'Stealth Mode': Brooklyn's Luis Collazo - Under The Radar, But Above The Rim
06.10.08 - By Vivek Wallace: Boxing's welterweight division is arguably the deepest in the sport. Despite the absence of Floyd Mayweather jr., the division has barely lost a step as WBA Champ Antonio Margarito, IBF Champ Joshua Clottey, WBC Champ Andre Berto, and WBO Champ Paul Williams have all given fans much to rave about. In the midst of that group there are a few others names that remain prominent, starting with the aging Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Kermit Cintron, and perhaps even Carlos Quintana.
Article posted on 06.10.2008
Lost in the shuffle - and presumably not concerned or surprised about it - is one of the more defensively gifted fighters that division has to offer, and the fact that he's a southpaw makes him that much more dangerous. Boxing politics are partly the blame for the somewhat recent inactivity of Luis Collazo, but listed as the WBA and WBC mandatory, needless to say he won't remain behind the scenes too much longer.. As defined, the word "Stealth" is a weapon with the ability to go undetected and cause major damage. Mission accomplished on phase one. For Luis Collazo, phase two now begins!
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Luis Collazo about his future in the sport. Here's an unedited glimpse into that chat:
VW: Hey Luis, what's good bro? Prior to your fight on the Mosley/Mayorga undercard you were a little quiet. For the fight fans out there who heard the media speculation, clear that all up by telling us what kept you out of the ring during that period?
LC: Basically politics. We couldn't secure a fight. We attempted to get Miguel Cotto, that didn't pan out. We went after a few other guys, that didn't materialize either, so I just kept busy and stayed in shape waiting for another door to open.
VW: During that period of inactivity, I understand you did some pretty intense sparring with Paul Williams. Tell me what that was like.
LC: It was great. We have a mutual respect for one another. It was pretty intense and you could see the results manifest, he KO'd Quintana in the first round. What's unfortunate about this business is that we're pretty cool, but he has what I want, and in this sport sometimes you have to cross paths with people you don't necessarily want to cross paths with, but it happens.
VW: The WBC has listed you as the mandatory for Andre Berto. You were recently on the undercard of the Mayorga/Mosley fight with him. What are your thoughts on Andre Berto?
LC: I think he's a talented kid. Quick, slick, he's a great counter-puncher like myself. I think it'll be a good fight. DiBella doesn't seem too interested in making the fight happen but I'm listed as his mandatory so sooner or later it has to happen.
VW: Any idea on when that fight may materialize, if at all?
LC: I assume after December, maybe January sometime, but I'm gonna stay in the gym and stay ready because for whatever reason, with my luck, I always get the last minute phone call. I learned from experience about that many times before so I won't let that happen again.
VW: When you fought both Hatton and Mosley I think those fights really opened the eyes of fans out there about you and your talents. I can understand why some fighters have chosen easier paths as far as opponents go, but for some odd reason, the media I think has failed to give you the respect that you warrant as a very talented fighter in this deep division. Why do you think that is?
LC: I've always been under-appreciated and under-rated. The media never gave me the respect I truly deserved which is why I have to go out there and get it in the ring. Critics are gonna be critics, and if you're not one of those fighters constantly calling out someone, you don't tend to get the props you really deserve. At this stage it doesn't bother me because I know whether the media calls my name or not, the men who are supposed to be fighting me know well who I am.
VW: Welterweights today are much bigger, vertically, than they have been in a while. Did the fight camp with Paul Williams help you figure out the tricks of the trade behind fighting those kind of guys?
LC: To be honest, I feel much more comfortable fighting guys that size. I don't know why. But I adapt well regardless. Working with Paul - considering his height and punch output - it certainly helped. Margarito is great but if he doesn't wanna face Paul Williams, the WBA just listed me as his mandatory as well, so I told his crew at the fight the other night we can make it happen. Miguel Cotto is a great fighter, but he's not too slick defensively and I knew because of that he would probably get walked down late in the fight and that's exactly what happened. I'm not a stationary target, and my stamina's never been an issue, so I think if given the chance I could do it the way it was supposed to be done.
VW: Providing you successfully get past Berto for the WBC strap, what does the future hold for Luis Collazo looking forward in '09?
LC: Margarito, Clottey, Williams, whoever. Listen, the welterweight division is the deepest division in the sport. What we all need to do is get together and make these fights happen and just give the fight fans what they want!
VW: In closing, what words do you have for the fight fans out there?
LC: I just want to thank each and every last one of you for supporting me over the years. Right now it's my time to shine and I'm preparing to do it in a major way so keep showing the love and stay tuned.
After this 15 minute chat with Collazo, two things became abundantly clear: He's ready to seize the moment, and there's no better time than the present. He may remain under the radar in the minds of some, but in true highlight fashion, his next statement may prove why he's considered by most to be a man who plays above the rim.
(ESB would like to thank Luis Collazo, and P.R. Guru, Ed Rosa. Fight fans who want to contact Luis Collazo, you can do so by going to www.myspace.com/loucollazo)
(Got Questions or Feedback: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@Yahoo.com and 954-292-7346, or show him some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)
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