By Cliff Rold
The week’s big events began with a knockout and most expect another before Saturday is done. Luis Collazo reshaped his place on the Welterweight landscape with a one-punch shocker against Victor Ortiz. It wasn’t a surprise Collazo won. The way he did it was.
There will be no surprises if WBA/IBO Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin ends matters early in his latest foray. It’s what he does. The surprise will be if he can finally culminate his chase in 2014. Lineal Middleweight king Sergio Martinez has a big paying event ahead this summer with Miguel Cotto. If he wins there, will he accept the challenge from his number one threat?
Will he behave as a champion should?
Time will tell.
Let’s go the report cards.
Pre-Fight: Speed – Victor Ortiz B+; Luis Collazo B/Post: B+; B+
Pre-Fight: Power – Ortiz B+; Collazo B-/Post: B+; A
Pre-Fight: Defense – Ortiz C; Collazo B/Post: D; B+
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Ortiz B; Collazo B+/Post: C; A
Beginning with Thursday, it will still be remembered as one of the best knockouts of the year at the end of 2014. The right hook Collazo landed to end Ortiz’s night, and maybe his time as a serious force at Welterweight, was a special punch. It was the sort of shot whose impact can be seen immediately, forcing anyone watching to their feet in the awe great punches deliver.
It will also be remembered as one of the happiest endings of the year no matter where Collazo goes from here. Collazo has been so close in the past to a breakthrough. Many thought he beat Ricky Hatton in 2006 and Andre Berto in 2009. Had those night’s gone his way, Collazo’s life and career would have gone differently.
Instead, they were the sort of near misses that leave fighters toiling and vulnerable to off night’s they might not deserve to be in. The fighter who battled Hatton and Berto probably wouldn’t have lost to Freddy Hernandez in 2011. It’s hard to keep getting up when tomorrow looks so far away.
Tomorrow arrived Thursday night and Collazo finally had a moment no one could take from him. Rarely a devastating puncher, he threw the right shot, the right way, at the right time. Collazo KO2 Ortiz.
Just like that, Collazo is a factor at Welterweight again. While he called for an unlikely Floyd Mayweather fight (though it can be said he looks like a better challenge Amir Khan), his more realistic hopes probably lie in title shots at Shawn Porter (IBF) or Keith Thurman (WBA). Both of those would be fan friendly and perhaps Collazo’s happy ending is only beginning.
For Ortiz, this is a disaster. One can wonder if he really even wanted to get up in round two. He never tried and was clearly buzzed but it was wondered before the fight if this is really what he wants to do. Three fights in a row he’s been stopped and he looked like a live wire from jump. Ortiz was a flurry of wasted motion throughout, even as he landed some whipping body shots.
When he’s in the ring, it’s not hard to see what had so many excited. The speed is there. The power is there. The complete fighter isn’t. Ortiz will likely be in the ring again. His handlers need to take a few steps back and rebuild him from the base.
From a fighter who doesn’t seem able to harness the gifts God gave him to a fighter who uses his to devastating effect.
Gennady Golovkin is back (if not on US TV) on Saturday.
Title: WBA/IBO Middleweight (2010-Present, 9 Defenses - 2011-Present, 7 Defenses)
Previous Titles: None
Height: 5’10 ½
Weight: 159.4 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 159.4 lbs.
Hails from: Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany (Born in Kazakhstan)
Record: 28-0, 25 KO
Rankings: #1 (BoxingScene, TBRB, Ring), #2 (ESPN, BoxRec)
Record in Major Title Fights: 9-0, 9 KO (10-0, 10 KO including interim title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 1 (Kasim Ouma TKO10)
Title/Previous Titles: None
Weight: 159.25 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 159.9 lbs.
Hails from: Joliet, Illinois (Born in Ghana)
Record: 22-3, 16 KO
Record in Major Title Fights: 0-1
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 2 (Roman Karmazin TKO9; Daniel Geale L12)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Golovkin B; Adama B
Pre-Fight: Power – Golovkin A; Adama B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Golovkin B; Adama B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Golovkin A; Adama B
Adama has never been stopped and, while few expect him to win, one can wonder if he’ll be the one to take Golovkin the route for the first time in a title fight. The reasons he might are the same as why he likely won’t win. When he lets his hands go, Adama can be quick and fires in bunches. The problem is he often fights only in spots. In those spots, he can be wide open. Adama has good head movement but he’s either on defense or offense. In his title loss to Daniel Geale, Adama looked like he should be in the fight but he couldn’t maintain an offense.
Golovkin moves fluidly between both offense and defense and he will exploit the holes Adama leaves when he opens up. Adama has been down before. Golovkin will put him there again. Until he can get the marquee opponent he craves, all Golovkin can do is set them up and knock them down. He will do it again this weekend, but Adama will have some moments and last longer than most.
Let’s say Golovkin with a KO after nine.
Report Card Picks 2014: 5-2
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com