Saturday night at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida, unbeaten Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs), from Clearwater, Florida, successfully defended his WBA World welterweight title by stopping Luis Collazo (36-7, 19 KOs), from Queens by way of Brooklyn, New York, forcing the former champion to quit between the seventh and eighth rounds.
Thurman was as fast and athletic, as serious and skilled as usual. But Collazo, an underdog past his prime, proved to be tougher than anyone expected.
Collazo knew better than to trade with Thurman. He moved around the ring, using his veteran’s wiles to keep away from the champion. The lack of urgency in the opening rounds was a taste of things to come.
Collazo is not only eight years older than Thurman. He’s also more shopworn and fought accordingly. “One Time” was mostly landing single shots, jabs, lead rights, hooks to the head and body, but even his combinations failed to elicit the reactions which they perhaps deserved.
Thurman’s fought carefully. He fought thoughtfully. He was picking his spots. He was making Collazo miss. Thurman got the better of his opponent, causing his eyes to swell and discolor, and eventually bleed, but he has a dangerous tendency to leave himself open when he punches, which a younger, more skilled fighter will exploit if given the chance.
Thurman was too fast, too athletic, too in his boxing prime for Collazo. It wasn’t that Collazo was out of it, per se, as much as he was busting up without doing any significant busting in return.
The fight was one-sided, but in the fifth something strange happened. Collazo saw an opening and landed a beautiful left hook to the body that hurt Thurman and bent him in half. The champ went into survival mode. He managed to avoid getting nailed again, but the man who’d been anointed as the “next big thing” looked vulnerable.
Thurman resumed his assault. Collazo’s face was a mess. He had his moment, but his moment had past.
Between rounds seven and eight there was much ado in the challenger’s corner. Cut, dinged, bruised and discouraged, Collazo was asked by the referee if he wanted to continue. He said, “I can’t see.” The ref asked, “Do you want me to stop it?” Collazo replied, “I can’t fight.”
It was over. The challenger had quit on his stool. Keith Thurman retained his WBA title.
Keith Thurman vs. Luis Collazo can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r54gUTtly-I
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.