Berto decisions Collazo

By Francis Walker
Updated: January 19, 2009

WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto is shown here with boxing trainer Andre Rozier. Berto survived a tough 12-round decision against mandatory challenger Luis Collazo. Photo Credit: Christy Cappillino

WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto is shown here with boxing trainer Andre Rozier. Berto survived a tough 12-round decision against mandatory challenger Luis Collazo. Photo Credit: Christy Cappillino

NEW YORK — Andre Berto (24-0, 19 KOs) barely retained his WBC welterweight championship after twelve grueling rounds with mandatory challenger Luis Collazo (29-4, 14 KOs) at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, MS on Saturday.

All three judges scored the bout 114-113 (twice) and 116-112 for Berto, who successfully defended his welterweight championship for the second time.

“Collazo is a tough customer,” Berto said. “He’s a slick southpaw and he caught me with a few shots. I had to bite down and show everybody that I had a beats in me. It was a close call.”

Berto survived an early scare in the first round when Collazo nearly dropped the champion and sent him hard into the ropes. The 25 year-old came back at the end of the first and nailed the challenger with a barrage of punches to the excitement of the capacity crowd.

Berto was proved uncomfortable handling Collazo’s southpaw style. The champion held and clinched Collazo a lot and was docked one point for excessive holding in round four.

Heading into the bout, Collazo, 27, Brooklyn, NY, a former WBA welterweight champion, was best-known for his two losses against Ricky Hatton and a resurgent Sugar Shane Mosley.

Although Collazo has a tendency to lose his concentration, he has good speed, he’s tough, and can box well out of a southpaw stance. A lot of boxing gym rats believed that Collazo is a heavier puncher than what is professional record indicates.

Collazo proved to be the toughest opponent in Berto’s young four-year career. He gave Berto all he could handle for 12 rounds. Many believe that Collazo may have pulled it out and should have won a decision.

Berto’s power punching may have been the difference in the contest. Collazo may have boxed and frustrated Berto like none other, but Berto’s aggressiveness and that fact that he did win the final round of a close fight proved to be the difference. Well, at least in the eyes of the judges at ringside.

Sadam Ali wins first professional bout

NY Giants running back and Super Bowl champion, Brandon Jacobs poses with 2008 U.S. Olympian and professional boxer Sadam Ali. Photo credit: Christy Cappillino

NY Giants running back and Super Bowl champion, Brandon Jacobs poses with 2008 U.S. Olympian and professional boxer Sadam Ali. Photo credit: Christy Cappillino

In the non-televised portion of the Berto-Collazo undercard, 2008 U.S. Olympian and lightweight prospect Sadam Ali won his first pro contest. Ali knocked out Ricky Thompson at 1:42 of the first round.

The victory was a positive new beginning for the 20 year-old Ali, who suffered a lopsided 20-5 point loss to Romanian Georgian Popescu in the opening round at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Ali, a representative of Brooklyn, NY by way of Yemini decent, had a very good amateur career that included a Junior Olympic title, a PAL National title, a U-19 National title, and two New York City Golden Gloves championships.

Gary Russell, Jr. successful in pro debut

Gary Russell, Jr. did not compete in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because he passed out before the final weigh-in due to dehydration. The incident shouldn't take away from Russell's impressive amateur career. Photo Credit: USA Boxing/Showtime

Gary Russell, Jr. did not compete in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because he passed out before the final weigh-in due to dehydration. The incident shouldn't take away from Russell's impressive amateur career. Photo Credit: USA Boxing/Showtime

Whenever an amateur boxer makes their professional debut on national television, they must be the goods.

Gary Russell, Jr., a U.S. Olympian at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, dazzled his audience at the Million Dollar Elm Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Friday by stopping Antonio Reyes in round three of a featherweight bout.

Reyes came to fight and for a handpicked opponent, he was tough. Reyes went “toe-to-toe” with Russell, but was no match for the Olympian’s combination punching. Reyes wasn’t fast enough to beat Russell to the punch.

Russell, 20, Washington, D.C., impressed his followers when he ducked underneath Reyes’ slow right hand and countered with a right hook to the jaw that scored a knockdown. The bout ended just 21 seconds into seconds into the third round after Russell landed a heavy barrage of punches.

Russell, Jr., trained by his father Gary Russell, Sr., was a celebrated amateur boxer who represented the USA Boxing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Unfortunately because of a weight-dehydration issue, Russell was unable to compete in the games.

It was a huge disappointment, but Russell’s weight struggles shouldn’t take away from his stellar amateur career that ended with a record of 163-10.

Russell is a former Junior Olympic Champion, a National Champion, and Gloves Champion, and a World Amateur Boxing Championship winner.