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Feature Story

Hernandez, Corley collide tonight

Weights from Chumash

Photo: M.L. Preissel/For SHOWTIME

Once-beaten welterweight Freddy “El Riel” Hernandez (27-1, 18 KOs) weighed 148 pounds for his 10-round fight with former world champion DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley (36-12-1, 21 KOs) tonight in the main event on ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast). Corley weighed 143 pounds. In the co-feature at Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif., hard-hitting, undefeated Francisco Contreras (12-0, 11 KOs) tipped scale at 136½ pounds the toughest test of his career against Juan Castaneda, Jr. (16-2, 12 KOs) in an eight-round junior welterweight bout. Castaneda weighed 137 (on his second attempt).

Photos: M.L. Preissel/For SHOWTIME

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A winner of four in a row, Hernandez, who was born in Mexico City, is 10-0 with one No Contest dating to February 2005. The No. 14-ranked contender in the World Boxing Council (WBC) scored a convincing, unanimous 10-round decision over then-once-beaten southpaw Damian Frias Oct. 23, 2009 on ShoBox.

Corley, a former World Boxing Organization (WBO) 140-pound titleholder, has fought some of the best in the world including past and current world champions Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Devon Alexander, Junior Witter and Jose Alfaro. Corley seldom gets the benefit of the doubt in close affairs. One-third of his defeats have come on split decisions.

Contreras, who has been virtually untested since turning pro in February 2007, is stepping up in class against the aggressive-minded Castaneda, who is 12-0 since suffering his last loss to Antonio DeMarco on May 2, 2008, at Chumash, on ShoBox.

The current WBC interim lightweight belt-holder, DeMarco challenges WBC 135-pound world champion Edwin Valero in the main event on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING this Saturday, Feb. 6, on SHOWTIME®.

FREDDY HERNANDEZ

“The important thing is to win, but I want to win convincingly – hopefully by spectacular knockout so I can show people that I’m ready for a title shot.

“There are times when an unknown fighter becomes a known fighter really fast, which is why I appreciate fighting on SHOWTIME again. I’m known to some people and they acknowledge me as a good fighter, but my day is still to come.

“This will be a tough fight because it was made on short notice and because Corley is a veteran with experience. But my main concern is that he’s a lefty. That’s my main concern, but it won’t be a problem.’’

“A win over a former world champion would look good on my record but I know I need to keep fighting and winning convincingly against whoever they put against me.’’

DEMARCUS “CHOP CHOP’’ CORLEY

“I’m in shape, ready to fight and ready to get back on top. I had a little more than a week’s notice and that is fine. I don’t know or care anything about the guy I’m fighting.

“I’m trying to win. I want to get a title fight. This is my first fight at 147 pounds, and I’m going to show the world I can fight at 147, too, but I’m going to campaign at both 147 and 140.

“One thing’s for sure. When I get him in trouble, I’m not going to let him off the hook like I did against (Miguel) Cotto and (Floyd) Mayweather. I should have gone berserk when I had Cotto in trouble and after I hurt Mayweather.

“To this day, it still gets underneath my skin just knowing how close I was to giving both Cotto and Mayweather their first losses. The only way for me to get peace of mind is to become world champion again and hopefully get a rematch with both guys.

“My last two defeats – my last fight which was in Russia and one I had against Hector Sanchez — cut a piece of my heart out. There was no way I lost those fights, yet they went the other way.

“But it’s not going against me on Friday. If Hernandez is busy, then it’s going to be a busy fight because I’m definitely going to be busy. I have no time to wait or I won’t get the decision. I can’t be the counter-puncher and let him go first. I need to go forward and press him back.’’

FRANCISCO CONTRERAS

“I know practically nothing about Castaneda, but I am here to fight and to win. I might still have all my wins by knockout but my last fight came against a guy who weighed at least nine pounds heavier than me. I think he must have weighed 160 to my 136.

“I want to keep going and move on to bigger things and fight for a world title so every fight is very important to me.

“Castaneda could be a test but I’m confident I have the qualities to overcome anything he has to offer. I am very excited about Friday and the opportunity to showcase my skills on SHOWTIME.’’

JUAN CASTANEDA

“I’m in great shape and ready to win. I’ve only seen the other guy’s record, but I wasn’t impressed at all and I am definitely not scared of him. He has never fought a real fighter. To say he fought guys that were limited (ability-wise) would be giving him the benefit.

“I think this is going to be a good fight for me and I am confident. This is a great opportunity for me to win a fight that will open the doors for me again for more opportunities.

“I want to forget the fight against DeMarco, but it was a good learning experience and I got a lot out of it. I lost that fight, but I’ll win in the long run.’’

* * *

Nick Charles will call the action from ringside with Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.

For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http://www.sho.com/sports.




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