By Jake Donovan
Alexei Collado came into the month of July expecting his career to take off. He instead will remain on the sidelines having not fought since making his stateside debut March.
The unexpected downtime is forced upon the unbeaten featherweight prospect, who is anxious to make a splash in the United States. Collado (16-0, 15KO), born in Cuba and temporarily based in Ireland before his most relocation to Miami, was being position to advance to contender, or so he thought when approached with the opportunity to face top 130 lb. contender Juan Carlos Burgos later this month.
The opportunity was offered after Burgos’ original opponent, former title challenger Daulis Prescott pulled out due to a bout with kidney stones. Burgos’ handlers went on the hunt for a replacement for the July 26 ESPN2-televised bout, at which point Collado immediately answered the call.
“My promoter Henry Rivalta came to me and told me that Burgos was looking for an opponent, that (Prescott) pulled out. He asked me if I would be willing to move up in weight and fight on short notice. I told him yes, and was led to believe the fight was mine,” Collado recalled.
Suffice to say, the 25-year old was disappointed and disgusted when he found out through the media that Burgos’ team accepted a different opponent as the replacement. Now taking the place of Prescott is Yakubu Amidu, an unheralded journeyman from Ghana who has lost two straight. His last win came nearly two years ago and has never beaten anyone of significance.
The matchup is a significant dropoff from original opponent Prescott, who was coming off of a title fight loss to Nicholas Walters late last year.
A matchup with Collado would have been the perfect replacement in terms of significance. The winner would be celebrated as a bona fide contender to any of the current super featherweight champs, an avenue Collado was willing to explore despite his current standing as a rising featherweight.
“We discussed the fight with Burgos’ team and I thought my kid had it. But in the end, it just didn’t work out that way. These things happen in boxing,” said Henry Rivalta, Collado’s promoter, who declined further comment when asked to expand.
The presented opportunity to face Burgos came on the heels of Collado losing out on a spot on last weekend’s Telemundo-televised card in Tampa. Collado fought on the network this past March, destroying Juan Jose Beltran in a round in a fight that served as his first in the United States after having fought exclusively in Ireland and England.
However, his second Telemundo appearance was scratched due to failure to secure an opponent willing to face the former amateur standout.
“I’m the one that would have been moving up in weight, taking the risk,” Collado states. “I don’t get how we agreed to the fight, then they can just say they’re fighting someone else.”
Collado will now explore other avenues in order to get back into the ring without having to endure too much of a gap between fights. Inactivity has been his only hindrance thus far, fighting sporadically through his first four years as a pro before sitting out all of 2012.
His return to the ring this past March was met with rave reviews, but largely based on his in-ring potential. Not having anyone available to stand in the other corner doesn’t help his immediate future, though he believes this to be the reason why he’ll be watching Burgos on TV next weekend rather than sharing ring space.
The working theory is that with a win, Burgos will be maneuvered towards the winner of the near-finalized 130 lb. title fight between Rocky Martinez and unbeaten Mikey Garcia.
“I guess if I was him, I’d do the same thing,” Collado theorizes. “He’s scared, plain and simple. But I’ll give him credit; he is smart. Ducking me will allow him to move towards another title shot.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America.