Before January 30th, 2014, Khan vs Collazo would have been dubbed a mismatch. It seemed Luis Collazo (35-5, 18 KO) was fading into obscurity. His days spent in the limelight, which included strong performances against Ricky Hatton, simply seemed like a lifetime ago. Though remaining active and clocking up wins, big opportunities were elusive.
But all that changed when he added his own shocker to boxing’s recent upsets: a 2nd round knockout of Victor Ortiz. Collazo’s solid, no nonsense performance showed he was still a threat at Welterweight, and a thousand miles away from hanging up his gloves.
Khan vs Collazo: Mayweather in Sight
Meanwhile, Amir Khan (28-3, 18 KO) received some bitter news. Floyd Mayweather had decided to fight Marcos Maidana, the Argentine slugger who recently ripped the WBA Welterweight strap from Adrian Broner. It turned out Maidana vs Broner equaled Mayweather vs Maidana – with Khan left out in the cold.
Had Mayweather been dangling a carrot in front of Khan? Oh, absolutely. But hardly a tear was wept when the fight collapsed; most fans felt Khan’s fast-tracked bout with boxing’s pound for pound king would have been utterly unwarranted. Especially since he’d never beaten a legitimate contender at Welterweight – let alone actually fought at 147 pounds.
Khan’s stubbornness to face another fighter while negotiations were taking place would cost him over a year of inactivity. A small price to pay at 27-years-old perhaps, but even fighters as popular as Khan should treasure their short time in boxing.
With Maidana now set to fight Mayweather on May 3rd, Khan suddenly had to find a new opponent. And a tasty compromise was soon served: Mayweather Promotions offered him a fight on Mayweather’s undercard.
Khan accepted immediately, embracing the lofty consolation prize that could act as a stepping stone to a future Mayweather clash. So keen was Khan to land the dream fight that he even signed with Mayweather’s manager Al Haymon, one of boxing’s most successful and influential people outside the ropes.
So now the stage for Khan vs Collazo is set. Can Khan win? And how does he go about doing it?
Khan vs Collazo: Khan Keys to Success
First off, Khan can win this fight. He is more than capable, given his speed, timing, and ability to pick off opponents. But as Khan’s fans and detractors already know, the fights he is usually sure to win on paper don’t always work out. Or go quite to plan.
Though possessing a great boxing brain, it’s Khan’s bravado that often seems to take over in important fights – especially if he’s hurt or tagged with a hard shot. At this point he switches from boxer to slugger; not the worst thing if you’re trying to win fans over with warrior spirit, but not the greatest if you’re trying to consistently win fights.
Against Danny Garcia, Khan was out-boxing the man beautifully for the first couple of rounds. But as Khan entered the 3rd, so did his overconfidence. Yes, perhaps Garcia was always going to land that big counter eventually, but Khan overstaying his welcome in the pocket didn’t help avoid the concussive blow. Instead of sticking strictly to a game plan, his pre-fight animosity for Garcia – or more likely his father Angel – took over.
This is an emotional Khan that cannot be allowed to show up come May 3rd. He must concentrate on the task at hand, simply get the win and nothing else. If a knockout comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, then he’s best off sticking to a rigid game plan. Mayweather may only be sticking around for another couple of fights after Maidana – but this should be far from Khan’s thoughts.
If Khan tries to over impress, he may get tagged by Collazo, a bona fide Welterweight who can bang. And given Khan’s susceptibility to be wobbled, getting his chin checked here isn’t something he needs – or will necessarily take too well.
Another reason to be cautious is that this is Khan’s first fight at 147. Needless to say, the guys at Welter are bigger. And an aggressive veteran like Collazo will not be rolling out a welcome mat; he will be throwing hard shots from the opening bell.
Khan vs Collazo Shouldn’t Be Overlooked By British Star
Khan’s ‘future right to fight Mayweather’ aside, let’s take a look at why Collazo is a dangerous opponent. Yes, he’s no light puncher, and is a true Welter and so forth. But he’s also a 33-year-old fighter who has rebooted a sagging career with an astounding win over Ortiz. In other words, Collazo is an old cat looking to claw his way back into the big time while he still can. His urgency couldn’t be greater.
If Khan beats Collazo, he likely won’t be considered a great Welter, nor will he necessarily be given the keys to Mayweather. But if Collazo beats Khan – a household name – it will increase Collazo’s stock tenfold.
If Collazo is honest with himself, he probably knows a Mayweather clash will never happen, so that’s probably not his main drive. His goal is to beat Khan and get enough big fights in before he retires a few years from now. And that doesn’t seem impossible. Beating Ortiz and then Khan – now that really would get promoter’s chins wagging.
Given the many factors going into Khan vs Collazo – and the unexpected drama witnessed in recent undercards – this could well turn into another fascinating co-feature.
Let us know your take on how this matchup plays out in the comments below!
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