- Michael Woods, Boxing
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LAS VEGAS -- Luis Collazo took on a foe with maybe the best hand-speed of anyone he's scrapped with since turning pro in 2000, in Amir Khan, and the Brooklyner did his best to adapt to that at the MGM Grand on Saturday night on the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana undercard.
But the Brit Khan boxed as well as he ever has, arguably, and his sometimes iffy chin held up throughout 12 quite rugged rounds. There was no shortage of rasslin', with Khan taking the opportunity to tie up the 33-year-old whenever he got in tight, to try and land a sneaky left hook, or right cross to test the Khan chin.
Collazo (now 35-6) went down three times, and while he went to the final second looking to land the difference-maker, the judges spoke loudly, with scores giving Khan the UD, 119-104, 119-104, 117-106.
Khan (29-2) got buzzed in round eight, but said in the postfight presser that he wasn't too hurt. Collazo, down in the fourth, and twice in the 10th, looked to the ref time and again to keep Khan from holding but he wasn't able to keep the Brit from that tactic.
His trainer, Nirmal Lorick, told me Collazo broke his right hand in round five. "And the referee didn't help things," he said, speaking of Vic Drakulich. "The ref sucked."
Paul Malignaggi, who fought Khan in 2010, and helped call the fight on Showtime pay-per-view, told me that Khan does a lot of holding and pushing down on the head on the inside, and Khan does what he can do, what he can get away with, to secure the win. "He knows how to win rounds, simple as that," he said.
My take: Khan, frankly, surprised me with how fluid he was, how smartly he stuck to the game-plan, how well he avoided firefights. Basically, Collazo was fighting A-grade Khan, and we've seen a lot of lesser grade Khan in recent years. Bad luck for Lu, really. Khan has been listening and absorbing what trainer Virgil Hunter has been teaching the last couple fights, they have jelled, and that didn't help Collazos' chances.