CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
Victor Ortiz, Luis Collazo battle in Crossroads fight at Barclays
A pair of former world champions will collide in a much anticipated crossroads fight this Thursday at the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn, NY. Former WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 KOs) and former WBA junior welterweight titlist Luis Collazo (34-5, 17 KOs) will headline a Golden Boy Live! Event televised on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes beginning at 9 PM/ET.
There is a strong possibility that the winner of Ortiz-Collazo could land a title shot against unified WBC/WBA junior welterweight champion Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia, who is looking for an opponent for a March 1, date.
“I’m really excited and humbled by the opportunity,” Collazo said. “I just want to give the boxing fans a great fight and a great outing. I’ve been waiting a long time for a fight of this caliber.”
Ortiz and Collazo have both done very well for themselves with the money they’ve made in the ring. Collazo has a delivery truck business, while Ortiz has invested his money in fast-food chains and appeared on Dancing with the Stars. They’ve always given fans exciting fights, but have come up short in big opportunities to become household names. Collazo came up short in a title losing effort against Ricky Hatton in May 2006, followed by a lopsided points loss to Sugar Shane Mosley in February 2007. Perhaps Collazo’s best performance was his dramatic display of slick and gritty boxing skills against Andre Berto for the WBC welterweight title in January 2009. Collazo lost a disputed decision and was never awarded a return fight.
Winner of 5 out of his last 6 fights since the Berto dispute, Collazo is admits to fighting for his future in the sport.
“This fight is for my future,” Collazo added. “I’m trying not to look past it, but this victory here means everything to me. It means I have a future. If not, I have to start all over again from scratch.”
Collazo will have his chance to reposition himself toward another world title on Thursday night if he can spoil the return of Ortiz, who is looking to reestablish himself as one of the top rising stars after having a tumultuous last several years that included losing a world title and suffering from a broken jaw.
“I’m not at all concerned about my jaw,” Ortiz said. “I feel great and I can’t wait to get in the ring. This is my first time fighting in Brooklyn and I’m excited. I don’t have any words to say, nothing bad, nothing good. I’m here for the victory.”
Ortiz was one of Golden Boy’s fastest-rising attractions. Faster than Garcia, faster than Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, faster than Adrien Broner, faster than Keith Thurman, faster than Omar Figueroa, faster than ‘Kid Chocolate’ Peter Quillin.
Ortiz was selling lots of tickets in venues in California and at one point packed the Staples Center with nearly 10,000 supporters for his challenge of interim WBA junior welterweight champion Marcos Rene Maidana in June 2009. Ortiz and Maidana engaged in a vicious exchange of punches, an all-out war that resulted in multiple knockdowns for both fighters. However, in the six round of a wild affair, Ortiz lost control of the fight, as Maidana beat him into submission by ‘quitting.’ Ortiz was labeled a quitter and it took him a very long time before he could reestablish his credentials.
Ortiz did resurrect his career shortly thereafter with quality performances against Antonio Duiaz, Nate Campbell, Lamont Peterson, Vivian Harris, before challenging Berto for the WBC welterweight championship in April 2011. Ortiz came off the floor to take the 147-pound crown away from Berto, via unanimous decision in perhaps the best fight of 2011. Ortiz had finally fulfilled the expectation of Golden Boy and those close to him that he would one day become a world champion. Ortiz’ reign didn’t last long, as Floyd Mayweather knocked him out in the fourth round to win the WBC 147-pound crown later that same year.
In a comeback fight the following year, Ortiz blew a huge payday with ‘Canelo’ Alvarez by shockingly breaking his jaw against the left hand Josesito Lopez. The fight was tougher than what Ortiz had expected and Lopez refused to back down. Once Ortiz couldn’t move his jaw, he decided that he didn’t want to continue. That was the last time Ortiz fought and it will be interesting to see on Thursday whether Ortiz will be willing to engage in Collazo, who arguably will be fighting for the rest of his career.
“I’m completely 100 percent confident,” Ortiz added. “I have no ring rust whatsoever.”
The reality is that the loser of Saturday’s fight may never again fight for another world title. It will be a battle to remember for sure.
“He can do what he wants, but I know on fight night I will be ready,” Collazo added. “If he wants to dance, I’ll be the bull. I’ve been counting down for weeks waiting patiently for this. I was motivated before getting this fight, but this has escalated my motivation.”
Tickets for Ortiz vs. Collazo start at $25 and are available through www.barclayscenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations, by calling 800-745-3000 and at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. For group tickets, please call 800-GROUP-BK. A limited number of suites are available for the event. For more information on how to reserve one, please call 718-BK-SUITE (718-257-8483). The first bout is scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM with an exciting undercard featuring undefeated prospects Eddie Gomez and 2012 U.S. Olympian Marcus Browne.
Lamont Peterson returns, retains IBF belt
IBF junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson (32-2-1, 16 KOs) returned to the win column last Saturday following a 12-round unanimous decision victory over mandatory challenger, Dierry Jean (25-1, 17 KOs). The bout was in front of 5600 at The Armory in Washington, D.C. and was the featured main event of a SHOWTIME Championship Boxing broadcast.
The win was Peterson’s first since his shocking third-round knockout loss to Lucas Matthysse at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City in May 2013.
It’s very difficult to comeback from a knockout defeat, but it has been done before. Wladimir Klitschko, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Mark Breland, Arturo Gatti, Vic Darchinyan, and most recently Manny Pacquiao have all returned from knockout losses to revive their careers. Peterson is a current example of a fighter who is trying to put the loss to Mathyssee behind him.
What a better way to respond from a loss by returning home to face a young, undefeated boxer in Jean. Peterson threw 622 punches and looked very good absorbing and dodging most of the 556 punches Jean threw. Peterson slipped punches and boxed very intelligently through twelve rounds to capture a unanimous decision.
The victory was Peterson’s second successful defense of the IBF 140-pound title he won by defeating Amir Khan in December 2011.