Diego ‘Chico’ Corrales will be posthumously inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, in June and it will be more than 23 years since Floyd Mayweather stopped Corrales in the 10th round of their WBC super featherweight title fight. 

It served as Mayweather’s sixth defense of his title and the bout is viewed as one of the pivotal wins in Mayweather’s career. Corrales was a massive super featherweight, standing at 5ft 10½ins. 

Yet his step-father and trainer Ray Woods knew something was wrong leading into the fight. Speaking in his legendary garage gym in Sacramento, California, Woods recalled the night Mayweather shone so brightly. 

“I remember Diego having bronchitis, and I tried to tell him, ‘Don’t take that fight, but that was the first time he was making that kind of money’,” said Woods.

The reported pay for the fight was that Mayweather earned $1.7m, while Corrales made $1.4m.

“He wasn’t going to turn it down,” Woods added. “So we went into the fight, and to be honest with you, because I had bronchitis before, I kind of knew we didn’t stand much of a chance but he wanted to do it anyway.”

Going in, it was viewed as a close fight but the result was anything but. Corrales entered the bout 33-0 (27 KOs) and was seen as one of the best in the sport. The bout was thought to be even, with any outcome being possible, but Mayweather’s virtuoso performance led to one of his many legendary nights in the squared circle. 

“What I had planned to do was, before he [Corrales] gets hurt, I was going to throw the towel in,” Woods added. “He didn’t like it, but I did it anyway. I saved him. He [fought later] and became a champion again.”

Mayweather landed 220 of his 414 punches, whereas Corrales landed just 60 of 205 punches and Woods had seen enough.

However, years on, Woods believes that a healthy Corrales might have seen the fight go differently. 

“I believe, and me and Roger [Mayweather] used to argue about it, if Diego didn’t have bronchitis he might have beat Floyd,” Woods continued. “You know, those two used to spar together when they were on the USA [boxing team] in Colorado Springs. Sometimes Floyd would get the best of him, and sometimes Diego would get the best of Floyd. It went back and forth, but I believe if Diego didn’t have bronchitis, I believe we would have won.”