Casamayor Bests Corrales in Rubber Match, Wins WBC Lightweight Championship

By Francis Walker
Updated: October 9, 2006

NEW YORK — The heavyweight division has always been the cornerstone of professional boxing. However, it isn’t nearly as exciting as the fights in the lower-weight classes.

Two of the most courageous non-heavyweights in the world fought each other at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Former WBA super featherweight champion, Joel Casamayor (34-3-1, 21 KOs) won the vacant WBC lightweight championship with a 12-round split decision win against Diego Corrales (40-4, 33 KOs) in a rubber match.

Two judges at ringside scored the bout 116-111 and 115-112 for Casamayor. The other judge scored the contest 114-113 for Corrales.

“I know I won,” Casamayor said. “But I was a little concerned when it went to the cards.”

Corrales-Casamayor III was supposed to have been for the WBC 135-pound championship. Corrales weighed in at 139 lbs. As a result, Corrales was stripped of his championship.

A Casamayor victory would have awarded him the vacant 140-pound crown. If Casamayor lost to Corrales, 1) the title would still be vacant and 2) Casamayor would be ranked No. 1 and guaranteed another title shot.

Corrales was also fined $240,000 and had to give a portion of his purse to his bitter rival.

Coincidentally, Corrales accused Jose Luis Castillio for being unprofessional and disrespectful to boxing for failing to make weight-limit of 135 for their October 2005 rematch.

Corrales (135 lbs.) still went ahead to fight Castillio (138.5 lbs.) and the extra weight proved to be huge advantage for Castillio. Corrales was KO’d in the fourth-round.

Once Castillio failed to make the 140-pound weight-limit for their rubber match scheduled in June, Corrales didn’t go ahead with the fight. Castillio was fined $250,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

In their first bout, Corrales was stopped in the sixth-round on cuts. Casamayor lost a 12-round decision in an immediate rematch five months later.

Corrales agreed to fight Casamayor once more in an attempt to settle their highly-anticipated rivalry.

This time, Corrales and Casamayor engaged each other in a tactile boxing match. Corrales spent much of the fight following Casamayor, a southpaw, who landed right-jabs and straight-rights.

Casamayor had a distinct advantage in the contest until the fifth round when his glove touched the canvas following a Corrales left hook across the head. Referee Kenny Bayless ruled it an official knockdown. A 10-8 round for Corrales.

“It wasn’t a solid knockdown, but it was a knockdown,” Corrales said. “The rules say if you put a guy down its a knockdown.”

An angry Casamayor went straight-after Corrales in the sixth round. Casamayor increased his level of aggressiveness, but the more punches Casamayor threw the more opportunities Corrales had to counter effectively.

Suddenly, the Casamayor-dictated boxing match became a slugfest. Corrales landed some heavy blows in the eighth, ninth, and tenth rounds to have a fighting chance to win.

However, Casamayor landed some hard straight-shots that caught Corrales flush on his chin. Casamayor appeared to be the more energetic. He was showboating to the crowd and raising his arms above his head while standing in front of Corrales.

The former champion was aggressive, but continued to walk straight into combinations to end the fight.