Posted: Thursday September 28, 2006 1:00PM; Updated: Thursday September 28, 2006 1:00PM
Joe Goossen (right) has trained Diego Corrales (left) for a third lightweight fight with Joel Casamayor.
The past year has been a fruitful, if frustrating one for Joe Goossen.
In January, the Los Angeles-based boxing trainer saw his son, Nick, make his directorial debut in the Adam Sandler-produced comedy Grandma's Boy.
Last June, the best-of-three rubber match between Goossen's best fighter, WBC lightweight champion Diego"Chico"Corrales, and Jose Luis Castillo was cancelled after "El Terrible" showed up at the weigh-in 4˝ pounds over the 135-pound lightweight limit. The Nevada State Athletic Commission fined Castillo $250,000 and suspended him for the rest of the year.
On Oct. 7, the 29-year-old Corrales climbs back into the ring at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas to take on former Goossen protégé Joel Casamayor (35) for the third time. With Goossen in his corner, Casamayor scored a sixth-round TKO during their first fight in 2003. When Casamayor subsequently dumped Goossen, the trainer switched sides for the rematch in '04 and engineered Corrales' split-decision victory.
We caught up with Goossen at his gym in Van Nuys, Calif.
SI.com: Do you think Castillo actually believed he could whittle himself down to 135?
Goossen: The only way he could have made that weight was if he'd cut off his legs at the knees. It must have become obvious to him during the weigh-in for his rematch with Diego in 2005, when one of his handlers tried to monkey with the scale. He came in at 138˝ anyway, thereby turning the fight into a non-title bout.
SI.com: How did Castillo look this summer at the weigh-in?
Goossen: Like death warmed over. He was gaunt and his ribs were showing -- a little like Lindsay Lohan. Which makes me question whether he really made weight the first fight.
SI.com: In that first bout, Corrales was deducted a point for spitting out his mouthpiece while getting up from a knockdown. Then he made a sensational comeback, pinning Castillo against the ropes and scoring a win by TKO.
Goossen: Diego beat one of the great welterweights for the lightweight title. It's interesting that at the post-fight press conference, neither Castillo nor his trainer demanded a rematch. It wasn't until the WBC was lobbied quite forcefully by Castillo's promoter, Bob Arum, that an immediate rematch was ordered. The referee was never reprimanded. No formal petition was ever filed. The rematch was based on the promoter's claim that too much time had elapsed because of the mouthpiece. I've never heard that argument used before in a protest.
SI.com: Corrales-Castillo II came five months later, and Corrales got clobbered. Did you think those two were ready to re-rumble that quickly?
Goossen: Hell no! One of the first things I said after the first fight was that anybody who thought these two killers should get together in the ring again is a sadist. It didn't take a brain surgeon to see they should have a year to recover. They'd been through a spectacular slugfest, one of the greatest fights of all time. Five months later they were basically still rehabbing and nursing their wounds. My guy came to camp with a black eye. In my opinion, business concerns were put before health concerns.
SI.com: How satisfying was it to beat Casamayor in '04 after he had let you go?
Goossen: My only satisfaction derived from Diego winning. If I had disliked Joel, I might have thought about revenge, but he and I have never been and never will be unfriendly. I don't hold a grudge against him or his manager.
SI.com: How long will the rubber match go?
Goossen: I'm convinced it won't go the distance. The first fight shifted fiercely back and forth, with lots of hitting and knockdowns. The second was more tactical, a tension-filled chess match. The third will be more like the first in terms of ferocity. Both fighters will be looking for KOs.
SI.com: Your father, Elliott, was an LAPD detective who worked on the Black Dahlia case. Have you seen the new Brian De Palma film?
Goossen: No, but I've seen all the other movies involving the murder, even the one starring Lucy Arnaz Jr. I didn't like any of them.
SI.com: The crime was committed in 1947 and is still unsolved. Did your dad have any hunches about the identity of the killer?
Goossen: He believed it was a guy who worked at the victim's hotel. The police just couldn't pin it on him.