- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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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 -- I remember being in the corner before the 10th round and my trainer, Joe Goossen, asking me if Castillo had anything left. And I told Joe, 'No he doesn't have anything left.' And he said, 'OK let's finish it.' I said 'OK.'
I admit I made a mistake. He had a little something left in there. I didn't think he did, but he had a little something left. He turned a left hook over and landed right on the button. I had to see it later on TV because I didn't see it in the fight. I went down and I was hurt. It did some damage.
The second time I went down, though, I was clear the moment I hit the ground. I was clear as a bell. It was an accumulation of punches and I was still buzzing from the first knockdown but I felt 10 times better than I felt on the first knockdown.
I pulled the mouthpiece out to try to catch my breath. I got it out but it flopped out of my hand. I thought, 'Oh, crap.' So now it's out of my hand. Where the hell is it? I sat up and I caught the count at five. I ain't worried about the mouthpiece at this point. I look at Joe and let him know I am OK and I stood up.
Tony says, 'I'm taking a point.'
He said for the mouthpiece. I told him it fell out of my hand. He took the point. I tried to talk him out of but I realized it's not going to work. So I go back to the corner, get the mouthpiece and regroup.
I don't do things to try to cheat. I've never been a dirty fighter. I am a straight arrow fighter. That was the first time I ever even lost a point in my professional career. To say I did something to beat the rules or buy time, that is ridiculous. It's beneath me.
I didn't do it on purpose. My actions were simple. It's something commonly done, try to get your mouthpiece out, take a nice breather and put it back in and go.
When I got back in there, Castillo came back at me hard. But he had his left hand low and I knew I can catch him.
The right hand hit him. He's hurt. I stepped forward and I unloaded shots. I landed a good left hook and I thought, 'I got him.'
He has his back to the ropes and I know he's in trouble. I'm trying to land everything. I hit him with a hard right hand and he slumped. I knew I hit him good because I felt it in my shoulder, I didn't feel it in my arm. I knew 'This was a shot.' I knew I landed a great shot. Boom. Now I hit him with a left hook and it sent his head up in the air. It was clear he was helpless now. And then Tony stopped it.
I was like 'Holy crap!' I knew no one had every stopped him like that. I remember I had my hand up in the air and I was about to climb the ropes and exhaustion just hit me, like someone threw weights on me. I was like 'I can't climb the ropes. This was an amazing fight.'
I didn't have the energy to do it. I was so physically exhausted. I couldn't believe I just fought this fight.
When I watch it on tape, I watch it as a fan. That has to be one of the most amazing rounds I have ever seen.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.
How do you come back from two knockdowns within two minutes? Diego Corrales recalls his miraculous victory in his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo.