“Diego being inducted into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame means the world to us knowing that the city where it all began is recognizing his contributions to the sport of Boxing. It’s a dream come true. Diego was always so proud to say he was from Sacramento. Thank you for this wonderful recognition.” - Michelle Corrales-Lewis
(widow of Diego Corrales)
“It is a great honor to have Diego recognized by the many boxing fans that enjoyed seeing him put forth his heart and soul into his boxing career. As his mother, it brings me one step closer to closing the book to an extraordinarily difficult time in my life and the knowledge that yet another one of his dreams accomplished for momma to remember.”
- Olga Woods (mother of Diego Corrales)
High School: Hiram Johnson
* 5 Time World Champion
* IBF, WBC, WBO Super Featherweight Champion
* WBO, WBC Lightweight Champion
* The Ring & Boxing Writers Association of America’s Fight of the Year Award
* Career Record: 40-5, 33 KO
Diego Corrales, nicknamed “Chico”, was born in Columbia, South Carolina and moved around the country with his teenage mother Olga. He was three years old when Olga found a permanent home in Sacramento and then meeting her soon to be husband Ray Woods. Growing up in the Oak Park area, Diego was a feisty boy who was very talkative and personable. Chico wasn’t afraid to try anything, including boxing.
He became interested in boxing at four years old, and with the help of Ray, he quickly developed good skills. He tried other sports and participated in football and track and field but was too small. At age 10 he began going to the Police Athletic League Gym and he quickly flourished under Ray’s guidance. Finding an individual sport suited Diego just fine as he could garnish all the attention.
He had his first amateur fight at age 11 and it was evident he had superior skills for a boy his age.
Despite a rough childhood which included getting into a lot of trouble, Diego was forced to turn into a man as a teenager. He began training at the Washington Neighborhood Center under the direction of Don Connolly. He began to thrive and was developing into a top amateur fighter. As an amateur, Diego compiled a record of 105-12 and took second place at the U.S. Amateur Championships and was a bronze medalist in the 1995 Pan American Games.
He turned pro at the age of 18 and relocated to Las Vegas to live and train in the boxing capital of the world. His new trainer was Ken Adams, who had tremendous success with young fighters and was the most accomplished United States Olympic Boxing Coach and trained numerous world champions. Diego signed with Hall of Fame Promoter, Bob Arum and Top Rank Boxing. Chico was unstoppable early in his career. He won his first 33 fights, 30 of them coming by way of knockout.
In 1999 he won the IBF Super Featherweight title by defeating the previously unbeaten Roberto Garcia. He defended it four times including a marquee win against Angel Manfredy that ended with a third round knockout.
Diego hit the world spotlight in facing pound for pound great Floyd Mayweather Jr. Both were undefeated in one of the most anticipated match ups of all time. Diego lost that bout but he quickly regrouped with four consecutive victories. He had three battles with Joel Casamoyer. The second fight was a wild split decision victory for Diego. He then faced 4-time World Champion, Acelino Freitas, who came into the bout 35-0. Diego knocked him out.
The stage was set for one of greatest fights of all time. Diego fought the first of two bouts with Jose Luis Castillo. The10th round was one of the most exciting in boxing history. Diego was knocked down twice in the opening minute of the round. He showed the heart of a champion, storming back to knock out Castillo in one of the wildest bouts in history. The fight was The Ring and Boxing Writers Association of America’s 2005 Fight of the year. It was also HBO’s Fight of the Decade while being the signature victory of Diego’s career.
He would go on to fight three more times after that fight including a rematch with Castillo. Two years exactly to the day after his victory over Castillo and one month after his final fight, Diego was tragically killed while riding his motorcycle in Las Vegas. He was only 29 years old.
Diego was an outgoing, fun and caring person. Known for his exciting fighting style and passion in the ring, he had an incredible will to win and never quit attitude. He will never be forgotten and always remembered for being one of the true warriors of his sport while having tremendous talent.
He is a 5-time World Champion and one of the most exciting fighters the sport has seen. He was one of the great champions from our area and is part of the storied tradition of Sacramento Boxing.