Boxing returns after a month-long layoff and it is a nice lead-in to boxing in 2009. Welterweight champion Andre Berto will defend his title this Saturday night on HBO against his toughest opponent to date, Luis Collazo. Collazo is a former champion but is best known for nearly handing Ricky Hatton his first loss when Hatton moved up to welterweight.
Andre Berto vs. Luis Collazo (WBC Welterweight Title)
Money Line: Berto -550; Collazo +350
Andre Berto is young and strong, yet despite being a world champion remains mostly untested in terms of world championship level opponents. Berto defeated Miguel Angel Rodriguez to win the title vacated by Floyd Mayweather’s retirement. Rodriguez’s involvement in that fight was a joke. Berto has beaten welterweight gatekeepers like Cosme Rivera, David Estrada, and Steve Forbes but Luis Collazo will be the toughest opponent he has faced to date.
Luis Collazo is a solid fighter but he hasn’t obtained a big W for his fight resume either. In addition to his narrow loss to Hatton, Collazo also lost to Shane Mosley. Collazo isn’t the type to shy away from a bad start and is an excellent opponent for Berto. This fight is a “big-fight” measuring stick for Andre Berto. If he can score a KO of Collazo then big fights will come later in the year. If he loses or doesn’t win convincingly, expect his team to keep hand-picking fighters. Berto is only 25 and there is no need to rush him into trouble.
Trent: Collazo is here for a reason. He doesn’t have scary power and his chin is fragile enough for Berto to catch him. If Hatton can put Collazo down at 147 then Berto certainly should be able to. I see this as a coming-out party for Berto. His combination of power and speed is frightening and this fight will serve notice to the rest of the welterweight division. Collazo is game and won’t back off, which is why Berto will knock him out in the 9th round.
Corey: Luis Collazo is going to be a great test for young WBC Champion Andre Berto. I see Berto winning this one by unanimous decision, but I think it will be fairly close (somewhere around 115-113 or 116-112). Perhaps a knockdown will prove to be the difference. Ricky Hatton and Shane Mosley both dropped Collazo in his two biggest fights, so the speedy Berto should be able to do the same if Collazo gets overanxious. Depending on how impressive he is will determine if he’s ready to be taking on the other 147lb champions in 2009 and 2010. A knockout certainly means he’s ready to be stepping up against the likes of Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley or Paul Williams.
Tags: Andre Berto, Boxing, Luis Collazo