- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Note: The 10th round of the first fight between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo on May 7 in Las Vegas has been hailed as one of the greatest rounds in boxing history.
After nine blazing rounds of non-stop action in a very close bout, Castillo finally seemed to seize control of the lightweight unification fight. He knocked Corrales down twice with big left hooks. Corrales appeared to be out each time, but each time he surprisingly beat the count.
However, on both knockdowns his mouthpiece was dislodged. On the first knockdown, it came out due to Castillo landing a clean punch on his jaw. On the second knockdown, Corrales removed it in an effort to help him breathe better and he dropped it, accidentally he says. In both cases, however, Corrales received valuable (and controversial) recovery time while referee Tony Weeks replaced the mouthpiece. Corrales also was docked one point for the infraction.
Moments after the second knockdown, Corrales staggered Castillo and then stopped him with a series of shots as Castillo sagged into the ropes with his hands at his side. It was an astonishing comeback and stunning conclusion to an all-time great fight and all-time great round.
Here, in their own words, Corrales and Castillo share their thoughts on the now-legendary 10th round as they prepare for the Saturday night rematch (Showtime PPV, 9 ET) at the Thomas & Mack Center.
LAS VEGAS -- When the 10th round started, we just went at it and I hit him good. He went down twice and I thought the fight was pretty much over.
I relaxed, I went for the kill and I got hit. There's nothing I can do about that. I came out open, and he hit me. I can't cry about it now. It's too late to cry about it now.
But I was one shot away from the fight being over. I thought I just need to land one more and it's over. So that's what I was trying to do, just land one more.
Maybe I relaxed a little bit and I wasn't focused on what I wanted to do. I was overconfident when I walked toward him and I got caught.
I have never watched the fight. I have only seen the video highlights they keep showing in the hotel. I don't remember getting hit though. When I see the highlights all I can think is 'How stupid can a person be to get caught with those shots?'
When I knocked him down the two times, I thought that they kept going to the corner because the fight was over. I thought that they were going to the corner and staying there and that he's not coming back out. But they kept putting the mouthpiece back in, and he kept coming back out. But I thought the fight was over.
I was too confident. I was maybe over-confident. I was sure I was just one hit away, anywhere in the body, the head, anywhere where I could hit him and the fight would be over for sure. And that's all I was thinking, 'Just get one more shot in,' and then he caught me.
He caught me and the referee stepped in and it was over. Very quickly. So I just felt very sad and frustrated at letting myself down, at allowing myself to get caught at a time when I had the fight won.
But I'm fine with the stoppage. I don't think it was a bad call. I only had an issue with the mouthpiece and all the time that was given to Corrales to recover. It never should have gotten to the point where I got knocked out. The fight should already have been over.
I wouldn't say I was robbed. All I know is that he got an opportunity to recover for a lot longer than he should have.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.