So many times Luis Collazo has been counted out and been told there were no more opportunites. WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman supposedly put an end to his career back in July of 2015 when the referee stopped the contest and that was the last we saw the 35-year old southpaw.
But boxing has always been associated with this former champion from the borough of Queens. The gym was always a routine and so was the goal to keep fighting. The Thurman loss was thought to be his last, and like so many other fighters who have been knocked down there was always one more punch.
Collazo epitomizes why boxing is that sport of another opportunity and proving the skeptics wrong and a right hook he used to knock out Sammy Vasquez Thursday night made his statement. Collazo is not finished and will attempt to be a part of the competitive class that dominates the 147-pound division.
“A lot of people say I don’t have the youth,,” he said moments after the sixth round knockout from Robinsonville Mississippi. Collazo was the main event of the PBC card that was televised nationally on the Fox/FX 1 Network.
Apparently, Collazo, 37-7 with 20 KO’s still has it. He was aggressive and there were no indications that the right hook was leaving town. Boxing experts will always say that a layoff and coming off a loss to a champion, (Thurman) spells the end but Collazo took some time and pondered the future.
With the PBC, an active management group that keeps boxing thriving, Collazo had another opportunity. Though boxing is that sport of opportunity and provides time for redemption there is that reality of age here being a factor. There is also the quest to regain a championship after holding the WBA title at one time in his career.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself,” Collazo said. “ I’m completely dedicated to this sport and ready to keep moving forward. Everyone said I was faded but now I have the opportunity to keep going.”
However to keep going, Collazo has to climb the ranks. Of course Thurman is considered the superior champion in a division that has captured the attention and there is that mega fight next month in New York that has Thurman and Danny Garcia fighting for the titles.
The chances of fighting Thurman or Garcia are slim but in boxing you never know.
More importantly this was a statement and one that goes a long way. Because boxing is that type of sport that never says quit, and if the right continues to show what it did in the ring Thursday night, Luis Collazo will continue the quest.
Many have overcome the obstacles after hearing and being told there was nothing left. And let’s face it, not many are in a class of Bernard Hopkins who continued to fight past the age of 50. Joe Smith Jr. has the distinction of putting an end to Hopkins Hall of Fame career after knocking him out of the ring in December.
Promoters have always admired the style and Collazo is a fan favorite. In the New York boxing community there has always been that respect and in the gym the first one to lend a hand is the veteran. But how much longer can this quest continue?
That is something that Luis Collazo will determine.
The quest will continue as long as the right and conditioning does not go against his age. Vasquez was knocked down twice and Collazo had a cut over his left eye in the fifth round. There was that incentive to finish the job and make that statement.
He wants more and has the PBC on his side. Collazo called out another former champion.
“There are a lot of great fights coming up in the welterweight division,” Collazo said. “ I know Shawn Porter doesn’t have an opponent right now. I’m ready to get it on if he is.”
That would be a compelling fight and another in the crossroads category.
It is boxing and you never know. But for now, Luis Collazo will take this latest win as his biggest victory because he was counted out before and age certainly was not a factor.
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