By Matt Lieberman: Luis Collazo is being slated for the undercard for the October 18 ESPN card headlined by Artur Beterbiev vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk unification in Philadelphia. The potential opponent for former WBA welterweight champion Collazo (39-7, 20 KOs) is Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-1, 18 KOs), according to Dan Rafael of ESPN. This is a Top Rank Boxing promoted card.
Collazo and Benavidez were on course to fight on August 17. But, a leg injury by Benavidez prevented from taking the fight. The Collazo-Benavidez fight could be back on for the Beterbiev-Gvozdyk undercard on the 18th of October. As long as Benavidez is healthy, they can fight. Collazo’s manager Keith Connolly told ESPN that the fight could be back on. If Benavidez’s leg isn’t healthy enough by October, then Collazo will face another opponent.
The 38-year-old Collazo has a three fight winning streak since suffering a seventh round stoppage loss to former World Boxing Association World welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman in July 2015. Collazo’s career has been slowed by inactivity. The main culprit is the injuries that Collazo has had to deal with. He arguably should have had three or four more additional fights during that four-year time span. Collazo’s three recent victories have come against Sammy Vasquez, Bryant Perrella and Samuel Vargas.
Collazo being groomed for Terence Crawford fight
#10 WBO Collazo could soon be challenging World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford. Top Rank boss Bob Arum seems to be interested in that match. Collazo has a name that casual Boxing fans are familiar with in the U.S. That makes him a valuable opponent for Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs). That’s why it’s important that Collazo not lose his fight on the October 17th Beterbiev-Gvozdyk card. Benavidez (27-1, 18 KOs) would be a tough opponent for Collazo to face. He gave Crawford problems last October before suffering a 12th round knockout.
The southpaw Collazo’s punching power is still as good as ever at 38. He might have lost a little bit of hand speed due to age, but his punching is still where it was in his prime. Crawford, 31, won’t be able to depend on switching to southpaw to try to befuddle Collazo, because he’s a southpaw as well. That won’t work.
Beterbiev vs. Gvozdyk unification fight greatly anticipated
Fans are looking forward to seeing IBF light heavyweight champ Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KOs) and World Boxing Council champion Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KOs) battle it out in unification. Both of these two highly talented former Eastern European amateur stars can punch with a lot of power. Beterbiev’s perfect 100% knockout percentage shows the kind of strength that he has. The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Gvozdyk will be the first knockout threat that the two-time Russian Olympian Beterbiev has faced during his short six-year pro career.
This Gvozdyk-Beterbiev fight could turn out to be a cat and mouse affair with Beterbiev needing to chase Gvozdyk around the ring for 12 rounds. Beterbiev dealt with that kind of a fighter in his controversial losses to Oleksandr Usyk in the 2011 World Amateur Championships and 2012 Olympics. Usyk moved frequently to avoid the harder hitting Beterbiev in both fights, and beat him twice by the scores 17-13. A lot of Boxing fans felt that Beterbiev deserved to have his hand raised in both fights with Usyk. It was a situation where the judges were more impressed with Usyk’s fencing style of fighting compared to Beterbiev’s pro style, which involved more power punching.