OFTEN cited by boxers of the current generation as the greatest fight of all time, this blood-and-guts thriller had it all. Pitting two warriors who saw a backward step as a blatant act of cowardice, it was a miracle their punishing battle made it to the 10th round. There were knockdowns – two of them, both suffered by the winner – controversy as Diego Corrales spat out his mouthpiece after his second trip to the canvas, to gain extra time and pull victory from the jaws of defeat, and the type of brutal exchanges that sicken and scintillate in equal measure.
Having gained revenge over Joel Casamayor – one of only two conquerors – then moved to lightweight and stopped 35-0 Acelino Freitas for the WBO belt, the exciting Corrales was riding the crest of a wave and closing in on the pound-for-pound list. Jose Luis Castillo, a gnarled veteran even then, was on a winning run of six and heading into the third WBC defence of his second reign. The Mexican was felt to be stronger, more seasoned and durable, but Corrales appeared to have more variety and greater one-shot power.
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