Friday, January 31, 2014
Collazo stops Ortiz in Round 2
By Brian Campbell
You just never know what's going to happen in a Victor Ortiz fight.
Throughout a 10-year career of highs and lows -- from spectacular knockdowns to unforgettable meltdowns -- Ortiz, a former welterweight titlist, has worn his heart on his sleeve throughout one action fight after another.
But even as unpredictable as Ortiz's biggest moments inside the ring have been, Thursday's outcome was as surprising as any his career has seen.
In his first fight since breaking his jaw in an upset loss to Josesito Lopez in June 2012, Ortiz was knocked out by one punch against veteran Luis Collazo in Round 2 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Collazo (35-5, 18 KOs), 32, who entered the fight eight years removed from his 13-month run as a welterweight titlist, is best regarded as a slick boxer who once gave then-unbeaten fighters Ricky Hatton and Andre Berto all they can handle in close, yet disputed, defeats.
One thing Collazo has never been known as, however, is a big puncher. But his textbook counter right hook at close range caught Ortiz firmly on the jaw and slowly spun him around before Ortiz took refuge on the canvas with seconds to go in the round.
"I knew that he was going to have to come out aggressively and I had to stay focused," Collazo said. "I could see the shots coming out wide. I'm not a big puncher but I'm a hooker. They say I can't punch but I guess they're wrong."
Ortiz (29-5-2, 22 KOs) failed to beat the count of referee Benji Estevez, nor did it appear as if he necessarily wanted to after succumbing to such a shocking and damaging blow.
"I got caught, no big deal. It happens," Ortiz said. "I'm just one of the fighters and I put my heart out there."
As an emotional Collazo celebrated with his back to the canvas, it wasn't long before Ortiz was back on his feet with a smile on his face. The former can't-miss prospect's uncanny ability to shake off defeat so quickly in the midst of his darkest moments is nothing new.
But this time, following a third straight disastrous defeat, the feeling of despair in terms of his career's future was deeper than ever, even if Ortiz refused to acknowledge its existence.
One day short of his 27th birthday, Ortiz's fifth career defeat brought with it a feeling of finality that his days of competing with the sport's elite are behind him. Yet, considering the unpredictable nature of the fighter in question, even a statement such as that might be hard to make with complete authority.
Regardless of what his future holds, Ortiz's fall was certainly Collazo's gain. After his career fell on hard times following his 2011 loss to Freddy Hernandez, the Brooklyn native suddenly finds himself in the midst of a four-fight win streak with an opportunity to crash the party in an already crowded welterweight division under the Golden Boy banner.
"I had no doubt in my mind I was going to win," Collazo said. "I went through hard times and maybe I wasn't ready. But today I was ready. In the locker room it hit me, all this joy and happiness. I was so excited to perform in front of my fans I grew up with here. I want Floyd [Mayweather Jr.] here in New York and I want to make it happen."