NEW YORK (December 2, 2005) – Jose Luis Castillo and Diego “Chico” Corrales are going to do it again on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006, courtesy Showtime Championship Boxing. Two of the most talented and courageous lightweights on the planet will collide in an eagerly awaited rubber match to decide once and for all who is the dominant 135-pound fighter fighting today.
The 12-round bout, co-promoted by Top Rank, Inc., and Gary Shaw Productions, LLC will air LIVE on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast). The site for “The War to Settle the Score on Feb. 4!” will be announced in the near future.
Corrales-Castillo III gives America’s No. 1 Boxing Network its strongest opening lineup in history. Showtime, which celebrates its 20th year of televising world class fights in 2006, will open with a world cruiserweight title unification bout on Saturday, Jan. 7 (Jean-Marc Mormeck vs. O’Neil Bell). A month after Corrales-Castillo III, Showtime will offer the long-awaited world super middleweight title unification showdown between undefeated champions Jeff Lacy (International Boxing Federation and International Boxing Organization) and Joe Calzaghe (World Boxing Organization) on March 4.
Showtime Sports & Event Programming General Manager Ken Hershman said, “We are thrilled to be able to bring Corrales-Castillo III – the most highly anticipated rubber match of recent memory – to our subscribers live on Showtime on Feb. 4. This epic trilogy, combined with Mormeck vs. Bell on Jan. 7 and Lacy vs. Calzaghe on March 4, is definitive proof that Showtime will continue its reign in 2006 as ‘America's Number One Boxing Network.’”
Corrales (40-3, 33 KOs) won the historic first bout against Castillo – and the 2005 Fight of the Year — when he dramatically rallied from the brink of near-certain defeat to score two knockdowns and register a memorable 10th-round TKO to unify the title and capture the WBC lightweight belt on May 7, 2005.
Castillo (53-7, 47 KOs) won the brief but brutal sequel five months later with an impressive and sudden fourth-round knockout. Despite losing the Oct. 8 rematch, Corrales came away with both his world title belts when Castillo failed to make the 135-pound limit.
“When he didn't make weight (Castillo tipped the scales at 138½ pounds), I had two options,” Corrales said. “The first was to call off the fight entirely. The second was to allow Castillo to weigh in at 147 pounds on the day of the fight and proceed with the match.
“I chose the second option because people deserve to see a fighter do his job. If this fight did not happen, it would have been bad for boxing. I respect the game, and they knew I would not let it be battered or bruised by a big card being canceled. I could have said, ‘I am not going to fight,’ but I had an obligation to the fans.
“But the past is past. I opened up and Castillo caught me with a great shot. I have no excuses. I do not want to take credit away from his win.
“Now, we have each won once. I cannot wait until February 4.’’
Castillo started that “I said after the last fight that if they wanted to make this like the ‘Rocky’ movie series, I did not care. I will fight Corrales five or six times.
“(After the knockdown) I knew Corrales was not getting up. I told everyone I would knock him out before the seventh round. His style is perfect for me. He likes to fight inside, and that is what I do best.
“I was very happy to win, but also sad because I could not make weight. I let the people down, but I got my vindication by knocking out Corrales.”
Corrales, of Sacramento, Calif., captured the WBO 135-pound crown with a 10th-round TKO over defending champion Acelino Freitas Aug. 7, 2004. A two-time world champion at 130 pounds, Corrales won the vacant WBO belt with a 12-round split decision over Joel Casamayor March 6, 2004, on Showtime. Corrales won his first world title with a seventh-round TKO over defending IBF Robert Garcia Oct. 23, 1999.
Castillo, of Sonora, Mexico, won the WBC 135-pound belt the first time with a 12-round majority decision over Steve Johnston on June 17, 2000. Following three successful defenses, he lost the title and a subsequent rematch to unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. in April and December of 2002. Castillo regained the WBC belt with a 12-round unanimous decision over Juan Lazcano on June 5, 2004.
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