Luis Collazo’s second-round knockout of fellow former welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz on Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., was impressive, vaulted him back into the consciousness of fight fans and certainly set him up for bigger business.
A case can be made that it was the most notable win of his career because his victories in world title bouts -- against Jose Antonio Rivera and Miguel Angel Gonzalez -- did not come against anyone with the name recognition of Ortiz, even if Ortiz was coming off an 18-month layoff and two consecutive stoppage losses.
So what might be next for Collazo, especially given that his promoter, Golden Boy, is loaded with top fighters in the 147-pound weight class?
After the fight, Collazo, who won his fourth bout in a row, called out pound-for-pound king and welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. Collazo was excited about the win, and nobody should blame him for seeking a fight with the best, one that would also come with a heavyweight paycheck.
But Collazo (35-5, 18 KOs) is not going to get Mayweather, at least not next, because Mayweather has other plans and Collazo is far from them. So, realistically, who is next?
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer is going to have a lot of say about that. When we spoke the other day, he said he was most interested in making Collazo against interim titlist Keith Thurman (22-0, 20 KOs), the 25-year-old power puncher from Clearwater, Fla., and one of boxing’s most entertaining fighters.
It sounds like an interesting fight and would certainly pay Collazo more than the $100,000 he made to fight Ortiz, who made $400,000 for what might have been his last significant purse.
“I’m going to talk to Al [Haymon, Thurman’s adviser] and to Luis’ team and see if they are interested,” Schaefer said. “I like that fight. They say styles make fights. Luis has heart and is as tough as they come. There’s no quit in him, and he’s a veteran who knows the tricks of the trade. With Thurman you have a young fighter with tremendous punching power but not the kind of experience Luis has. I think it would be a fascinating matchup.
“There are a lot of other fights I could do, but my first thing is I would love to see Thurman and Collazo. There are a lot of fights with Keith I’d like to see. Luis is a well-known name in boxing and just had a big win against Victor, so the door is open for him.”
Another fight Schaefer mentioned, but as a lesser possibility, was Collazo against Zab Judah, another former welterweight titlist, in what would be an all-Brooklyn battle.
Whenever Collazo does fight next, Schaefer said he hopes to get something squared away for him in April, May or June.
Schaefer is trying to finalize the light heavyweight unification fight between Bernard Hopkins and Beibut Shumenov, which does not have a set date yet. Schaefer said he could envision a Thurman-Collazo bout on the undercard.
The Collazo camp understands that Mayweather is not a serious possibility at the moment, so it is OK with Thurman, according to trainer and co-manager Nirmal Lorick.
“If that’s the fight, fine,” Lorick said of Thurman. “People look at Thurman as a dangerous fighter. He can punch and box. Luis is a little more skilled, especially defensively, but I think it would be a good fight. We’ve taken on all comers.
“We’d rather fight a Floyd or a [titleholder Marcos] Maidana, but whoever. As long as the money is right, fine. You know us. We will fight anybody. But a fight with Thurman? It’s a great fight for both guys. Luis would give him a challenge, and we’d have a good fight.”