Boxing


Corrales-Clottey April 7 on SHOWTIME

diego corralesNEW YORK (March 19, 2007) – Three-time world champion Diego Corrales will move up two weight classes when he returns to SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on Saturday, April 7, 2007, to take on world-ranked challenger Joshua Clottey. SHOWTIME will televise the 10-round welterweight bout at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast). Gary Shaw Productions will promote the event from The Shrine Mosque in Springfield, Missouri. While the change in weight from 135 to 147 pounds is a considerable step for most boxers, Corrales says it was a natural progression for him.

“I couldn’t make the weight at lightweight anymore,” he said. “It took me three weeks to get under 142 pounds, and I was damn near killing myself just to make weight. “One-forty-seven is a much more natural weight for me. This change is going to be the best thing for me.” Corrales (40-4, 33 KOs) hopes the combination of the weight change and replacing his revered trainer Joe Goossen, with whom he won his title belts, for long-time friend and respected trainer Dickie Wood will be a recipe for success..

“I just want to get back to my old boxing style and save the wear and tear on my body, and I think Dickie can get me back to that,” said Corrales, who worked with Wood as an amateur. “Training is going fantastic. I am very, very strong right now.”

Having won the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior lightweight crown early in his career, Corrales became one of the world’s top fighters at 135 pounds. The former World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight world champion perhaps will best be remembered for his series of scintillating battles against Jose Luis Castillo and Joel Casamayor.

The first meeting between Corrales and Castillo (May 7, 2005, on SHOWTIME) was one of the most sensational fights in boxing history. Corrales, who entered the ring as the WBO 135-pound champion, came from the absolute brink of defeat to take Castillo's WBC crown.

Two powerful left hooks from Castillo sent Corrales to the canvas twice in the 10th round. However, he rallied and caught Castillo on the ropes with a series of unanswered punches, causing the referee to stop the fight at 2:06 in the 10th round.

Five months later on Oct. 8, 2005, Corrales lost the rematch on Showtime PPV. However, no titles were at stake because Castillo failed to make weight before the fight.
In Corrales’ three-fight series against Casamayor, he was 1-2.

In their last fight (Oct. 7, 2006, on SHOWTIME), Corrales failed to make weight for his WBC title defense and dropped a 12-round split decision to Casamayor. In their previous two meetings, Corrales registered a 12-round split decision over the hard-hitting southpaw on March 6, 2004, and was stopped in the sixth round on Oct. 4, 2003.

Corrales’ hopes of earning another title belt may lie in the hands of his new trainer. The former world champion claims that he had some of the best fights with Wood, and hopes the change will get him back to that elite form.

“What I ask of Diego is just to stay focused and smart,” Wood said. “I told him that one of our philosophies for this fight is more output, less input. I want him to throw more punches and take less.”

While this step up in weight will not prove to be an easy task, Wood is ready for the challenge.

“I am going to make Corrales as hard at 147 pounds as you can imagine,” Wood said. “You won’t even know that he was a 135 pounder. He is going to be as tough as nails.”

The new and improved Corrales will have some stiff opposition when he takes on Clottey (30-2, 1 NC, 20 KOs). The current WBO No. 4 welterweight contender is known as a devastating puncher with tremendous determination.

In his last outing on Dec. 2, 2006, Clottey fought a thrilling match against WBO Welterweight Champion Antonio Margarito on SHOWTIME. The challenger dominated the early rounds with a series of concurrent left hooks and impressive combinations. However, a fractured left hand suffered weeks earlier in training camp slowed his attack in the later rounds. Clottey lost the crowd-pleasing bout on the scorecards 118-109 and 116-112 twice.

“If I hadn’t broken my hand, I would have beaten him and won that belt,” said Clottey, who is now rehabilitated. “I am ready to beat Corrales so I can get another shot at a belt.”

Clottey, of Bronx, N.Y., by way of Accra, Ghana, is ready to get back on track and return to the ring. Prior to the setback against Margarito, Clottey was undefeated in his previous 10 fights (10-0, one no contest) dating back to his only other loss in November 1999.

A consensus top-10 welterweight fighter, Clottey suffered a hand injury while training two weeks prior to the Margarito fight. Always the warrior, he decided to take the fight anyway.

“I was on a roll before the injury, and I was never 100 percent for the fight against Margarito,” Clottey said. “I am ready now to prove on April 7 that I can battle for a world title once again.”

As opposed to others who fight for strictly financial reasons, boxing is Clottey’s life.

“I think about my boxing career more than anybody else,” Clottey said. “I just want to fight the best. Even if I am going to lose some, I have to fight them.

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING’s Steve Albert and Al Bernstein will call the action from ringside with Karyn Bryant serving as special correspondent. The executive producer of the SHOWTIME telecast will be David Dinkins Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.

For information on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and “ShoBox: The New Generation” telecasts, including complete fighter bios and records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at www.sho.com/boxing.

Article posted on 20.03.2007



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