By Jake Donovan
If all goes as planned, then by the end of Friday evening the boxing world will bear witness to what one manager in particular knew all along would be the case – that Alexei Collado is one to watch out for in the future.
“From the moment I saw Alexei, I knew he had ‘world champion’ written all over him,” insists Henry Rivalta, COO of Rivalta Management, and who was instrumental in bringing the unbeaten super bantamweight to Iron Mike Productions.
Collado makes his Showtime-televised debut when he headlines a Shobox tripleheader Friday evening in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. The Cuban-born boxer faces local favorite Rod Salka in a scheduled 10-round super featherweight contest.
The bout comes a couple of divisions above Collado’s comfort zone, although the 26-year old and his team – which includes manager Patrick Thomas - have prepared for such occasions. Traditionally a super bantamweight, Friday’s contest marks Collado’s fourth straight bout at 130 lb. or above, gradually increasing the competition level with each ring appearance.
Salka (18-3, 3KO) comes with local flavor, his team having even promoted several of his bouts in the Pittsburgh-area, adding to what can potentially serve as an uncomfortable situation. Collado and his team don’t seem particularly concerned.
“The weight doesn’t affect Alexei; he has added muscle to his body, which is normal for boxers,” promises Rivalta, whose working relationship with Collado is based strictly on personal friendship prior to getting him signed with Acquinity Sport – now Iron Mike Productions – in 2013. “I see Alexei being very strong at this weight, and a knockout win wouldn’t surprise me.”
The bout marks just the fourth time Collado – based out of Cork, Ireland – fights stateside. He is coming off of an eight-round points win over Edgar Riovalle this past February in Bethelem, Pennsylvania. The plan is to keep the rising prospect active in 2014 and then hopefully set sights on a forthcoming world title shot at anywhere from 122 lb. to 135 lb.
“We must beat Rod Salka first, but (IMP CEO) Garry Jonas has greats plans to Collado,” Rivalta indicates. “I think we will see him fighting often to move up in the rankings, and the hope is to get a title fight perhaps before the end of 2015.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox