In 2001 you couldn’t tell Diego Corrales nothing.
He was already the IBF and super featherweight champion and was gearing up to challenge then “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather for his WBC and lineal titles.
The 5-foot-10 Corrales was a bonafide, undefeated killer that towered over the young upstart from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Standing 5-foot-8, Mayweather has never been known for his physicality, but rather for his smarts and ring generalship.
Mayweather at his best!
Corrales had 26 knockouts at that point in his career and it was popular opinion that he would probably school him to some degree. But Mayweather knocked Corrales down five times (three times in the seventh round and twice in the tenth).
After the fifth knockdown, Corrales’ corner stopped the fight, after taking repeated punishment from Mayweather’s viciously accurate counters. It was a passing of the torch from one generation to the next as Corrales went to prison for 14 months after being convicted of domestic battery on his then pregnant partner.
Corrales became the WBO super featherweight champion in 2004, reigned as the WBO lightweight champ from 2004 to 2006 and the WBC, Ring magazine, and lineal lightweight title holder from 2005 to 2006.
In 2005, Corrales received Fight of the Year honors by The Ring and the Boxing Writers Association of America for his acclaimed first bout with Jos Luis Castillo, where he knocked Castillo out in the 10th round.
On May 7, 2007, exactly two years to the day after his first fight with Castillo, Corrales, riding a motorcycle, was killed in a three-vehicle accident near his Las Vegas home.
Diego Corrales should be conjured up when you see tall lean fighters like Robert Easter, Jr. at lightweight, and imagine what they could be like at super featherweight. The prowess of a Terence Crawford reminds you of the confidence of Corrales and the viciousness when he smells a kill as well.
Rest in power champ, your reflection still remains on the game.