Stay focused on Casamayor-Corrales

Mar 2, 2004 1:14 AM

Do not let the early low line on Bernard Hopkins over Oscar de la Hoya distract you. There will be plenty of time to think about a fight that is no sure thing to happen, signed contracts or no ("and the winner, and new middleweight champion of the world, Robert Allen").

Do not get bogged down in all the heavyweight bull that will hurt your eyes (John Ruiz vs. Fres Oquendo???). Do not be so impatient to look ahead to March 13 and the wonderful matchup of Sugar Shane Mosley and Winky Wright, or farther ahead to Mosley vs. Felix Trinidad Jr., Winky permitting.

Do yourself a favor and concentrate on next week’s all-action fight ”” at the books, in the ring, on the tube ”” what could be a continuation of a hellacious contest that was building into the fight of the year before the blood stopped it.

Joel Casamayor and Diego (Chico) Corrales are ready to do it again March 6 at Foxwoods. This time, Casamayor is the 2-1 (or lower) favorite after getting a controversial six-round stoppage last Oct. 4. By fight time, I had talked myself into liking Casamayor big and though many of my esteemed colleagues think the rematch will be different, I must disagree. I think it will be even more of the same.

It was a great fight and it would seem that with Acelino Freitas running away from a rematch with Casamayor ”” who beat him though he didn’t get the decision ”” these two 130-pounders might be consigned to go through life having to fight each other.

Why would anyone else want to face either one?

I say that facetiously because Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao are about to make the 130-pound class as good as there is. But for the moment, Corrales was all warm and cuddly telling Casamayor how much he appreciated the quick return.

Then, of course, Corrales gave the party line that before the bleeding in his mouth made it look as if he were throwing up and forced Dr. Margaret Goodman into halting it, Chico was about to knock out Casamayor. He had landed a punch near the end of the sixth round that shook the former Cuban Olympic champion, but to my mind, that was only because Casamayor was feeling so frisky he got nailed.

He had started out beating Corrales every which way. No surprise. Of course Floyd Mayweather Jr. had done the same, but you have to remember Corrales was way behind to Robert Garcia as well. He is insulted if you miss him. Casamayor had him down early and often, but then walked into a hook.

Down he went. He got up and after giving his head a few moments to clear, took charge again. In the sixth round, with the bloodshed mounting, Casamayor got hit again. So what. He would have come back in the seventh and taken charge again. He has great recovery. He has a great chin — Freitas couldn’t hurt him, remember. And he is far superior to Corrales as a boxer. As Ron Stander’s wife ”” well, ex-wife ”” said when he was about to challenge Joe Frazier, "You don’t enter a Volkswagen in the Indianapolis 500 unless you know a hell of a shortcut."

Corrales just can’t compete with Casamayor’s speed. Yes, there’s always the chance the big puncher with the big heart can stand on his feet long enough to land a telling blow. But there’s more chance that Casamayor will connect with much more.

They were on a conference call last week and Corrales gave his mantra about how he needed only one more round..

"I don’t want to leave anyone in doubt," said Casamayor, explaining in part why he came right back and gave Corrales next. "He should be grateful the fight ended the way it did, otherwise we would not be having this conversation right now. Basically, he can thank the doctor for stopping the fight because it was his way of getting another fight out of it. I am going to do a number on him this time."

Minus a punch here or there, Casamayor did a number on Corrales the first time. Yes, there’s been an intriguing switch of trainers.

Casamayor dumped Joe Goossen, who went over to Corrales, replacing Ken Adams. He then hired Buddy McGirt. Don’t listen to those Showtime geniuses ”” Nick Charles is a lovely man, he knows less bout boxing than Joe Goossen ”” who think this gives Corrales an edge.

Believe me, Goossen for Adams is at best a wash. McGirt for Goossen is a major improvement. I like Joe, I mean considering him the equal of Kenny Adams is flattering. But the only thing he has better than McGirt is a ”˜do.

And if Casamayor pays attention to a man who got Arturo Gatti to remember how to box, then the Cuban will win by more than a hair. Try a knockout around round eight. Then we can start concentrating on Mosley-Wright.