Oscar Collazo has been eager to race to the top ever since turning pro nearly three years ago.
Entering just his sixth career fight, the unbeaten Puerto Rican southpaw—aptly nicknamed ‘El Pupilo’ (‘The Pupil’) is determined to make sure it leads to one for a major title. Collazo will face Mexico’s Yudel Reyes in a WBO strawweight title eliminator in the opening bout of a four-fight DAZN telecast this Saturday at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California.
Headlining the show, local favorite Alexis Rocha (21-1, 13KOs) faces Ghana’s George Ashie (33-5-1, 25KOs) in a scheduled twelve-round welterweight contest.
A win will leave Collazo (5-0, 3KOs) as a double mandatory, as he is already the number-one contender in the WBA strawweight rankings. With his three-year anniversary approaching in mid-February, the hope is that his first fight in year four as a pro will come with a major title at stake.
“Every fight is big to me, but this is my second [eliminator] in a row,” Collazo told BoxingScene.com. “I fought for the WBA eliminator in my [fifth] fight, against a former world champion [former WBO titlist Vic Saludar].
“This is a huge opportunity to show that I belong with the best. It’s the night when ‘El Pupiio’ becomes the teacher.”
Collazo survived his first career knockdown to emerge as the WBA mandatory challenger following a twelve-round win over Saludar last July 16 in Los Angeles. Both fighters hit the deck in round seven, with Collazo going on to win by scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 118-110 to survive a stiff test versus championship level competition.
The win left Collazo in line to next challenge the winner of the WBA strawweight title consolidation clash between ‘Super’ champ Thammanoon Niyomtrong (24-0, 9KOs) and ‘Regular’ titlist and fellow young gun Erick ‘Mini Pacman’ Rosa (5-0, 1KO) on March 1 in Nakhon Sawan, Thailand. Such a fight is still under consideration, though the 26-year-old contender wanted to keep open his options.
It’s why he initially agreed to terms for an all-Boricua showdown with former WBO titlist Wilfredo ‘Bimbito’ Mendez, who cited a back injury as he withdrew from this weekend’s show. Mendez was replaced by Monterrey’s Reyes (15-1, 5KOs), who accepted the fight roughly two weeks ago.
“It’s a good fight. It’s going to show all my assets and work ethic,” noted Collazo. “Reyes is someone who is right in front of you and looks for a firefight. This is an opportunity to show all my skills.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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