After last week’s shenanigans, it looks like we’ve got the real deal coming our way this Saturday. From Las Vegas, broadcast via Showtime pay-per-view, Diego “Chico” Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo fight a rematch of their May lightweight classic. Expectations are high for this bout, perhaps higher than should be expected, but for good reason: These guys, quite simply, come to fight. This is how The Sweet Science writers see the Corrales-Castillo rematch.
All I can say is that this fight won't be boring. Usually, when a fighter has been knocked out in the first fight, they are somewhat damaged the second time, but with Corrales tasting the canvas twice in that incredible tenth round, who can say that Corrales isn't a broken fighter entering the rematch? I know Corrales won that fight, but consider all the wars Corrales has been through. I guess the same can be said of Castillo, which is why I think something strange will happen Saturday, with one of the fighters getting stopped early. Despite my feeling that Corrales should be reticent because of all the punishment he has taken, I have a sneaking suspicion that Corrales is not human, so I'm leaning toward Corrales dispatching Castillo before the sixth round.
While Corrales may have won the first classic, the battle may have exacted more of a toll on “Chico's” long, lean body. Months after the fight, Corrales was still bruised and battered around the eyes, while Castillo seemed relatively well-recovered. This may mean something, it may not. But the hunch is that Castillo is the fresher fighter. Also, he is a smart fighter – smarter than most give him credit for. And while his game plan of moving forward, punishing the body and out-willing Corrales won't change, his defense will have improved. He won't get hit with the sort of solid punches that staggered him the first time, like the sweeping left hook that caught him in the eighth round of their first fight. Finally, when he gets Corrales hurt, he won't be careless. He'll take his time and pick his shots. As a result, he'll take a split decision in a fight that is only slightly less exciting than the first.
Castillo will win by knockout in the 10th round. He's the best inside fighter in boxing and I think he'll wear Corrales down. Corrales may try to outbox him this time, but I think he'll be sucked into another brawl. And this time, whoever the referee is, will not allow him to spit out his mouthpiece.
“Irish” Bobby Cassidy
I think Castillo wins by decision. I think he'll continue to put the pressure on and I think he's more motivated to win this fight because he feels like he was slighted in the last fight.
Robert Cassidy Jr.
Corrales won't need to repeat his mouthpiece caper. He has to have the edge just because he won their first fight in such spectacular fashion. “I hurt him once, I can hurt him again,” is how he remembers that fight. Castillo, meanwhile, still thinks the title is rightfully his. Look for another drama-filled fight, with Corrales – maybe sporting a new mouthpiece – winning again by knockout late in the fight.
Corrales, TKO 10. Corrales can make this fight as easy as he wants. He proved as much in the too few moments he kept his distance and thoroughly outboxed Castillo. Of course, Corrales will even the odds if he can't help himself from slugging it out at close quarters. If Joe Goossen has ingrained into Corrales the concept of how dangerous a toe-to-toe brawl would be (or if simple human nature prevents Corrales from walking through that hell again), then Corrales will cruise.
When the two met in May, Diego “Chico” Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo were both seen as wily veterans capable of producing fireworks and a good dose of toughness. When they meet this time it will be as legendary rivals attempting to top what was one of the most exciting fights in decades. Chico, despite winning with a spectacular comeback stoppage, took a severe beating and hit the deck hard twice before gutting it out for the win. Likewise, Castillo took his share and was stopped while on his feet. The fighter who has most left in the tank will likely be the winner Saturday. They both say they expect a war again, but I don't. Both will have vivid memories of the pain from the first fight and we should expect more jabs than bombs. Corrales actually has skills that he can exploit to a clear advantage. He claims that he can only fight one way – all out – but look for him to impose a broader range of talent to gain a substantial advantage over the rugged and willing ex-champ. If the fight is even half as good as the first it is still worth the price of admission – and then some. Corrales by decision.
We can only guess, but I would tend to believe that it will be Corrales showing signs of attrition as the rematch unfolds, given he suffered more punishment in the first fight. And though bravery defined Corrales until he was able to reverse what appeared to be a knockout loss, to score a stoppage win himself, this time I look for Castillo to break Corrales down to the body in a more concerted manner. I still see Castillo as the better “catcher” and this time, I'd wager, he'll stop Corrales. Castillo KO9 Corrales.
