NEW YORK (February 24, 2006) – It’s official! Diego “Chico” Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo are signed, sealed and ready to deliver the third and final bout of their trilogy on Saturday, June 3, 2006 (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). The rubber match will be broadcast by SHOWTIME.
The two lightweights will fight for Corrales’ World Boxing Council (WBC) title at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 12-round world title bout will be co-promoted by Top Rank, Inc., and Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, in association with Caesars Palace and Wynn Las Vegas.
Although the fight looks to be happening, there are questions that have yet to be answered. Can Castillo make 135 pounds? Can Corrales bounce back after getting knocked out in their last meeting? Did Castillo have an unfair advantage in the rematch? Is Corrales completely healed from a rib injury that caused their Feb. 4 fight to be postponed? Can Castillo perform with more intensity than he did in his most recent outing? How much does Corrales have left? Can the third chapter end with a clear winner and without controversy?
And, most importantly, who is the most talented lightweight boxer in the world?
“I fully expect this fight to be a rerun of the original in both action and result,” said Corrales’ promoter Gary Shaw. “This will not just be Chico's coronation, but Castillo's retirement. Corrales-Castillo 3 will successfully defend its title as fight of the year!”
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum added: “This is a real fight, an exciting world title fight between two great champions who have explosive knockout power. Fight fans throughout the world will be anxious to see this showdown of big punchers.”
Corrales (40-3, 33 KOs) won the historic first bout against Castillo – and the near-unanimous 2005 Fight of the Year – when he dramatically rallied from the brink of defeat to register a memorable 10th-round TKO to unify the title and capture the WBC lightweight belt on May 7, 2005.
Castillo (54-7-1, 47 KOs) won the brief, but brutal sequel on Oct. 8, also at Thomas & Mack, with an impressive and sudden fourth-round knockout. Despite losing the rematch, Corrales came away with both his world title belts because Castillo failed to make the 135-pound limit and one of his camp members was caught trying to tamper with the scale at the weigh-in.
“I feel fine. My rib is fine,” Corrales said. “I would be lying if I said I was not thinking about Castillo and whether he can make 135 pounds, but I have to prepare as if he will make the weight easily and be at full strength.
“What has happened in the past is history. We have each won once. Now, it comes down to who wins on June 3. I respect Castillo and I think he respects me, but it is time to get down to business one more time. This is what boxing is all about. I cannot wait for June 3.”
Castillo said, “I said after our 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. I am not worried about the weight, or making the weight. It won’t be easy, but I will do it.
“Corrales comes forward and wants to fight. I love his style. On June 3, we will give the fans another great fight.”
Corrales, of Sacramento, Calif., captured the World Boxing Organization (WBO) 135-pound crown with a 10th-round TKO over defending champion Acelino Freitas Aug. 7, 2004, on SHOWTIME. 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 champion Robert Garcia Oct. 23, 1999, on SHOWTIME.
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 in April and December of 2002. Castillo regained the WBC belt with a 12-round unanimous decision over Juan Lazcano on June 5, 2004. Castillo is coming off an easy 12-round unanimous decision over Rolando Reyes, who replaced Corrales, on Feb 4.
Tickets are $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50 and will soon be available at the Thomas and Mack Box Office, on-line www.unlvtickets.com, or by calling 702-739-FANS.
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