While today is on fire in the boxing world for a very obvious reason -- Manny Pacquiao is back in the ring tonight against Shane Mosley (9pm ET, Showtime PPV) -- the date May 7 is well-remembered by boxing fans for other reasons.
One reason is great. On May 7, 2005, Diego "Chico" Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo engaged in what is regarded by many as the greatest fight in recent boxing history, and one of the best fights of all time. If you have never seen this fight, I encourage -- nay, demand that you watch it in full. If you have seen it, let's relive the climactic 10th round, which was and remains truly incredible.
Corrales was always noted for his remarkable heart. In 2001, Corrales was undefeated and matched with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a major 130-pound showdown. Mayweather decimated Corrales. He took him apart at the seams all night long. All told, by the time Corrales' corner stopped it in the 10th round, "Chico" had been down five times.
But he didn't want the fight to be stopped. Corrales still thought that he could make his way back into it and knock out Mayweather. He protested his corner's stoppage vehemently and emotionally. He didn't want to give up.
That was the fighter Diego Corrales was. The sort who always felt he could come back in a fight, no matter how badly things were going. Four years later against Castillo, he did just that. Reeling in the 10th round, and down twice in the frame, Corrales suddenly raged back at Castillo, and wound up forcing referee Tony Weeks' hand. It's one of the great scenes in boxing history, as the wired crowd explodes in a mix of jubilation and pure disbelief, while trainer Joe Goossen -- shocked himself (check out his expression) -- rushes into the ring to hoist Corrales into the air.
The moment couldn't last. Corrales would never win another fight, and two years later to the day, he died on May 7, 2007, the result of a motorcycle accident in Las Vegas, his home and the site of his greatest moment.
Every year on this day, I remember "Chico" Corrales for the fighter he was. Few will thrill me the way he did as long as I'm alive.
And if Pacquiao and Mosley can deliver one-eighth the excitement of Corrales-Castillo tonight, we're in for a good one.