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Diego 'Chico' Corrales, 29; ex-boxing champ

Diego Corrales, landing a left to Joel Casamayor in their WBC Lightweight title fight in Las Vegas last October. Mr. Corrales lost the fight. Diego Corrales, landing a left to Joel Casamayor in their WBC Lightweight title fight in Las Vegas last October. Mr. Corrales lost the fight. (file 2006 reuters)

LAS VEGAS -- Diego "Chico" Corrales, who won titles in two weight classes and was the victor of one of the most exciting boxing matches in recent years, died in a motorcycle crash. He was 29.

Mr. Corrales was riding a new motorcycle Monday evening when he ran into the back of a car while trying to pass at high speed on a busy residential street about 7 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, police said yesterday.

To his closest friends and boxing associates, Mr. Corrales's manner of death came as no surprise.

"I think anyone who knew him well knew he was a real thrill- seeker," said Joe Goossen, Mr. Corrales's estranged former trainer. Goossen recalled begging the boxer, who threw big punches and took big chances, not to ride motor cycles.

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

Mr. Corrales faced arrest stemming from a failure to appear in January in a Las Vegas court on a DUI charge on March 1, 2006, said a spokeswoman for the Clark County district attorney.

Mr. Corrales, who fought most of his career at 130 pounds, had won WBC and WBO lightweight titles and also held a title at super-featherweight.

He 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 called the fight of the year.

He was knocked out by Castillo in a rematch. "We had two amazing fights, and our names will be linked forever," Castillo said in a statement. "For me it was a privilege . . . knowing Chico."

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