights.
The next SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast is Saturday, June 4. at 9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast. In a match-up that has the makings of a classic, Kostya “The Thunder Down Under Tszyu (31-1, 25 KOs, 1 ND), who is universally recognized as boxing’s premier 140-pounder, will defend his IBF crown against the undefeated, enormously popular hometown favorite, Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton (38-0, 28 KOs) in Manchester, England.
For information on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and “ShoBox: The New Generation” telecasts, including complete fighter bios and records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.