Brooklyn welterweight Luis Collazo went to Jose Rivera’s hometown Saturday night and engaged in a 12-round battle at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA that Showtime probably wishes they had bought from Don King productions. The cable channel only paid for the cruiserweight unification bout between WBA champion Jean-Marc Mormeck of France, and Wayne Braithwaite of Brooklyn.
While Braithwaite came up short in his title bout, fellow Brooklynite Collazo snatched the WBA regular welterweight championship from Rivera. In case you're a new fan of boxing, a couple of years ago, the WBA decided to create two titles in the same division anytime a WBA champion acquires the belt of another major sanctioning body. The WBA gets away with it by calling one the “super” championship and the other the “regular” championship.
Even still, Collazo, 25-1 with 11 KOs, came up big and managed to get the nod in Rivera’s hometown. Collazo won a split decision by scores of 115-113 (twice) and 113-115.
The fans that packed the arena and came to see their man Rivera, 37-4-1 (24), chanted “Bullsh_t, Bullsh_t,” following the decision. Some in the press row were split on who deserved to win. Rivera, upset over the loss, said he wants to meet Collazo in the ring again.
However, Collazo, picked as a late replacement for Thomas Damgarrd, doesn’t feel a second meeting is needed.
“It doesn’t deserve a rematch,” said Collazo. “I came in with two weeks notice. Imagine if I trained for eight weeks. It would be no contest.”
Rivera claimed Collazo ran for twelve rounds. “I forced the fight,” he said.
Collazo said Rivera might have forced the fight “but he didn’t do anything.” Collazo admitted he was a little nervous about a close fight going to the hometown fighter, but he wasn’t too worried.
“I was boxing him too good,” said the tattoo friendly Collazo.
While half the people in Collazo’s dressing room were proclaiming him a world champion, including WBA regular junior middleweight champion Travis Simms, and yelling at the top of their lungs, Collazo remained much cooler than everyone else, despite the victory he just earned. Perhaps he knows that to be considered the real welterweight champion, he’s got to take the undisputed welterweight championship from Zab Judah in an all-Brooklyn matchup. Possessing the WBA regular title makes Collazo the eventually due mandatory contender for Judah.
Collazo must be commended. He seemed not to get caught up in all the hype and also proved a gentleman. After everyone passed around the WBA belt in his dressing room and the mandatory post-fight photos were taken, Collazo handed the belt back to one of his buddies and said, “Give the belt back to Rivera.”
If you haven't seen the footage yet, you're nuts.
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