- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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After lightweight champion Diego "Chico" Corrales unified titles with an amazing 10th-round comeback against Jose Luis Castillo in their instant classic on May 7, many figured a rematch surely would follow.
While a rematch might ultimately happen, it won't be next. That's because promoter Artie Pelullo exercised his option Wednesday for a rematch between Corrales and Acelino "Popo" Freitas, Pelullo told ESPN.com.
Castillo promoter Bob Arum had hoped to put a Corrales-Castillo rematch together for an Oct. 8 pay-per-view card.
Corrales was trailing Freitas in their August 2004 title fight, but came on strong to score knockdowns in the eighth, ninth and 10th rounds before Freitas quit in the 10th round.
In order to get the title shot against Freitas (36-1, 31 KOs), Corrales and his promoter, Gary Shaw, gave Pelullo two options, one of which could be a rematch at Pelullo's discretion.
Pelullo co-promoted Corrales (40-2, 33 KOs) with Shaw against Castillo, using up the first option. This week he used the second option for the rematch because Freitas wanted it so badly.
"I spoke to Acelino Freitas this week and he told me wants the rematch with Diego very badly," Pelullo said. "Acelino said he wants Diego Corrales again because he doesn't want to go around him and have people think he is ducking him or afraid of him. He said he can live with losing the [first] fight but that he can't live with not fighting him again. He told me, 'I'm going to beat him and I'm going to take back my title.' I said, 'No problem.' Acelino and I have been together for eight years through good times and bad times. He wants the rematch, so I have put everyone on notice."
Freitas won his only fight since the loss to Corrales and is scheduled to fight in July in his native Brazil. The rematch would be in the fall, but a TV deal needs to be reached before it can be scheduled.
Showtime, which broadcast the first fight, has the first right of refusal and a last-look option on the rematch. However, the network is not too interested in it, meaning it could wind up on another network such as HBO or ESPN.
"It's not really our first priority," Showtime boxing boss Ken Hershman said. "I don't know what we'd do with it or where we would put it. It's not the most interesting fight out there for us. I think Corrales put his stamp on that one pretty decisively."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.
The anticipated rematch Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo, who engaged in a classic fight May 7, apparently must wait. Popo Frietas wants a rematch with Corrales first.