Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo were supposed to meet for the lightweight title. Instead, tonight in Las Vegas there will likely be a couple of welterweights in the ring for one of boxing's most anticipated rematches in years.
After a weigh-in yesterday bizarre even by boxing standards, the promoters managed to salvage the fight that appeared in jeopardy after Castillo weighed in well over the 135-pound lightweight limit.
They did it by deciding on having another weigh-in for Castillo about five hours before the fighters enter the ring tonight. Castillo will have to weigh in at 147 pounds or pay Corrales $75,000 for each pound over that weight.
"Diego told me he's going to make Castillo pay for causing so much trouble," Corrales' promoter Gary Shaw said.
Shaw even held out the possibility that the fight could still be for the WBC and WBO lightweight titles, even though Castillo weighed in well over the limit for that class.
The 147-pound limit for today's weigh-in is the maximum for welterweights, not lightweights. But fighters normally balloon in weight from the weigh-in the day before the fight until they actually get into the ring, so it is likely that Corrales will be somewhere around that weight, too.
Still, the fight was nearly derailed when Castillo first weighed in at 137 pounds, then twice at 1381/2, actually going up in weight despite spending more than an hour trying to work it off.
The outdoor weigh-in on the Las Vegas Strip lasted nearly two hours as Castillo tried to sweat off the weight, only to come in heavier on his final two tries. His personal physician was suspended and fined by Nevada boxing authorities for allegedly putting his foot under the scale to try and make his fighter look lighter.
Castillo was fined 10 percent of his purse, $120,000, half of which goes to Corrales and half to the Nevada commission, for not making the weight.
Bob Arum, the promoter for Castillo, blamed his fighter's doctor, identified as Armando Barak, for interfering with his training and bringing the fighter to the scale well over the limit.
Promoters had a reason to find a way to compromise. They had sold most of the seats at the 18,000-seat UNLV campus arena and were anticipating good pay-per-view sales for the rematch of a fight that thrilled boxing fans when the two first met.
For nine rounds on May 7, Corrales and Castillo stood in the center of the ring trading jolting punches to the head, somehow staying upright. Castillo's face was a mess with blood flowing from under his left eye and bruises everywhere, while Corrales almost couldn't see out of either of his swollen eyes.
Still, neither gave any ground until Castillo caught Corrales with a left hook seconds into the 10th round that dropped him.
Corrales got up and was promptly dropped again. The fight appeared over, but both times he took out his mouthpiece, and the second time he gained valuable time to recover. His head cleared, Corrales then caught Castillo with a left and a right and then finished him off against the ropes in one of the most dramatic turnarounds in boxing history.
Corrales will get $2 million for the rematch. Castillo gets $1.2 million.
-- From News Services