LOS ANGELES – Oscar Collazo proved his readiness for a 105-pound title shot in just his fifth professional fight Saturday.
The Puerto Rican southpaw defeated former WBA and WBO minimumweight champion Victorio Saludar by unanimous decision in their 12-round WBA elimination match on the Ryan Garcia-Javier Fortuna undercard at Crypto.com Arena. Collazo (5-0, 3 KOs) dropped the Philippines’ Saludar in the seventh round, overcame a flash knockdown about 30 seconds later and beat Saludar comfortably on the cards of judges Raul Caiz Sr. (118-110), Rey Danesco (116-112) and Pat Russell (116-112).
The younger, fresher Collazo was more active and landed the flusher punches for most of their bout, but Saludar showed resilience after Collazo dropped him during the seventh round. Saludar (21-6, 11 KOs) has lost by knockout or technical knockout twice in his nine-year career, but he took Collazo 12 rounds for the first time in the 25-year-old contender’s career.
Prior to his victory Saturday, Collazo hadn’t boxed beyond the sixth round in any of his first four pro bouts.
There were several instances when it appeared Collazo hurt Saludar, including when he knocked Saludar into the ropes with a right hook toward the end of the ninth round.
Just before the midway mark of the seventh round, Collazo hurt Saludar with a left to the body that made Saludar step backward, toward the ropes. Saludar didn’t defend himself, which enabled Collazo to hit him with several punches that sent him to the canvas.
Collazo tried to finish him, but Saludar caught him with a right uppercut that caused a flash knockdown with just over a minute remaining in the seventh round.
A left hand by Collazo also backed Saludar into the ropes with approximately 1:20 to go in the sixth round. Two rounds earlier, Colllazo’s left hand knocked Saludar off balance 1:10 into the fourth round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.