I think how this fight goes, in terms of the style of fight it is, depends entirely on Diego Corrales. Chico is much more capable of playing the role of “boxer” who typically beats the “puncher.” In the first fight Corrales had it in his head that he was going to “hook with the hooker” and “punch with the puncher” that Castillo is. That doesn't always work out but it did the first time when these two met as Chico earned a legitimate stoppage victory with a pretty nasty hook of his own. This time around I think trainer Goossen will be all over Corrales to make sure he doesn't fight the same fight and that he boxes more from a distance working behind his jab. If he does it will be a less exciting fight but an easier victory for Diego, if he decides to brawl again, it's anyone's fight. I think Corrales proved what he wanted to in the first bout – showing everyone how tough he really is – and will win the intelligent way the second time around to prove what a complete fighter he really is.
I'm going with Corrales for a few reasons reasons: He's got that eraser, and he has the option to box from the outside if he so chooses; I have a sneaking suspicion he may do a little bit more of that this time. I also believe that it's not just lip service when he and Joe Goossen say he's sharper in this camp. I think that will translate to a tighter defense.
Corrales stops Castillo in the mid to late rounds.
The entire boxing world is hoping for a replay of their first fight. I think both fighters will try to oblige from the opening bell. While Chico has a heart as big as anyone who has ever stepped in the ring, his chin can't match it. Look for Castillo to catch Chico early with some big bombs early, shocking Corrales and the boxing world en route to a 4th round KO. It will be great while it lasts, but it won't last long this time.
Instead of decreasing Corrales' shelf life, I think the first fight only invigorated him more. He still has the enthusiasm of an upstart. This will be a good fight, but probably not nearly as competitive. Corrales KO 8.
You can throw away the book on this one. The loser will be the last guy to get hit on the chin; now all you have to figure out which one that will be: Diego Corrales, who won last time with an 11th hour, 10th round knockout after first taking a savage beating; or Jose Luis Castillo, who reached for all those lightweight belts a few moments too soon and wound up in the protective arms of referee Tony Weeks, sadder surely, wiser perhaps. Corrales’ key to victory was his mouthpiece, which he spit out twice, gaining him a one-point slap on the wrist and a basketful of extra time—some say more than a minute—to fully recover from Castillo’s heavy-handed assault on his chin. If Castillo can keep his head in the fight and not on the end of a Corrales right hand-hook combination while he rehearses his victory speech, he should turn around last May’s ending. Now, wasn't that easy?
There’s not been a moment since the announcement of Corrales and Castillo going-at-it again that I haven’t tried to speed-up the clock. Christmas is two months early – what a present! It’s inconceivable that they could do what they did before. Tanks weren’t meant to take that punishment, let alone humans. Castillo will up his work-rate from attack to warp speed. He’s a seek-and-destroy guy. All he can do is amp-up the pressure. Corrales is more versatile and will try to be more disciplined, stabbing from the outside, picking his shots. But with his pride and Castillo’s pressure, they should be nose-to-nose by round three, and everybody in the arena and at home holding their breath. The cringe factor may be pivotal here. There last go was so brutal – and the Chavez-Johnson fight fresh in everyone’s mind – it may be impressed upon the ref how alert he has to be at the first sign of danger. So, this time, it may be stopped sooner than later. Diego may not get the chance to do the impossible. If he’s dropped a few times – entirely likely – and wobbling – the ref may step in, protesting or not. I think it will go down that way, and exciting enough for a third time on PPV.
I cannot see how either man will not be affected by the beating they took in the first fight and become more cautious. If this is the case, Corrales should be able to use his height to advantage and win a decision.
Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo’s rematch will have plenty of exciting moments, but it will lack anything resembling the already legendary 10th round. This time, Corrales will put together a smarter, more disciplined attack. The results will be a healthier “Chico” and a less memorable fight than its predecessor. Corrales by KO