Luis Collazo comes through in Texas

September, 3, 2013
9/03/13
12:02
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Name recognition is quite a big deal in boxing. Someone like a Shane Mosley will get opportunity after opportunity, years after lesser lights would have been strongly encouraged to exit the stage and let fresher players have a turn.

[+] EnlargeLuis Collazo
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsLuis Collazo
Luis Collazo's name doesn't ring the same number of bells as Mosley, but as the former welterweight titlist -- he beat Jose Antonio Rivera in 2005 to snag the crown and had a defense against Miguel Angel Gonzalez before dropping the strap to Ricky Hatton in 2005 -- he is somebody who might be aided by his former exploits while being considered for a title crack.

But another title shot, maybe against interim welter titlist Keith Thurman or "regular" beltholder Adrien Broner, could only come soon if Collazo got past 22-year-old Alan Sanchez on Monday night. And that he did; Collazo looked like the consummate vet he is, using his superior ring generalship and superb stamina to stay fresh until the 10th and final round. After the duration of the welterweight tangle, the Brooklyn-bred Collazo, who lives in Queens, got the unanimous decision win -- scored 99-91, 98-92, 99-91 by the arbiters -- at Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio.

Collazo played the calm vet, working behind the jab, adeptly slipping Sanchez's shots in the first and second. A sharp left hand told Sanchez he needed to be aware of the off-stance boxer's backhand in the second frame. Sanchez's body work made Collazo drop his guard to protect the breadbasket some in the third. Collazo upped the aggression in the fifth, yet kept looking energized every minute of each round. A cut on Collazo's left eye didn't look too severe as he sat down after the sixth.

Three- and four-punch combos made Collazo look busy in the seventh. He kept his front foot outside Sanchez's lead foot, cutting the ring off on the kid, making him go where he wanted him to go. His experience was in effect all the way to the final round. Could Sanchez pull off a stunner turnaround KO, we wondered? Nope. Sanchez didn't have the gas left to take the bout to another place, to so much as try and overwhelm the vet with psychotic flurries.

I asked Collazo to assess his performance. "I give myself a B-minus," he said. "Sanchez was tall and long, I couldn't get my shots off the way I wanted. So I had to be smart and take whatever he gave me."

Fox Sports 1 analyst Paul Malignaggi, who has known the winner for many moons and is fond of him, as he admitted on the show, said afterward that Collazo "is on to bigger and better things." He said he "deserves a big fight; let's hope he gets it."
Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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