Diego Corrales Will Be Missed

By Francis Walker
Updated: May 9, 2007

NEW YORK — Former world champion Diego “Chico” Corrales died following a motorcycle accident in Las Vegas on Monday night. He’ll be remembered for his can’t miss, action-packed fighting style.

More importantly, Corrales was a husband, a father, and a friend to many inside and outside the boxing ring. He worked hard to give the people their money’s worth. He will be deeply missed. Corrales was 29 years of age.

Every time Corrales entered the gym, wrapped his hands, laced his gloves, put in his mouthpiece, and stepped inside the squared-circle, he was willing to wage war with anyone who stood in his path. Corrales, like every other fighter, understood the dangers involved with climbing through the ropes.

Unlike many other fighters, Corrales, no matter how many miles he jogged, or quality rounds he sparred and shadow-boxed, he quenched the boxing community’s thirst for action.

Corrales was something special. He was a throwback to the old days when fighters believed in having wars and establishing rivalries.”Chico” was one of the few modern-day warriors to answer the call of the boxing public to engage in warfare with his opponents.

No matter how many times he tasted the canvas against unbeaten, five division world champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr. or whether he would rally to score a late knockout, Corrales was a tremendous pleasure to watch.

Anyone could have rooted for Corrales because Corrales didn’t only fight for himself. Corrales fought for those that were willing to watch him work. And, C orrales worked.

Corrales Defined By Wars With Castillo

Corrales in-ring career will be best defined and forever-linked to his two career-defining fights with Jose Luis Castillo.

On May 7, 2005, Corrales and Castillo fought the “Fight Of The Year.” A toe-to-toe war for the WBC/WBO lightweight championship took a climatic turn in the tenth round.

Corrales was docked one point for twice spiting out his mouthpiece after Castillo knocked him down twice in the same round. Corrales returned to his feet to land one of the best right hands in recent memory that sent Castillo reeling against the ropes.

Castillo hurt against the ropes, as referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight. He emerged victorious. In the rematch on October 8, 2005, controversy overshadowed one of the most highly anticipated rematches since the famous Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward series.

Castillo was nearly four pounds over the 135-pound limit. The extra pounds proved to be a huge and near fatal disadvantage for Corrales. Castillo ended-up knocking out Corrales in the fourth round.

A third fight was scheduled for June 3, 2006. Castillo weighed in at almost 140 pounds, that’s five pounds above the 135-pound limit. Corrales rightfully elected not to move forward with the fight.

Castillo was punished by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. He paid a $250,000 fine, suspended for six months, and could no longer be licensed to fight under 140 pounds.

Corrales Did Well Through Boxing

Born on August 25, 1977 and raised in Sacramento, Corrales was born of Mexican and Columbian decent. He was 19 when he began his professional career at 130 pounds. Corrales knocked out Everett Barry in the third round on March 19, 1996.

Three years later October 23, 1999, Corrales knocked out Roberto Garcia in round seven to win is first world title — the IBF super featherweight championship. Corrales went on to knockout Angel Manfredy, Justin Jukko, Derrick Gainer, and decision John Brown within a one-year span.

Corrales first professional loss occurred on January 1, 2001. He challenged Mayweather, Jr. for the WBC super featherweight championship in a highly anticipated fight featuring two unbeaten 23-year-olds.

Corrales impressed the boxing world with his resiliency by returning to his feet after hitting the canvas five times. Mayweather knocked Corrales down five times en route to a 10th round TKO.

On October 7, 2006, Corrales earned another career-defining win when he handed then unbeaten WBO lightweight champion Acelino Freitas his first professional loss. Corrales knocked Freitas down three times and forced the Brazilian powerhouse to quit in the tenth round.

Corrales’ Recent In-Ring, Outside Troubles

It has been reported that Corrales has had severe financial trouble with the IRS. Since the most dramatic knockout victory of his career against Castillo in 2005, it was the last time Corrales emerged victorious in a professional boxing ring.

Following the loss to Castillo in the rematch later that year, Corrales lost a pair of decisions to Joel Casamayor (L 12) in a rubber match and Joshua Clottey (L 10) as recent as April 7, 2007.

Corrales’ career consisted of an amazing 40-5, 33 KO record.