PHILADELPHIA – Veteran welterweight Luis Collazo, 38 and a former WBA beltholder who lost his title to Ricky Hatton 13 years ago, is now 39-8 (20) after losing a technical decision to 17-0 Uzbek Kudratillo Abdukakhorov.
It was halted after 2:03 of the 10th and final round following an accidental clash of heads that left Collazo sporting a horrid cut in his right eyelid. He had been cut above the left eye earlier in the fight.
The scores were wide in favour of Abdukakhorov; 99-91, 97-93 and 98-92.
He made a strong start and began working away at the old champion’s body, stepping around to the side as Collazo covered up to weather the attacks.
Luis came in with his hands high, making Abdukakhorov work to keep him off.
In the second round it seemed he’d decided he would make a fight of it by walking through whatever came his way but Luis was cut over the left eye for his troubles.
He gunned forwards in round three, landing a hard left that won Abdukakhorov’s respect, meanwhile he dropped his hands and challenged the unbeaten prospect to meet fire with fire.
Abdukakhorov had a knot over his left eye as the pace dropped for a round and the Uzbek was becoming a harder target in round five. Collazo was consistently aggressive though not always effective while Abdukakhorov was sharpshooting off the back foot.
The New Yorker appeared hindered by an injury to his left arm through the middle rounds. He tried to shake it loose, there was talk of an injury to his biceps and he launched the left only sparingly and rarely with the kind of malice required to control Abdukakhorov.
Still, it remained competitive. Collazo tried to let his left hand go as the 10th and final session commenced but seemed to only hurt it more and kept it by his side for a while and then came the head clash. Collazo was in agony.
The doctor came in to inspect him it was soon called off.
“Hey, it is what it is,” said Collazo, who was on his way to hospital. “This is part of the sport. We’ll see what’s next.”
“I am the IBF No. 1 contender,” said the winner. “I would like to fight for the title fight next. I wanted to fight Errol Spence Jr., but unfortunately, he got in a car accident. I wish him a speedy recovery, and if he’s ready to fight soon, I would like to fight him. If he has to vacate the title, then I will fight whoever they put in front of me. Collazo is a great champion, and it was a pleasure for me to showcase my talent for the American audience. It was a tough fight, and this experience will serve me well as I continue my journey.”
Michael Seals is a problem for anyone at 175 pounds, particularly if he lands cleanly on them. It took him a little more than 90 seconds to put away Santiago’s Elio Trosch in the show opener at the Liacouras Center.
Seals put Trosch over in the first and when the Argentine tried to make it back to his feet he stumbled groggily into the ropes and it was waved off. A short left hook had clipped him on the chin and sent him flat onto his back with his arms out beside him. Time of the stoppage was 1-38 of round one. Atlanta’s Seals is now 24-2 (18), Trosch falls to 14-9-2 (7).
It took Puerto Rico’s Josue Vargas a couple of rounds before he began to pull away from game Denver man Johnny Rodriguez.
Once he put some daylight between them, though, the gap grew further still and he won widely, 80-72 on all three cards.
Southpaw Vargas, ‘The Prodigy’, was sharp from the get-go, looking to land to the body with short right hooks while setting up straight lefts.
Rodriguez, tough and defiant, enjoyed success behind his right hand early in round two as the action opened up.
Vargas employed his better footwork to stay out of trouble as the fight wore on and Rodriguez looked more one paced, eating the odd jab or lead hook on his way in.
Denver’s Rodriguez tried to drag the smoother Vargas into the trenches through round five but Vargas had found a rhythm, scoring with his left in the sixth.
He wasn’t putting a dent in Rodriguez – who kept moving forwards – but Vargas was slick without being spectacular. He wasn’t shipping damage and was more relaxed as the later rounds approached.
Vargas poured it on in the seventh, seemed to hurt Rodriguez to the body and for the first time had his man trapped in reverse. It was a hard round for Rodriguez and the referee was looking closely at him but he made it through. Rodriguez survived the next, too, though Vargas had put the decision well beyond doubt by then.
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