This is not the way guys like Jose Luis Castillo want to be remembered, not with an asterisk next to their name and a footnote attached to their legacy.
Guys like Castillo should be remembered for the great things they did in the ring, not for their shenanigans outside it. But it won’t be that way for awhile, not for Castillo, at least not when someone mentions Diego Corrales and the fight that almost wasn’t.
Castillo came in a little heavy Friday for their lightweight championship fight Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Corrales, on the other hand, came in right on the nose. And that might have made all the difference in a fight won by Castillo, who suddenly looked like Bluto throwing punches at Corrales’ Popeye before he eats his spinach.
Corrales’ promoter, Gary Shaw, said he thought about calling the fight off when Castillo didn’t make weight, but, well, there was a lot of money riding on this fight and, you know …
Besides, Corrales won their first fight in May, so maybe it would be all right.
But it wasn’t.
All of which leaves us with a few pertinent questions to ask on the pre-fight preparations of Castillo. The first question might be: How did he know he’d get away with it? I mean, how can a seasoned pro like Castillo, with over 60 fights, come in several pounds over weight for one of the biggest fights of his life? He couldn‘t find a bathroom scale the week before the fight? He didn’t check his weight a day or two before the official weigh-in to make sure he was close?
We used to do that as amateurs at big tournaments. They made the scale available the night before weigh-ins so we all knew how much we had to lose to make weight. The guys who needed to make some size adjustments would dress in sweats and disappear down the street in the darkness, trying to sweat off a few pounds before the next day‘s weigh-in.
Almost without fail, everyone made weight.
Of course, we now know that Castillo never planned on getting down to 135.
In fact, he may never see the lightweight division again, even if there is talk of a third fight between the two. Castillo knew going into the fight he was going to stand on the scales closer to a welterweight. Let Corrales get weak getting down to 135.
If Castillo would have told everyone he couldn’t make 135, maybe Corrales could have packed on a few last-minute pounds instead of struggling to make weight the day before the fight.
But Castillo didn’t say anything. Instead, he made everyone else sweat, especially Corrales.
Would you have said anything?
Maybe he’s still ticked off over the mouthpiece thing in their first fight.
One of the excuses they made for Castillo’s weight problem was that he had sore ribs so he couldn’t spar for a few days before the fight. So what? You can’t lose weight spitting and running in a rubber suit? You can’t skip rope and knock a few pounds off? Skip dessert for a few days? You can’t dry out the day before and drop three pounds?
They say Castillo tried to make weight three times on Friday, originally coming in at 137. Before the day was over, he came in at 138.5 pounds, even while his physician tried to cheat by using his foot to manipulate the scale. What did Castillo do while he was trying to lose weight, get bored and order a Big Mac, fries and a chocolate shake? Two pounds? Give me an hour and I’ll work two pounds off a skeleton.
I remember a talented but slightly dimwitted light-heavyweight who won his first two fights at the national Golden Gloves Championship several years ago. After his two wins, he had a day off, so he decided to go out and celebrate.
He put on 12 ugly pounds.
He had to weigh-in again the next day, so my boxing coach, a guy named Jim Morgan, made our hotel bathroom into a sauna and worked the kid through most of the night. He made weight the next day and fought and lost a tough fight that night.
And that was in the Golden Gloves.
If there was anything good coming out of this thing, it was the behavior of Corrales, who showed a lot of class in not accusing Castillo of taking advantage of him.
But he did and he knows it.
Maybe Castillo thought it was the only way he could win.
Maybe it was.