|Corrales steals top spot from Mayweather
Destruction of Manfredy solidifies Corrales' superiority
Can there be any question that Diego Corrales is the best 130 lb.
fighter in the world? While Floyd Mayweather, Jr. continues
his self-imposed exile from the sport, Corrales has been notching
one impressive win after the next. But none of the IBF
champion's previous victories were as complete as his three round
demolition of Angel Manfredy.
If Corrales was distracted by the felony battery charges awaiting
him upon return to Sacramento, it didn't show in the ring. For
eight minutes, he punished Manfredy at will, hurting the
challenger with every punch. Bringing a one-half foot height
advantage with him, Corrales looked like a welterweight fighting a
tattooed featherweight. And while Corrales had previously
entered the ring weighing as much as 148 (vs. Brown), this night
Corrales weighed just 140 to Manfredy's fight night weight of 135.
Manfredy's formidable task was to get inside and bang away.
Seconds into the fight, he stepped into range and fired a
beautiful left hook-left uppercut combo that nailed Corrales 2 for
2. Corrales looked loose, and didn't seem bothered by the blows.
He calmly stalked Manfredy and studied his movement. A few
times Manfredy launched quick bursts of punches, and Corrales
showed off his ability to block punches on his arms and even dip
low. The first was shaping up to be a typical feel-out
affair when the fireworks started.
Manfredy again charged into close range and fired a beautiful
double left hook to the body. The first was picture perfect,
thudding loudly against Corrales' liver. The second never
made it to it's target. In between Manfredy's double left
hook downstairs, Corrales swung his own left hook with the
effortless motion that someone shuts a screen door. This
unexpected, very short, and seemingly casual punch slammed
Manfredy's head and sent him down to the canvas and on his back in
the blink of an eye. The amazing thing about the hook was
not that it was the first meaningful punch Corrales landed in the
round, but that it generated so much power in such a short
distance. Manfredy popped to his feet immediately and now
Corrales let his hands go.
With nearly a full minute left in the round, Corrales battered
Manfredy from one side of the ring to the other. Corrales
landed his left hook first, and followed it with overhand rights
thrown at full velocity. They landed cleanly, as did the
uppercuts and rights to the body that followed. Corrales
stopped to take a breath, then fired his right hand straight down
the pike into Manfredy's face. Angel's head snapped back and he
was wobbled into the ropes again. Finally, the bell sounded
to stop the one-sided beating. Manfredy returned to his
corner wide eyed and bewildered. Corrales sat in his corner
looking as relaxed as any fighter has ever looked in the ring.
The second round was more closely contested, although Boxing
Chronicle also tallied the round for Corrales. Manfredy
continued his aggressive attacks inside, only to find that
Corrales welcomed a fight at close range. Again Manfredy
launched and landed the hook-uppercut combo, and Corrales nodded
in recognition of it's effect. This combo, and a few other
bursts from Manfredy, garnered a loud reaction from the crowd.
Manfredy twisted his body with his digging shots and the overt
dedication to his power punches was noticed by the crowd.
But in between those attacks, Corrales was doing an unspectacular
but effective number on the challenger. Corrales expertly
cut off the ring and started working his jab, and when it landed
it hurt Manfredy. Furthermore, Corrales' heavy right hand
and counter hooks were thrown with such nonchalance that the live
crowd did not react when they landed.
With two rounds in the books, Corrales now upped his attack.
Manfredy charged out in the third with a smashing six punch combo.
A left right to the head followed by a left-right to the body and
an uppercut and straight right to finish it off. Corrales
smiled, and then offered a most convincing rebuttal. First
he launched a solo lead right hand that passed through Manfredy's
defense and snapped his head back. The punch was more
effective that Manfredy's previous six combined. Corrales
then threw a wide right to the body that dipped Manfredy's knees
and had Angel retreating across the ring on unsteady legs.
Corrales gave chase, landing a flush left hook and some more body
shots as Manfredy tried to hang on. Corrales launched
another left hook, and this one caught Manfredy on the side of his
forehead. He dipped his knees in place and touched a glove
to the canvas for the second knockdown of the fight.
Manfredy easily convinced the referee that the fight should
continue, although his legs were not yet fully under him.
Corrales teed off on Manfredy, landing a dozen unanswered punches
as the rubber legged challenger retreated from one side of the
ring to the next. Finally a classic one-two drove Manfredy
down again to his back. Looking dazed but willing, Manfredy
again beat the count. Some guys are just too tough for their
own good. The fight went on, and Corrales took target
practice. Although Manfredy fired back an occasional punch,
he landed none. Meanwhile, Corrales attacked. Boxing
Chronicle counted 25 devastating, flush, head-snapping,
unbelievably powerful punches to Manfredy's noggin. The man
received a most heinous beating. Finally, after Manfredy's
posture had turned entirely into a protective cocoon and he
stopped throwing back, referee Jerry McKenzie stepped in and
halted the carnage. It was a good thing. With
Manfredy's granite chin, he might have been able to take 'em as
long as Corrales was able to thrown 'em. That can be a
recipe for a ring tragedy.
There was no protest from Manfredy at the stoppage. After
the fight, he complained that he had felt "spacey" and
"weird." Perhaps making 130 was too
much of a strain after fighting at 135 for several years.
Regardless of how he felt, he looked good when he threw, he just
took too much incoming.
Can we now finally move Mayweather down to #2 on our lists?
He's fought only once since beating Carlos Gerena this time last
year. He's fired his father,
the only trainer he's ever had. He has no fights scheduled.
His last outing was a boring one-punch-at-a-time decision over
used-up Goyo Vargas nearly six months ago. Clearly, Diego
Corrales, with his ring activity, power punching,
and versatility, can put Mayweather to the test if the fight is
made soon. Mayweather's speed and unique defense can present
problems, but he's no power puncher and the ring rust will be a
The only thing holding back Diego Corrales is himself. As
cliche as that sounds, the champion faces serious legal problems
outside the ring. He is accused of beating his wife, who was
pregnant with their child. Her injuries have been reported
as serious. Corrales may be looking at a long stint in the
Big House, and we don't mean Madison Square Garden. The soft
spoken Corrales (now 33-0/27) insists that he will be exonerated.
If the charges against him prove to be false, or if he can hire
attorneys to beat the rap, then Corrales presents the single
greatest threat at both 130 and 135 pounds. A spot on a
pound-for-pound list should be his for the taking.