DeMarcus Corley Profile
Former World Boxing Organization Junior Welterweight Champion. Born on June 3, 1974, in Washington, D.C. Height: 5’ 7” Weight: Junior Welterweight (140). Record: 31-7-1, 17 KOs.
If cockiness were a true measure of a boxer’s ability, DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley would have already retired as an undefeated, undisputed champion. But confidence is only a part of the mix. One must also bring boxing skills to the table, and there is also the ability of the opponents to consider.
On all accounts, Chop Chop passes the test. He has unquestioned ring skills, fought some of the best fighters of his era, and confidence that some might call cockiness.
“If you don’t have confidence in yourself, you are in the wrong business,” Corley said. “Some people may be turned off by the way I come across sometimes, but it is all about believing in yourself.”
Corley has an outgoing personality and is a true showman. He once dreamed of becoming a model. He also is expert at fashion design, and is proud of his tailoring skills. Since learning to sew in a high school home economics class, Corley has made his own ring “outfits.”
“I swore when I left the amateurs that I would never fight in standard trunks again,” he said. For one fight, Corley entered the ring wearing a shiny red mini-skirt with six inches of white fringe and a snug little jacket to match. He had a horned, green dragon mask on his face. “It is all about entertainment and making a name for yourself,” Corley said.
Corley started boxing when he was 12. “I got into it to win trophies because win or lose, you get a trophy,” he said.
In the amateurs, he got his nickname. “We had gone out of town for the Silver Gloves in Mississippi,” Corley recalled. “I was supposed to weigh 65 pounds. When we came back from dinner, I weighed 75 pounds. My coach said to me, ‘you sure chopped up that food.’ So from that day, Chop Chop stuck with me.”
Corley turned pro in May 1996 in his hometown, Washington, D.C., and scored a first-round TKO over Aaron Smith. “I was very excited to be in there with all my friends and family cheering me on,” Corley said.
He went on to win his first 16 starts, going 6-0 in both 1996 and 1997. After winning his first four outings in 1998, he suffered the first blemish on his record when a December bout with Dillon Carew ended in a third-round technical draw.
Corley suffered his first defeat in March 1999, a shocking 10-round split decision to Daniel Lujan (13-7-2 going in). In a wildly exciting bout, Corley won four of the first five rounds. Lujan came back and floored Corley early in the ninth. Both boxers were hurt later in the session, and Lujan was all but out on his feet in the 10th and was lucky to survive the round. At the finish, Lujan got the disputed decision when two judges saw it 95-94 with the remaining scorer in favor of Corley 96-93.
In a career-best performance three starts later, Corley won a 12-round split decision over Ener Julio to capture the United States Boxing Association junior welterweight title on Sept. 24, 1999. Performing in front of his hometown fans, Corley out-pointed Julio, who went on to become the World Boxing Organization junior welterweight champion. Two judges favored Corley 117-110 while the remaining judge gave it to Julio 115-111.
Corley won all four of his starts in 2000 by knockout. He began 2001 by exacting some revenge against Carew by winning a 10-round decision.
Corley was tapped to fight North American Boxing Organization and North American Boxing Association junior welterweight champion Felix Flores, a Puerto Rican fighting out of the Felix Trinidad stable and trained by Papa Trinidad, for the vacant WBO junior welterweight title. Flores had been scheduled to face champion Ener Julio, who was stripped of his title after cataracts were discovered in his eyes during a pre-fight medical screening the week leading up to the fight. Corley was all too happy to step in for this first world title shot.
Flores had floored the crafty veteran Sharmba “Little Big Man” Mitchell in a losing effort in 2000, so nobody expected this to be an easy fight for Corley. In actuality, it was Corley who was seen to be coming in at a disadvantage after taking the fight on just days notice.
Corley sensed early in the first round that Flores was not adjusting well to his southpaw style. He seized the opportunity and landed a crushing right uppercut that dropped Flores midway through the initial round. Corley knocked Flores down again shortly thereafter, and referee Jay Nady wisely ended the punishment at 2:49, just before Corley was about to send Flores down for the third time. Chop Chop had become a world champion.
Corley welcomed a re-match with Julio after the Colombian’s vision problems had been corrected by surgery. Julio had always claimed he was the victim of a hometown decision when the two met in Washington, D.C., in 1999. Chop Chop wanted to put an exclamation point on his first victory and earn the right to face the other 140-pound world champions. Their second meeting took place at Miami Jai Alai on Jan. 19, 2002.
Always a slick boxer, Corley stunned Julio with a powerful straight left that sent him to the canvas in round two. Corley dropped Julio again in the third round, this time with a right, but the challenger survived the round. It became apparent by the fifth round that Corley had progressed as a fighter while Julio seemed to be fading.
Julio tried to brawl with Corley for the remainder of the fight, and it became evident that Corley had increased his power-shot arsenal, appearing more comfortable than ever in their power-shot exchanges. In the end, the judges gave Corley a unanimous decision with scores of 119-105, 118-107 and 117-107.
Corley then agreed to face the top knockout artist in the sport, Randall Bailey, on Jan. 4, 2003, in Washington, D.C. All of Bailey’s 26 wins had come by knockout, and the only fighters able to best him had been Julio and the tough Cuban Diosbelys Hurtado.
