Potential Fight of Year not
hardly worth the ‘weight’

Jun 6, 2006 8:03 AM

Corrales-Castillo III created a commotion all right — a bigger bust than Anna Nicole Smith.

And, at least Anna Nicole fought the good fight for money and won in the Supreme Court. Diego Corrales walked away from a $1.2 million payday because his lightweight title belt outweighed stepping into the ring against an overweight opponent.

The biggest losers, as always is the public. Whether bettors or not, boxing lost a possible Fight of The Year, which the first Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo bout received.

It was not Corrales who created the problem, but his version of Roberto Duran’s No Mas left a multi-million dollar pay-per-view spectacular dumped at the altar. There’s no excuse for Castillo not making weight, but even the legendary Hands of Stone never dodged a fight.

The third Barrera-Morales fight ran into the same weighty issue when Erik could not make weight. The Barrera corner, led by the classy Marco Antonio, decided to fight. It was the correct and proper thing to do at the 11th hour with much at stake and an eager public willing to spend plenty to see such a classic matchup.

Obviously Corrales cared less about the public and more about his pride as a champion. The promoter Bob Arum is another ”˜heavy’ is this shaft.

"I think it’s time we teach these fighters a lesson,’’ Arum said when interviewed after the weigh-in.

Fine. If you really want to teach a lesson, do it after the fight. Make it nontitle to keep Corrales happy, and suspend Castillo at least two years for violating an essential part of the contract if he bolted.

Castillo came in 3½ pounds over the limit in the second fight and Corrales did not pull the plug. After being knocked out, Diego said he would not make that same mistake again. Instead, he made a far greater one.

3 to get ready

Meanwhile, Jimmy Vaccaro and Leroy’s are finalizing plans to upgrade three football contests the public should like as participants and students of betting.

"I always felt the evolution of the college football contest made a lot of sense," Vaccaro said. "I know Jay Kornegay at the Hilton has that great NFL contest with the $1,500 entry fee, but told him that a college football contest on that level should have been done 20 years ago."

With the Stardust Invitational’s status in limbo pending the resort’s demolition next year, Leroy’s is seizing the moment to reach the Hilton’s status.

"Sports have been under a rock as far as contests," Vaccaro said. "We’re doing something about it through Leroy’s."

Contest 1: Money Talks with 16 contestants paying $5,000 each to enter. Leroy’s will add $20,000 to the pot, making top prize $100,000. The winner gets $80,000, the runnerup $20,000. Entrants pick 7 games per week.

Contest 2: Defending Money Talks champ Nick Bogdanovich vs Steve Fessik in a season-long $50,000 winner-take-all. Each will put up $25,000, choose six games a week with wins worth one point and ties worth ½.

Contest 3: Leroy’s College Football Challenge, the most cost-friendly to the public. Players are allowed three entries at $250 apiece. Last year the top 30 were paid. Vaccaro is hoping to pay top 50 this time. Also, there will be a "second chance" contest over the final four weeks.

cher in California, who beat a field of 370 to gain the winner’s share of over $45,000.

"There’s a caviat this year to the Challenge," Vaccaro said. "This year the ones who got off to bad starts will have a chance to make money. We will run a separate contest the last four weeks and the player with the best record can win back some dough. I think that will keep everybody interested."