Posted: Thursday October 6, 2005 2:31PM; Updated: Friday October 7, 2005 2:37PM
To ask them to do it again seems somehow a failure to appreciate what they've already done. We should all shell out $49.95 just to watch the two of them sit side by side in comfortable arm chairs with cold drinks at hand and comment on a big-screen replay of their first bout. Instead, we'll be waiting to see whether they can top themselves. I'm half afraid they will.
Castillo has said that he doesn't think the first fight was all that great, that -- like the Black Knight who gets hacked to pieces in Monty Python and the Holy Grail -- he's "had worse." Mexicali-born and a product of the Mexican school of ring warfare, he is probably not exaggerating by much. But Castillo, who, after all, lost the first fight when it was right there in his grasp, surely needs to believe that the first time around wasn't that extreme and wasn't that brutal. Because, you know what? He has to go back in there and do it again the same way. Castillo is a relentless, straight-ahead brawler, who thrives on giving and receiving hurt at close quarters. That's his game.
Corrales, in contrast, has other options. Nearly 6-feet -- about four inches taller than Castillo -- he's rangy, mobile and a skilled boxer. If he can keep the action at long range and stay off the ropes, he can win again without taking the battering he took in the first bout.
Of course, that's a big if. Castillo may simply bring too much pressure for Corrales to keep him off. Plus, the way Corrales was talking at the final press conference this week -- "I'm here to finish a war," he said. "This is the final battle and I will die in that ring before I give up." -- suggests that it might not take too much to get him to give in to his inner warrior and go right back into the fire.
Predictions are fun, but this is one bout in which it would seem presumptuous to pick a winner. Boxing is the winner.
The Son Also Rises: The undercard of Saturday night's show (which will be aired on Showtime pay-per-view) will feature Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The son of another Mexican lightweight champ of note (How about Chavez Sr. in his prime against Corrales or Castillo?), the 19-year-old junior welterweight will be seeking to run his record to 23-0 against lightly regarded Jeremy Stiers. Assuming he wins, Chavez Jr. will fight again on Nov. 12 on the undercard of the Vitali Klitschko-Hasim Rahman bout against Grover Wiley, who stopped Chavez's old man in five rounds on Sept. 17 -- in what was the 43-year-old legend's 116th pro fight. ...
A report that promoter Gary Shaw has severed ties with No. 1 middleweight contender Winky Wright because Wright was "negotiating behind [his] back" may be "premature," according to Shaw. The promoter, who has a deal in place for Wright to fight Sam Soliman at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., on Dec. 10, says that the boxer had been dealing with hip-hop promoter Chris Lightly of Violator Management and that Lightly (who handles 50 Cent, among other artists) had approached other sites about the fight.
"My word is my bond," says Shaw. "I still need to talk with Winky before anything is final, but there needs to be an understanding that there is one person speaking for this promotion."
Wright, on hand in Las Vegas for the Corrales-Castillo fight, declined to comment. ...
Finally got a chance to look at the tape of James Toney's win last Saturday night over Dominick Guinn. (The bout was on Showtime, the same evening as Tarver-Jones III.) The 37-year-old Toney, who weighed 168 pounds when he lost to Jones more than a decade ago, may be no body beautiful at his current 235, but he is a delight to watch in the ring. The anti-Jones, really, he is no-flash, all-subtle substance, one of the few fighters active today who would be at home with the greats of the '40s and '50s. I'd much rather see Toney in action again than Jones.