Boxing


Corrales Set For Big Challenge Saturday Against Clottey On Showtime

NEW YORK (April 5, 2007) – As three-time world champion Diego Corrales prepares for the fight of his life, how does he remain calm? How does one of the most recognizable figures in boxing today cope with the lofty expectations that come with being such a talented boxer? Determined to go down as one of the best prizefighters in history, how does Corrales relieve the tension? “I try to keep busy with a lot of activity, and just do things constantly,” he said. “I love outdoor stuff.’

The aggressive, crowd-pleasing, offensive-minded Corrales has never been known to get on his bicycle (take a backward-step) in the ring. Ironically, one of Corrales’ most pleasurable pastimes is riding a bike.

“It is a great way for me to escape everything that is going on,” Corrales said. “One thing about being on my bike is that I am there by myself, where I don’t have anything to worry about. It is my solace. It is quiet. The only thing I hear, I hear in my helmet.

“I can sit back and think. No matter how long I ride, if I don’t want to answer my phone, or I don’t want to be connected to anything else, I don’t have to be.’’

Corrales (40-4, 33 KOs) will move up two boxing weight classes and attempt to snap a two-fight losing streak when he faces dangerous, world-ranked Joshua Clottey (30-2, 1 NC, 20 KOs) on Saturday, April 7, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, will promote the 10-round bout from The Shrine Mosque in Springfield, Missouri.

“This is definitely a challenge,” said Corrales a former two-time world champion at junior lightweight (130 pounds) and lightweight (135), who is making his welterweight boxing debut. “I know I am in for a long night.

“All I can do is get ready for it. This kid is big, strong, physical and aggressive, which I

think is good for me. I like the big, strong guys. Those are the guys that tend to overlook you.’’

Few expect Clottey to underestimate Corrales. A natural welter, Clottey is coming off a tough loss to WBA titlist Antonio Margarito and needs a victory to remain in the 147-pound mix.

“I love being the underdog,’’ Corrales said. “I wish I was the underdog more often.’’

Leaping two weight classes is unusual, but Corrales feels he had no choice.

“It was not even an option for me to go back to 140,” he said. “There is absolutely no way physically possible I am going to make that weight. With the weight training I have done and with all the things I have done to my body already, to make 140 would be next to impossible.

“I am not ready to go back to this heartbeat skipping and everything else. I am not willing to die in the ring yet. And I don’t want to die trying to face the scale either. Fighting at 147 meant I could start a really strong weight program to work on my strength.’’

For the longest time, Corrales had it mostly going all his way.

“It was definitely nice and a lot of fun and I enjoyed every bit of it,’’ he said. “I had a good run of it. (But) it was stressful at times because (success) really changes everything. It changes your personal and family’s life. It changes your career -- in good ways and bad.

“In your own way, you have to learn to deal with those pressures.’’

Some of the biggest pressure came from fans and the media after he dramatically rallied from two knockdowns and the brink of defeat to knock out Jose Luis Castillo on May 7, 2005, on SHOWTIME in one of the most memorable and sensational fights in boxing history.

“The expectations were so high for the rematch,” Corrales said. “Everybody expected me to do the exact same thing -- go to war, beat yourself up, get your face all bent and bruised. But, for some miraculous reason, you can’t do that all the time.

“They don’t happen like that. It takes a special time for that to happen. Yet, it happens, (and people want to see it again). At that time, I had so many things coming at me from so many different angles. I think it took a big toll. It was tough, one of the roughest times for me ever.’’

The lowlight for Corrales came when he failed to make the weight against Joel Casamayor for his Oct. 7, 2006, world title boxing fight on SHOWTIME.

“I managed to pull through but it wasn’t easy. I went through stress and depression. It was almost self‑loathing. But you have to pick up, reboot and reset. That’s where I’m at now.’’

Still, a third consecutive setback would have many calling for Corrales to retire.

“This (prizefighting) is something I have been good at all my life,” he said. “I love what I do, the fun of it, the combat. There is nothing more fun to me than going and fighting.

“So for it to go away right now, as young as I am, would really be silly, especially knowing how much I do love my job and how much I have a good time with it. This is one of the times when I am in the gym that I am having a good time. We have good team camaraderie.’’

If Corrales appears giddy, it is because he never takes for granted his status in boxing.

“You have so many people out there that have dreamed of being some type of pro athlete, whether it be a baseball, football or basketball player. Ninety percent of the men in the United States -- in the world – dream of becoming some type of athlete.

“And here I am, not just an athlete, but one of the better athletes in this profession. What’s the reason for me not to be happy? If my career ended tomorrow, I have had a beautiful career. Won four world titles and done so much.

“I have had a blast with my career. There is no reason for me not to be happy. I just enjoy what I have had and enjoy what I have done and be happy.’’

Happy can translate into confidence, which Corrales does not lack despite two straight debilitating setbacks.

“There are times when everybody is going to tell you, ‘Hey, you can’t do this,’ ” Corrales said. “But it’s not the body you have to conquer; it’s the mind. And I already conquered my mind. If you can conquer your mind, you can conquer anything else.

“There are things I have done and continue to do that people cannot do, or are unwilling to do. So I don’t see that’s any problem. I push myself to do (the impossible). There comes a time in every athlete’s career when people start (to doubt your ability).

“The fun thing is (proving everybody wrong). I definitely know that I am more than capable of doing what everybody is questioning. But right now I am just looking at Joshua Clottey and the task at hand, which is a pretty big task.’’

As for his legacy, Corrales says: “The man that always - no matter what it was - went out on his shield. And I think that’s the biggest credit you can give to anybody in this sport, since there are so many fighters that are not willing to do that. They are not willing to go to the end.

“I think that “valiant” would be the way to describe me because I have been willing to go to the end every time, and put it on the line every time. And I always will.’’

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.


SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

In March 1986, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING was born when “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler defeated John “The Beast” Mugabi in a spectacular and unforgettable 11th-round knockout in Las Vegas. Since that time, the network has aired some of the most historic and significant events in the sport including both Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson bouts.

Always at the forefront of boxing, SHOWTIME has set itself apart by televising “great fights, no rights” on the first Saturday of every month. SHOWTIME is the first network to regularly deliver live boxing in High Definition. In addition, SHOWTIME continues to be a pioneer in sports television with a number of interactive features across multiple platforms making SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts the most enjoyable, immersive viewing experience for the boxing audience.

Article posted on 05.04.2007



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