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Thursday, November 7, 2013
Victor Ortiz to face Luis Collazo

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

Victor Ortiz, in need of a new opponent after Alfonso Gomez suffered a hand injury and had to pull out of their fight next month, got a new foe Thursday in fellow former welterweight titleholder Luis Collazo, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com.

Ortiz will face Collazo in a scheduled 10-round welterweight bout that will top a card Jan. 30 (Fox Sports 1) at the Barclays Center in Collazo's hometown of Brooklyn.

Ortiz, who is coming off an 18-month layoff, had been slated to face former title challenger Gomez on Dec. 14 in San Antonio in the opening bout of a Showtime-televised quadrupleheader before Gomez suffered a freak injury late last month. He tripped while carrying his infant son, put his arm out to protect the baby when he fell and broke his hand.

Now Ortiz moves into the main event of a card that will take place in New York in the midst of Super Bowl week in the city. The game is Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., just outside of New York, and Schaefer had been planning a Brooklyn card as part of his deal with Fox, which is televising the Super Bowl and wanted a card in New York.

"Victor was disappointed when Alfonso Gomez had to pull out of their fight but now he is excited about the exposure he will get against Collazo on this card," Schaefer said. "It's tied in with the Super Bowl. For us and Victor to be part of this is fantastic. Victor is one of the most recognized names in boxing, so it's a highly anticipated comeback against another former champion.

"This is not a tuneup fight. This is a real fight, but if Victor can come back and show what he can do with Collazo, he will be right back in the middle of the mix at 147 pounds. Instead of being the fourth fight in San Antonio, he's the main event now and thrilled about it."

Ortiz, who turns 27 the day after the fight, lost his previous two bouts, a fourth-round knockout to Floyd Mayweather Jr., in which Ortiz lost his world title in September 2011, and a ninth-round stoppage against Josesito Lopez in June 2012. In the fight with Lopez, Ortiz suffered a badly broken jaw, the key reason he has had such a long layoff. During his layoff, Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., participated in "Dancing with the Stars" and filmed a role in "The Expendables 3," which comes out next year.

The 32-year-old Collazo (34-5, 17 KOs), a southpaw like Ortiz, has won three fights in a row since an upset 10-round decision loss to Freddy Hernandez in October 2011.

"I think Ortiz is a great fighter and he was champ, but he and Luis are both at the point in their career where a fight like this is very important," said Nirmal Lorick, Collazo's trainer and co-manager. "The outcome will see who goes forward. They're both capable of winning. It's a good fight for boxing. Luis is still one of the best welterweights to me. We don't duck anybody. Hopefully, after we win this one, we'll get another world title fight."

Collazo held a world title from 2006 to 2007 before losing a controversial decision to Ricky Hatton in his second defense. Collazo also lost his two other highest-profile fights, a lopsided decision to Shane Mosley in 2007 and a debatable unanimous decision to Andre Berto in a 2009 title challenge that was a brawl. Ortiz later defeated Berto to take the title.

"Luis was waiting for another big fight and has been working toward that, and now he's getting it," Schaefer said. "We brought him back [from a long layoff] when we signed him. We've kept him busy, and now he has an a great opportunity to go in against Victor Ortiz knowing that a win will lead him to even bigger fights."

With Ortiz moving off the Dec. 14 card in San Antonio, Schaefer said light heavyweight titlist Beibut Shumenov would move up from the undercard and onto the Showtime telecast to keep the quadrupleheader intact. Shumenov (13-1, 8 KOs) will be making his fifth defense when he faces Tamas Kovacs (23-0, 14 KOs) on the card that is headlined by welterweight titleholder Adrien Broner's mandatory defense against Marcos Maidana.