LAS VEGAS - Diego Corrales had barely picked himself off the canvas and plans were already under way for a third fight with Jose Luis Castillo.
In the ring Saturday night, Corrales' promoter asked his fighter if he wanted the fight right away or if he wanted to wait a few fights instead.
"Immediately," Corrales replied.
Corrales could have been excused if he wasn't thinking of fighting Castillo again so soon. He had just been stopped in the fourth round by a vicious left hook that quickly finished off what had been expected to be a battle of attrition.
The punch made short work of a highly anticipated rematch of the classic first fight between the two boxers, a battle won by Corrales when he got off the canvas twice in the dramatic 10th round to stop Castillo.
There would be no dramatics for Corrales this time. Castillo never gave him a chance to continue fighting with a punch so devastating that Corrales crumpled to the canvas before getting up still in a daze as he was counted out by referee Joe Cortez.
As he landed the big left hook, Castillo immediately raised his arms in triumph.
"I knew he wasn't getting up," Castillo said. "I told everybody I was going to knock him out by the seventh round."
Corrales made no excuses for the loss, praising Castillo for landing a shot he didn't see. But his promoter and those around him complained bitterly that Castillo had an advantage because he never had to get down to the 135-pound lightweight limit like Corrales did.
Castillo weighed in at 138½ on Friday but the fight went on anyway after negotiations between promoters. He weighed 147 at a special weigh-in Saturday, while Corrales was 149 the night of the fight.
"Making 135 is very debilitating to your body," Corrales' trainer, Joe Goossen said. "I wish I would have known it a day or two earlier. We would have come in at 138½ ourselves."
Corrales' promoter Gary Shaw said he shouldn't have let his fighter fight after Castillo missed the weight by so much. But there was a lot at stake, including a $2 million payday for his fighter.
"I promise you this will not happen again," Shaw said. "I'll go home the next time. You'll see me at the airport."
Castillo tried to enjoy his knockout win, but grew irritated when asked repeatedly at the post-fight press conference about his inability to make weight.
"This is like a court," Castillo said.
The two fighters began their second fight much like they fought the first, at close quarters in the middle of the ring, each giving no ground. But it was Castillo who landed the better punches from the opening bell and he opened a cut over the right eye of Corrales in the second round.
Castillo rocked Corrales with a right hand in the third round, then put him away with a punch that sent him crumpling to the canvas 47 seconds into the fourth.
"Am I let down that I made the same mistake twice?" asked Corrales, who was decked by the left hook in the first fight. "Yes, I should have learned from the first fight."
Corrales kept his lightweight title belts because Castillo didn't make the weight, and the contract the two fighters had called for a third fight. Corrales said he wanted the fight as soon as possible, and Castillo said he had no problem fighting Corrales again.
"I think his style is perfect for me," Castillo said. "He fights inside and that's what I like to do."
Castillo said he wouldn't mind even more fights.
"If they want to make it like the Rocky movie and us fight five or six times, let's do it," he said.
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