A proud father, WBC lightweight champion Diego “Chico” Corrales arrived Wednesday at the IBA gym in Las Vegas carrying a special guest, baby Daylia. Diego’s smallest and most beloved fan, she was decked out in Corrales gear, including sneakers that read “Team Corrales” and holding her tiny finger in the air signifying that her dad was number one. Born two-and-a-half months ago, Daylia was on hand to see her father greet the media and pose for photos as the final chapter of his trilogy with Jose Luis Castillo nears. The “War to Settle the Score!” as it has been logically named is set for Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Away from the scorching Vegas heat, Corrales was his usual, relaxed self inside the gym, engaging the media as he always does even with his newborn in tow. Patting his daughter with a damp towel, he spoke of how he trained harder than ever before for this upcoming fight with Castillo and how nice it’ll be to stop talking about the same opponent. There won’t be any disappointment when Castillo is finally in his rear-view mirror for good. “It’ll definitely be nice to fight somebody else,” he said.
As an example of his fun-loving demeanor, Corrales even took time to reminisce about his affinity for daring stunts such as skydiving and bunjy-jumping and offered to show me the tapes as proof that he was in fact telling the truth after I jokingly doubted the authenticity of his claim.
Daredevil stunts aside, Corrales believes he’s the smarter, more adaptive fighter and plans to prove it Saturday when he steps into the ring against Castillo for the grand finale. If you’re awaiting a toe-to-toe brawl as would be expected by their previous meetings then you may be in for quite a surprise as Corrales has other tactical ideas.
“I’m going to teach this guy a lesson. If you thought I boxed against Casamayor then you’re not going to believe this,” Corrales said. “I’m taking it to a new level and when the fight is over I’m going to smile at him (Castillo) and say, ‘I thought you were going to knock me out.’”
The bettors so far agree with Castillo that he’s going to knockout Corrales as the odds on that wager are even money, only adding fuel to the underdog’s fire as he seeks revenge for what happened back in October. On the day before that fight, Castillo failed to make weight, nullifying his title opportunity, but at the same time giving him a seemingly unfair advantage that ultimately culminated in the brutal knockout.
We heard De La Hoya speak of how important the motivational factor was in readying him for his fight with Mayorga. He wanted to teach his trash-talking opponent a lesson and he did just that. Castillo is no Mayorga as he’s far-better skilled and far-less a potty-mouth, yet Corrales has used the scale-tipping incident and the disrespect that he feels his opponent continues to give him as motivation to seek revenge and quiet Castillo once and for all.
“I’m sick of all his yapping,” he explained. “He’s going to get what’s coming to him.”
Corrales’s trainer, Joe Goossen, is happy his fighter is the underdog and that he’s spurred on by Castillo’s antics.
“When Diego wants something this badly he gets it,” said Goossen.
As for Castillo, word is that his weight was right around 140-pounds as of Wednesday. That didn’t mean much to Corrales.
“I’ve been in this business too long to believe that. They can’t try that on me. He’s probably more like 145-pounds,” Corrales speculated.
We’ll have to wait until Friday’s weigh-in to see whether or not Castillo can make the lightweight limit of 135-pounds. Supposedly, the WBC has been monitoring him closely to make sure we don’t have a repeat of last time’s scale mockery. If he inexplicably does not make the weight then there likely won’t be a fight. But as Corrales said, “We’ll cross that bridge when it comes.”
Let’s hope for the sake of our sport that we never reach that bridge and that we get to see another captivating duel in this “War to Settle the Score.” A memorable fight would not only forever conjoin these two fighters, but also enshrine them together in the lore of boxing’s greatest trilogies. Think Ross-McLarnin, Zale-Graziano, Ali-Frazier, Barrera-Morales. It doesn’t get much better than that.