Chop Chop’s boxing skills caused fits for the headhunting Bailey, and Corley walked off with a lopsided unanimous decision.
Never one to duck a challenge, Corley jumped at the chance to face another one of the sport’s best in Zab “Super” Judah in Las Vegas on July 12, 2003. Corley was up against one of the fastest and most fleet-of-foot boxers in the game.
While Corley displayed fine skills and landed his fair share of the punches, Judah had the edge in punching power. Judge Duane Ford favored Corley 115-113, but Michael Pernick preferred Judah 115-113 as did Chuck Giampa at 115-112.
The non-stop string of fights against top-notch competition continued when perennial pound-for-pound king ”Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr. decided to move up to the 140-pound limit to face Corley on May 22, 2004, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Corley entered the ring wearing shredded battle fatigues and a gas mask. He tested Mayweather’s chin in the third round with an overhand left that staggered Mayweather.
In the fourth round, Corley appeared to receive another boost when Mayweather appeared to hurt his always-tenuous right hand.
Chop Chop stung Mayweather again in the fifth round with a big right followed by a left that buckled Mayweather’s knees. For a moment, it appeared Corley was about to achieve what many felt was impossible. Mayweather appeared to be out on his feet, but Mayweather rallied and appeared to score a knockdown when Corley went to one knee following a barrage of punches. Referee Benji Estevez ruled that Corley had been pushed down by Mayweather.
Mayweather appeared to score another knockdown in the sixth round, but Estevez ruled that Corley had slipped. Pretty Boy finally got his knockdown in the eighth round with a left-right combination that was preceded by a double right uppercut that stunned Corley. He went down again in the ninth round from a blistering five-punch combination that must have taken all of two seconds to deliver.
Mayweather went on to win a unanimous decision, but Corley had earned his respect.
“Chop-Chop was tough, a solid fighter,” Mayweather said after the fight.
After rebounding with a win over Darryl Tyson, Corley traveled to Bayamon, Puerto Rico, on Feb. 26, 2005, to take on the up-and-coming champion Miguel Cotto, a native of the island and the owner of Corley’s former WBO belt.
Corley surprised the heavy-handed Cotto from the outset by standing toe to toe with the young lion. Corley paid for this strategy when Cotto landed a right just 30 seconds into the fight that sent him to the canvas. Cotto unleashed a torrent of blows on his wounded foe, but the experienced Corley responded with shots that buzzed Cotto.
Round two started with Corley deploying his boxing skills to confuse Cotto, who uncharacteristically kept his hands low, causing him to be hit cleanly by the Washington D.C. native. Corley responded by throwing an unintentional low blow that caused referee Enrique Quinones Falu to forego the normal initial warning in favor of a point deduction. Cotto augmented his problems by underestimating Chop Chop’s power.
Perhaps trying to make up for lost ground, Cotto came out punching in round three where he was caught by a devastating right cross that landed squarely on his temple. The young champion was hurt badly and the hometown crowd watched in horror as their star’s legs turn to spahgetti. While Cotto’s mistakes got him into trouble, he did have the wherewithall to tie up Corley, saving himself from a knockdown or knockout.
The fight had reached a fever pitch heading into the fourth, when just after the one-minute mark, Corley landed an unintentional low blow. Cotto recovered after a few seconds and indicated to the referee that he was ready to resume. Falu suddenly decided, again without a warning, to deduct a point against Corley, apparently feeling that if hadn’t warned Cotto earlier, he couldn’t warn Corley at this point.
Cotto landed a huge left hook midway through round five that wounded Chop Chop. Cotto responded with a punching barrage that penetrated through Corley’s guard. Finding himself in dire straits, one of Corley’s gloves touched the mat precipitating a standing eight count.
Once the action resumed, Corley, still stunned from the previous assault, found himself in deep trouble. The veteran wisely chose to take a knee in an attempt to regain his strength. Falu stunned everyone by waving off the action, leaving all to wonder what would have happened had the match continued.
Corley dropped a unanimous decision to the once-beaten Brit Junior Witter in a hard-fought battle in London, England, on Sept. 15, 2006.
At the 16th edition of the WBA’s KO Drugs Festival charity event on May 12, 2007, Corley met up-and-coming Nicaraguan puncher Jose Alfaro (who became a world champion in Germany on Dec. 29, 2007) in Managua.
Chop Chop got off to a strong start, flooring Alfaro in the first round. Alfaro survived the round and was able to come back in the match and stop Corley in the eighth round.
In his last appearance, Corley met Dairo Esalas on Nov. 30 in Tampa, Fla. It was a spirited effort by both fighters in a close fight. Corley ended up on the short side of an eight-round split decision. Two judges favored Esalas 76-75 while the third judge preferred Corley by 76-75.
“I felt I had done enough to win,” Corley said after the fight. “In my heart, I know I won that fight but two of the judges didn’t see it my way. It was close.”
Corley’s favorite all-time boxers are “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker.
“If I could do just half the stuff Sugar Ray could do, such as knock a person out going backwards, I would be happy,” he said. “Hagler was just an all-around great, a hard-hitting fighter who had very few losses. In addition, he took very little punishment in the ring. Whitaker, he was quick and slick and just didn’t get hit.”
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