Outside looking in, this July 11 fight is the most meaningful of Luis Collazo's 15 year pro career.
He meets Keith Thurman July 11, on ESPN, in Florida, and a loss to the Floridian Thurman, it could be a neon sign that it's over.
No shame in that; man has been doing this for more than half his life, boxing. He's won a crown, acquitted himself well against solid boxers.
But he's not into entertaining those thoughts. I asked the 36-6 Brooklyner, back from two weeks of dialed in training in Puerto Rico, if he sees the Thurman clash as an ultra crossroads fights, or no…
“I've been in bigger fights with bigger names,” the 34-year-old smart boxer told me. Indeed; like his last outing, he met Amir Khan. Bigger name than Thurman (age 25; 25-0 with 21 KOs)….Ah, but that one didn't go to his liking. I was present, and I saw top tier Khan in action. Collazo, a lefty who sets traps, counters, sometimes leads, he gave himself a C plus in that fight. Physically, he told me, he felt solid, but mentally, not as much. Weight issues a few days before bothered him, he said. But all credit is due Khan, he's looking onward, upward, forward.
“That wasn't me,” Collazo told me. “Those that know me, know that wasn't the real me.” The real LC will be present against WBA welterweight champion Thurman, he said. Thurman is a good boxer, has good pop, Collazo noted, and he sees that Thurman is being pushed to a rare status, is being seen by some as a superstar in the near future, maybe the top building block in the PBC stable.
All good, says Collazo. He will use that as fuel. “That's OK, it's my job to beat him. I'm not looking for no handouts. I'm going to bring that belt back to Brooklyn.”
I poked for a hint of the gameplan, asked Collazo what I will be seeing in the first few rounds July 11 which will indciate he will pull the upset on the #PBConESPN card.
“Not the same fighter as the one who fought Khan,” he answered. “And I want to give thanks, Mike, to the doubters and the fans.”
Yes, he mentioned doubters first; he uses their critiques as extra motivation, he said, and that fuel will build a fire and people can see the result on July 11.
“I love the doubt,” he said, in closing.
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