There are certain fights that you just never get tired of watching. It’s safe to say that this is one of them, at least for me.
On May 7th, 2005, Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo headlined a Showtime Championship Boxing card at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. At stake were the WBC and WBO lightweight titles, making this a unification bout. It would be revisionist history to say that this was a “big” fight in a commercial sense — it wasn’t a PPV and the arena clearly isn’t sold out when you see camera shots — but it delivered on its promise of action.
The entire fight was worthy of its eventual moniker of Fight of the Year, but it’s Round 10 that will go down in history as arguably the greatest round you’ll ever see in boxing, and certainly one of the craziest comebacks.
With the bout hanging in the balance, Castillo scored the first critical knockdown of the contest with a beautiful left hook. Corrales bought time by spitting out his mouthpiece. Another knockdown led to a more flagrant removal of the mouthpiece, and Tony Weeks docked “Chico” one point. Two knockdowns and a point deduction suddenly made this task look like Mission: Impossible.
“You better f—king get inside on him now,” trainer Joe Goossen told Diego after reinserting the mouthpiece.
Corrales improbably rallied, catching Castillo with a right hand and then hurting him with a hook. As the two traded blows, Diego suddenly had the fight turn in his favor and he turned Jose Luis Castillo’s head into a bobblehead. Even though there was no knockdown of Castillo, he was very obviously out on his feet and Weeks stopped it. From the brink of getting knocked out to getting a justified standing stoppage, all in a span of two minutes.
Please watch the video at the top of the page. Watch it as many times as you’d like.
Castillo won the rematch (but missed weight) by knockout in October of that same year. A trilogy in 2006 never materialized because Castillo missed weight again and the fight was canceled after the weigh-ins. Jose retired in 2014 with a record of 66-13-1 (57 KOs). You may also know him as the man who came very close to beating Floyd Mayweather, only to lose a controversial decision back in 2002. He was no doubt a damn good fighter at his peak, hence his two separate runs as WBC lightweight champion in the early and mid 2000s.
For Corrales, his monstrous comeback vs. Castillo was the final win of his career. He was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2007, eerily on the anniversary of this fight. So not only does today mark 15 years since Chico stopped Castillo in an extraordinary rally, it’s 13 years since his death at the age of 29. Corrales’ final record was 40-5 (33 KOs), but his name is forever etched in boxing history for what he accomplished on that unforgettable May night in 2005.