Notes on a boxing scorecard
Appeal Sports Writer
News and views from the world of boxing:
If you tuned in to the Showtime broadcast for the Joel Casamayor-Diego Corrales III clash on Saturday, you got to experience two more of the three biggest disappointments in boxing this year.
The first came before Corrales was scheduled to meet Jose Luis Castillo for their rubber match on June 3, but Castillo failed to make weight and Corrales wouldn’t fight him at a higher weight after killing himself to make 135 pounds.
When the pair first met on May 7, 2005, they arguably put on the best fight since Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns in 1985, so the disappointment was monumental when Castillo came in heavy in June.
Castillo, who failed to make weight in the rematch in October 2005 and again the following February against Rolando Reyes in El Paso, Texas, was fined $250,000 and suspended for the remainder of 2006 after blowing his third meeting with Corrales.
Castillo is also facing legal action by Corrales’ promoter, Gary Shaw, for Shaw’s financial losses relative to the non-fight.
Disappointment turned to disbelief Friday, when Corrales failed to make 135 for his rubber match with Casamayor. And disbelief turned back to bitter disappointment when a lethargic Corrales and defensive Casamayor turned Saturday night into a stink-fest with a boring affair reminiscent of any number of fights by heavyweight Chris Byrd.
Keith Kizer, executive director for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said Tuesday that Corrales was fined 20 percent of his purse – $240,000 – for his infraction.
Corrales also reportedly paid an undisclosed sum to the victorious Casamayor, who won Corrales’ WBC lightweight thrown with a split decision.
“There was nothing else we could’ve done,” said Kizer, when asked how Weightgate III occurred. “We were informed 10 days out that Corrales was 143 at the time. The sanctioning body (the WBC) said he was on par to make weight.”
This is the same sanctioning body that passed the buck on fightnews.com, blaming everybody but itself for the incident.
What it not so coincidentally left out was yet another weigh-in issue involving WBC Interim light flyweight titlist Wandee Singwangcha, who failed to make 108 pounds for his defense against Munetsugo Kayo in Tokyo on Monday.
Although Singwacha, of Thailand, defeated Kayo, of Japan, by unanimous decision, he was stripped of his belt. Corrales was similarly stripped of his belt and it wouldn’t have mattered had he beaten Casamayor.
Kizer said although Corrales had passed a pre-fight physical before he was scheduled to meet Castillo in what turned out to be a non-fight, he “was dizzy and had some other issues.”
“After that, I told Diego, ‘Thank you,’ and told Showtime and Diego that I hoped it was the last time he tried to make 135,” Kizer said.
But as we found out Saturday, it wasn’t.
Kizer said Corrales is notorious for dropping a lot of weight and then re-hydrating and coming in heavier than his opponents.
Corrales seemed genuinely contrite about not making weight and it carried over into the ring, where he fought as unspectacularly as he ever has.
Even though Casamyor, who in my eyes didn’t do enough to win the fight, was awarded the decision, there were no winners – especially the fans – on that night.
– There has been a lot of talk of re-instituting the same-day weigh-in. This is due mainly to fighters like Corrales and Arturo Gatti, who drain themselves to make a lighter weight and then gain up to 15 pounds or more after they re-hydrate, gaining what some claim is a significant and unfair advantage over their opponents.
After Weightgate III, perhaps this is not such a great idea. Imagine all of the belts that would be lost and fights that would be canceled when fighters come in too heavy the day of the fight. And the ones that would pay most would be the ticket-holders.
Here’s four words to the various entities that are considering this move: Just don’t do it.
– So is everyone through making back-hair jokes about WBA heavyweight beltholder Nicolai Valuev yet? No more comparisons to Andre the Giant and his deformed cranium? No more Jack and the Beanstalk sallies?
So what if a pack of blue jays could nest in Valuev’s back hair. So what if his misshapen skull resemble that of Big Andre. And so what if the 7-foot Valuev is the giant Jack found when he climbed up the beanstalk.
The question is, can the man fight?
The answer is, yes and no.
No in that Valuev is a 328-pound version of a 55-year-old George Foreman, who ponderously swats his opponents more than he actually punches them.
Still, as Monte Barrett found out Saturday, Valuev has enough power and weight behind his offerings to finish his opponent.
But when assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Valuev, now 45-0 with 33 knockouts, one ends up playing Ping-Pong.
The 6-foot-3 Barrett, who gave up 106 pounds, isn’t the biggest puncher in the heavyweight division, but he appeared to have Valuev wobbled a few times during the fight. This begs the question, what happens to Valuev when he gets hit by a Samuel Peter?
The other part of the equation – the elephant in the living room as it were – is Valuev’s larger-than-life size. Amazingly well-conditioned for a big man, if he learned to lean on and push his opponents more, if he found a mean streak and learned to pronate his punches and snap his jab more, Valuev, at a trimmed-down 295 pounds, could be nearly untouchable.
If Emanuel Steward weren’t already training IBF heavyweight titlist Wladimir Klitschko, he’d be the perfect fit for this too-gentle giant.
– Does IBF flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan, 27-0 (21) remind anyone else of former featherweight king Prince Naseem Hamed?
He’s arrogant nearly to a fault, he’s an unorthodox southpaw with a huge punch, and he’s maybe the most exciting fighter in the division. Let me pull my best HBO ringside judge Harold Lederman:
“Jim, let me tell you something. If Darchinyan could get WBC flyweight champ Ponsaklek Wonjongkam or former WBC Interim flyweight strapholder Jorge Arce into the ring, you’d have two Fights of the Year.”
For those who haven’t heard of Thailand’s Wonjongkam, he’s 62-2 (32) and has defended his belt a division record 14 times.
Arce, whom Darchinyan calls “Jorge Farce” because Arce’s allegedly ducking him, is 45-3-1 (35) and electric. He’s a gunslinger – a kayo artist whose in your face and loves to brawl.
Can somebody please get these guys in the ring together and quit making excuses?
– For the second consecutive time, WBC light heavyweight titlist Tomasz Adamnek defeated Paul Briggs in a Fight of the Year candidate. I thought Briggs should have won, but just barely.
That aside, Adamnek, 31-0 (20), is possibly the best fighter in the division. Bernard Hopkins (who is rumored to be moving up to heavyweight to face WBC heavyweight champ Oleg Maskaev) is retired, Antonio Tarver and Roy Jones are basically shot.
Of the other Alphabet titlists, Zsolt Erdei and Clinton Woods, the 25-0 Erdei looks to be division’s most attractive opponent for either Adamnek or Briggs. At least until world super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe, who will be making his 19th title defense this Saturday against Sakio Bika, moves up to light heavy.
– And finally, for those who want to know what happened to Carson City’s Mike Peralta, who was scheduled to meet Yoshi Fujii in Fresno on Sunday, his fight was canceled.
The 24-year Peralta, 1-0, was informed that Fujii “was not 100 percent” and will be forced again to wait for another opponent. Before turning pro against Shawn Yacoubian on Aug. 24, Peralta had his pro debut canceled when a card fell out in Oregon.
Peralta, a lightweight, is said to already be back in training, chomping at the bit. Hopefully for him, his luck will improve from here on out.
Keep reading the Nevada Appeal. On Thursday, see what Yerington’s Jesse Brinkley is up to. He spoke with me Monday and had some nasty things to say about a certain Reno middleweight.