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Police blame speed, inexperience for fatal crash

LAS VEGAS -- Diego "Chico" Corrales died as a result of a a high-speed motorcycle crash, authorities said Tuesday.

Police said Corrales' 2007 Suzuki hit the back of a car Monday
evening while trying to pass at high speed on a busy residential
street about seven miles west of the Las Vegas Strip and not far
from his home.

Corrales, who was wearing a helmet, was pronounced dead at the
scene of the 7:22 p.m. crash. He was 29.

Las Vegas police blamed speed and rider inexperience. The state
Department of Motor Vehicles said Corrales' vehicle and motorcycle
licenses had been revoked in July 2006 for a drunken driving
conviction on an October 2005 arrest.

Las Vegas police Sgt. Tracy McDonald said investigators found an
April 21 bill of sale for the motorcycle and were trying to
calculate the speed, which he said appeared "well above" the
posted 35 mph.

"He fought recklessly and he lived recklessly," Corrales' promoter, Gary Shaw said.
"That was his style."

The Clark County coroner's office was awaiting results of blood
drug and alcohol tests before ruling on a cause of Corrales' death,
a spokeswoman said. McDonald said the toxicology tests could take
about two weeks.

Corrales had a history of drunken driving and faced arrest
stemming from a failure to appear in January in a Las Vegas court
on a separate DUI arrest on March 1, 2006, said Kathy Karstedt, a
spokeswoman for the Clark County district attorney. Charges also
included speeding and evading a police officer.

In 1999, Corrales also pleaded guilty in Henderson Justice Court
to misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol, was fined
and agreed to attend traffic school, Karstedt said.

Corrales' lawyer, Marc Risman, said the 2006 DUI case was
"being resolved." Risman said Corrales was in training camp at
the time he was supposed to have appeared in court.

"It would be a shame if his memory was tarnished at this point
by past incidents that may have nothing to do with what happened
yesterday," Risman said.

"Diego lived life to the fullest," said Pat Lamparelli, 51, a
family friend who used to go on father-son outings with his son,
Corrales, and Corrales' son. "He lived it as if every day was his
last day."

Lamparelli spent Tuesday at the home of Michelle Corrales,
Diego's pregnant wife. The couple had three children, with a son
due in July, and were trying to reconcile after separating earlier
this year.

Michelle Corrales was not making public statements, Lamparelli
said.

"It wasn't like he was down on his boxing career," Lamparelli
said of Diego Corrales. "He was trying to get his personal life in
order."

Corrales, who fought most of his career at 130 pounds, was best
known for getting up after two 10th-round knockdowns to stop Jose
Luis Castillo on May 7, 2005, in what the Boxing Writers
Association of America and numerous boxing publications called the
fight of the year.

Corrales was knocked out by Castillo in the rematch and then had
three straight fights undermined at the weigh-in.

"We had two amazing fights and our names will be linked
forever," Castillo said in a statement. "For me it was a
privilege of knowing Chico and being part of such great fights."

Castillo couldn't make weight twice against Corrales, and the
second time Corrales refused to fight him at the higher weight,
costing himself a $1.3 million payday.

Corrales then couldn't make the weight limit for his WBC
135-pound title defense against Joel Casamayor, and went on to lose
the fight.

Corrales was born in Sacramento, Calif., and lived in Las Vegas
in recent years. He won his first 33 fights and held a piece of the
130-pound title before he was stopped by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a
unification fight in January 2001.

Corrales went to jail on a domestic abuse charge after that
fight, and didn't fight again for two years. He came back to fight
a trilogy against Casamayor, losing two of the three fights, and
split a pair of fights with Castillo.

Corrales lost his last three fights, including his final one
April 7 against Joshua Clottey in Springfield, Mo. He had moved up
two weight divisions to welterweight for that fight.

Top Rank chief Bob Arum, who promoted a Corrales-Castillo fight
with Shaw, said all of boxing was stunned and saddened by Corrales'
death.

"Diego was a class person who we were very fond of," Arum said
in a statement. "Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife Michelle and the rest of his family."

A memorial service is scheduled Thursday in Las Vegas.