Jr. Middleweight Angel Ruiz scored a sixth round knockout of forty-one year old former longtime Welterweight contender Luis Collazo on Wednesday night at the Pro Box Events Center in Plant City, FL. From the opening bell Ruiz put Collazo, who was fighting for the first time in more than two years and who took the fight on two weeks notice, on the defensive. It appeared for a time that Collazo may have been in danger of being stopped early as Ruiz swarmed him with offense and Collazo did not appear to have his balance and was not throwing punches back. Collazo however, showing the veteran instincts that made him a difficult fighter to take on for many notable fighters of his generation was able to withstand the assault and eventually find his footing.
In round two, Collazo seemed to be able to find somewhat of a rhythm as he was able to connect with short combinations, particularly to the body of Ruiz as well as held his own in the midst of heated exchanges of punches between the two fighters. Just as it seemed as though Collazo was in the process of building momentum as he was starting to out work and back Ruiz up in the third round, Ruiz responded by landing two left hooks to the head that sent Collazo down to the canvas. Collazo was able to get up, but would have a second knockdown ruled against him when Referee Chris Young ruled that the ropes held Collazo up as Ruiz followed up with a barrage of punches in an attempt to finish the fight, but Collazo was able to survive the round.
As he had done numerous times throughout his career, Collazo tried to fight on and, despite having some moments particularly in the fifth round in landing combinations on Ruiz, it would be the strength and the youth of the twenty-five year old Ruiz that would start to be the difference as any time he was able to connect cleanly, it hurt Collazo. The end would come in round six when a hook to the body of Collazo sent the longtime contender down on his hands and knees unable to beat the count. Official time of the stoppage was :32 of round six. Collazo announced his retirement from the sport after the fight.
Angel Ruiz advances to 18-2-1, with 13 Knockouts. Luis Collazo falls to 39-9, with 20 Knockouts.
Also on this card:
Unbeaten Welterweight Vadim Musaev scored a first round stoppage of previously undefeated Martin Alvarez. A short counter left hook to the head sent Alvarez down in the opening round. Alvarez was able to beat the count, but got up on very unsteady legs and was in no condition to continue resulting in the fight being stopped. Official time of the stoppage was 2:03 of round one. Vadim Musaev advances to 6-0, with 3 Knockouts. Martin Alvarez falls to 7-1, with 6 Knockouts.
In a battle of undefeated Jr. Featherweights, Jose Salas pounded out a ten round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Prince Dzanie. This fight saw several heated exchanges of offense throughout, but it was the greater volume of punches, ability to attack in short, but explosive spurts, and movement of Salas in addition to his being able to score a knockdown of Dzanie late in the ninth round that resulted in him earning a convincing unanimous decision victory. Official scores were: 100-89 (On all three scorecards) in favor of Salas. Jose Salas advances to 12-0, with 9 Knockouts. Prince Dzanie falls to 23-1, with 19 Knockouts.
Undefeated Cruiserweight Robin Safar scored a fifth round stoppage of veteran DeShon Webster. The bout was stopped after the completion of round five. Robin Safar advances to 16-0, with 12 Knockouts. DeShon Webster falls to 12-7-3, with 6 Knockouts.
In some ways, the end of Luis Collazo's career, if it is indeed the end as he nears his forty-second birthday on April 22, is in line with the way many fighters and those who are able to have long careers in the sport eventually end theirs. By fighting a fighter that is in a way a younger version of themselves. Collazo, who began his career in 2000, eventually earned Interim/Regular champion status in the World Boxing Association's (WBA) Welterweight ratings in his career, but as a slick and crafty southpaw boxer with good hand speed and lateral movement, he was able to give difficult fights to many great fighters including, but not limited to Ricky Hatton, Andre Berto, and Keith Thurman among others over the course of a twenty-three year career and as seems to be the case for a lot of veterans in the sport, he was also on the losing side of some decisions that a lot of people, this observer included, who has covered many of his fights over that time, felt should have gone his way.
Despite the setbacks and due to the politics that be in the sport, never getting beyond holding an interim/regular champion designation, Collazo has always represented the sport well and is a credit to Boxing and a good example to young fighters as to how they should approach their careers. In Angel Ruiz, Collazo faced a fighter that in some ways was reminiscent of himself in his prime and if Collazo has truly hung up his gloves, he has nothing to be ashamed of because he as always gave a good account of himself and approached the end of his career the same way he has since he began it, by fighting till the end.
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