- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2003

Looking good is important to World Boxing Organization junior welterweight champion DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley. Very important.
That is why the District native is known for the flamboyant boxing trunks he fashions. "When I look good, I perform at my best," he said.
Looking good will be very important to Corley tomorrow night when he defends his WBO title against former champion Randall Bailey in the return of boxing to D.C. Armory on a Showtime card. Corley needs to win and look good doing it to break from the pack of talented fighters in the 140-pound class.
"People don't really know about me," said Corley, who is 27-1-1 with 16 knockouts. "I won my title with a first-round knockout and defended it once since then. No one has really seen me fight. I haven't gotten the exposure that I needed. So I want to win, but I want to look impressive doing it."
A win over Bailey (26-2, 26 KOs) will require an impressive effort. Bailey won the WBO crown with a one-round knockout of Carlos Gonzalez in May 1999 and successfully defended it twice before losing a split decision to Ener Julio in July 2000. It was Bailey's first loss, and he suffered his second after four straight comeback wins when he was stopped by Diobelys Hurtado in the seventh round in May 2002. Bailey fought in September and stopped Alfonzo Fowler in one round.
One-round knockouts are not unusual for Bailey, 28, who has won all of his victories by KOs, 15 in the first round. He may the hardest puncher Corley has faced, but Bernard Roach, Corley's trainer, believes his southpaw fighter has the tools to negate Bailey's power.
"Randall Bailey is an outstanding boxer," Roach said. "He has a good right hand, and we have to take it away. We will make him reach, and when he reaches, he will have to pay when he overextends. People don't realize how fast and strong Chop is."
Corley, 28, is an experienced fighter with a long amateur career (he got the nickname Chop Chop as an amateur after he gained a lot of weight from one dinner, provoking his coach to comment on how he "chopped up" that food), winning 119 fights and losing 22, climaxing with the 1995 National Golden Gloves Championship. He tried to make the 1996 U.S. Olympic team but lost in the boxoff and turned pro in May 1996, stopping Aaron Smith in one round.
Corley was a busy fighter, with five more fights in 1996 and seven fights in 1997. He ran a record of 17-0-1 before losing a decision to Daniel Lujan in March 1999. Corley bounced back and two fights later won the United States Boxing Association 140-pound belt. He won in front of hometown fans at MCI Center in September 1999 by outpointing Julio one of the fighters who has beaten Bailey.
While he was winning, Corley struggled with personal problems, such as drugs (his brother Michael was killed in April in a drug deal dispute). Two years ago, he made changes in his life, and went in a new direction, signing with the management team of Gary Lee and Kirk Cashwell.
Several fights later, Corley got his opportunity at the WBO title not one of the three major belts (World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation) but a belt gaining in stature and respect. Corley stopped Felix Flores in one round in June 2001 and since has had one successful defense: a war with a familiar figure, Julio, winning yet another hard-fought decision in January 2002.
It has been nearly a year since that fight, a long time to be out of the ring, but Lee, one of Corley's co-managers, defended the layoff.
"We don't want to fight just anyone," he said. "We want to take on tough guys. Ricky Hatton was the number one contender for the title, but he wouldn't fight us. Nobody wants to fight this kid. But he will take on Randall Bailey and show them what he is made of. This is a big fight."
Corley is hoping to garner some attention in a division with such names as Kosta Tszyu, the WBC, WBA and IBF title holder; Zab Judah, the former champion; Arturo Gatti, coming off his win over Mickey Ward in November; and one fighter in particular that local fans are very familiar with: former WBA champion and Takoma Park native Sharmba Mitchell.
A Corley-Mitchell matchup would be a treat for local fight fans, but these local rivalries have a way of not happening, as witnessed by the failure to match WBA middleweight champion William Joppy and former WBC title holder Keith Holmes, both area fighters.
Mitchell, though, is hoping to get a rematch with Tszyu and is fighting Carlos Viches for the IBF's No.2 contender, Jan.25 in Atlantic City. It doesn't appear Corley is on Mitchell's dance card anytime soon, though Corley said he would love to fight Mitchell.
"It would be great for the hometown fans," Corley said. "He says I am not a marquee-enough of a name for him to fight. He says he doesn't feel I am ready to fight him yet. But Sharmba does not want to fight me, because he knows he can't win."
Corley is hoping that a big win tomorrow night will put his name on the marquee among the rest of the top fighters in the division.

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