Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo, who waged one of the greatest fights in boxing history on May 7 in Las Vegas, are poised to return there for a fall rematch.
They will meet Oct. 8 at the Thomas & Mack Center on Showtime PPV pending completion of a buyout of an option that promoter Artie Pelullo holds on Corrales' next fight. It should be completed this week.
"When a fight takes the whole boxing public and general sports fan's attention, it demands consideration for an automatic rematch," Top Rank president Todd duBoef, Castillo's promoter, told ESPN.com on Monday. "Therefore, we have been compelled to pursue the possibility of doing this in October. I think the economics and the public demand for it should not hold back the fight from happening. There's been overwhelming demand for a rematch. We're excited about it."
Corrales (40-2, 33 KOs) and Castillo (52-7-1, 46 KOs) went toe-to-toe in a lightweight unification bout that left those who saw it in awe of its brutality. In a two-way pitched battle, Castillo finally knocked Corrales down twice in the 10th round before Corrales, badly hurt and his left eye nearly swollen shut, launched an improbable rally and stopped Castillo.
There was also an element of controversy over the 10th round, when on each knockdown Corrales spit out his mouthpiece. It cost him a point but gave him valuable recovery time.
The fight was immediately hailed by fans and media as an all-time great bout on the same level as revered classics such as Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier III, Aaron Pryor-Alexis Arguello I and the Erik Morales-Marco Antonio Barrera, Riddick Bowe-Evander Holyfield and Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward trilogies.
Although Castillo said he wanted an immediate rematch and Corrales said he was also open to one, it looked as though it might have to wait. Pelullo, Corrales' co-promoter, exercised an option 10 days ago that bound Corrales to a rematch with Acelino "Popo" Freitas.
Corrales stopped Freitas, Pelullo's franchise fighter, in the 10th round last August. But because Pelullo gave Corrales the shot at then-titleholder Freitas, he became a partner on Corrales' next two fights with promoter Gary Shaw.
Pelullo and Shaw co-promoted the first Corrales-Castillo bout along with Top Rank. Now, Shaw and Top Rank's Bob Arum are finalizing a buyout of the option, which will allow Corrales to fight Castillo again.
"I have been approached to reconsider the rematch between Acelino Freitas and Diego Corrales in order for Corrales to have a rematch with Castillo, which I had to honor of being one of the promoters of their first fight," Pelullo told ESPN.com. "If we can work everything out, which I think we will, it will allow Diego to pursue further glory by knocking out Castillo for a second time.
"In the meantime, Freitas is fighting in his home country of Brazil on pay-per-view in July. And then we'll take one step at a time."
Initially, Corrales' team expressed concern that because the May fight was so brutal, perhaps they should not fight again. At the post-fight press conference, Joe Goossen, Corrales' trainer, said, "They should never fight again. It's too much."
But money talks. Showtime has already completed its deals with Arum and Shaw, and Arum has secured a site fee in the $3 million to $4 million neighborhood from Las Vegas hotel magnate Steve Wynn, who recently opened the Wynn Las Vegas resort on the Vegas strip, and Harrah's.
Corrales earned $525,000 and Castillo $300,000 for their first meeting. They will both earn substantially more the second time around.
Besides an anticipated rematch in the main event, the undercard is expected to also feature a pair of rematches of all-action fights from this year:
A flyweight sequel between Jorge Arce and Hussein Hussein. Arce won their bloody first bout on a 10th-round TKO in the co-feature on the March 19 Erik Morales-Manny Pacquiao card.
A junior lightweight rematch between former titlists Jesus Chavez and Carlos Hernandez, who waged a sensational fight May 28 on the undercard of the Julio Cesar Chavez-Ivan Robinson bout. Chavez won a split decision in a fight that begged for a rematch.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.