Keith Thurman steps back in the ring for a second time this year in a stay busy fight against Luis Collazo. The undercard fight matches unbeaten prospect Tony Harrison versus Willie Nelson and it may end up stealing the show. Most think Thurman will win so how will he do it may be the more fitting question. Can Keith accomplish what no one has been able to do Collazo and that is a win by knockout?
This Saturday night marks the debut of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN in primetime for what will amount to two-plus year’s worth of monthly installments. With the Friday Night Fights series on ESPN2 gone will ESPN’s stronghold in sports trickle down to help the visibility of boxing? The lack of visibility in the sport has hurt boxing greatly and the only time it’s mentioned on Sportscenter is an event involving Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquaio. Or it makes headlines from current or former fighters getting in trouble.
And of course a chorus of “boxing is dead” theme can be heard throughout the networks vast array of TV and radio shows. Instead of a simple scroll for boxing news on the bottom line fighters and their stories will get some much needed attention in the lead-up to PBC fights on ESPN. In the last week alone I’ve seen a Keith Thurman interview and a 3-4 minute special with him and Teddy Atlas talking about his first trainer whom past in May 2009.
ESPN does a great job telling athletes stories which creates interest and a reason to care or watch. A 3 minute-clip during Sportscenter may not seem like much but that combined with more pre and post fight coverage could make a difference.
Now, let’s move on to the fights for this Saturday night with Thurman vs. Collazo topping the bill for the #PBConESPN. Fresh off a dismantling of the normally durable Robert Guerrero, Keith Thurman eyes a chance to send a clear message to the welterweight division. The problem is Luis Collazo won’t just be along the ride and surely the grizzled vet will have a few tricks up his sleeve. Collazo may be over the hill but he still represents a threat to Thurman with his crafty southpaw stance.
It’s no easy task to look “great” against Collazo just ask Amir Khan and Andre Berto. Luis may set a slow pace and smother Thurman in an attempt to take away his power and increase the possibilities of Thurman making a mistake. It’s been a few fights since Thurman has been chin-checked and fighting in front of a home crowd may distract him enough for Collazo to capitalize.
Keith Thurman seems to be more comfortable on the move or in the center of the ring rather than coming forward. If Collazo can bring the heat early on in the fight he could catch Thurman with something big while still trying to warm up. If the action is slow, the boo-birds might influence the hometown kid to push forward which could be a big mistake.
Beyond that Keith should win the majority of rounds and the fact that he has shown patience in recent fights tells me his head will be on straight and focused on victory instead of searching for a KO. The southpaw stance can take a few rounds to adjust to but once that time comes expect smart pressure by Thurman. The body will be a key for Keith to help breakdown Collazo who has been thru the ringer a few times but never stopped.
Many boxing fans and some scribes have dogged this fight but I don’t mind it one bit. As long as the year ends with Keith Thurman in another top level matchup it is good that he is staying busy against a quality gate keeper type guy like Collazo.
This fight should have some two-way moments in the first 4 rounds or so as Thurman feels out Luis. At that point the action will pick up but my guess is that it will be all Thurman and it wouldn’t be shocking if this fight ends in TKO. A full-on butt whipping from the start that ends in a KO would surprise me. I see Collazo hitting the canvas at least “One Time” and ultimately coming up short.
My official prediction is Keith Thurman by Unanimous Decision.
Side Note: Don’t miss the Co-Feature on ESPN between Tony Harrison and Willie Nelson which is sure to feature plenty of bombs! Harrison looks the part of a hard-hitting junior middleweight but hasn’t been tested just yet. We should get a good measurement on where he stands facing a guy in Willie Nelson who has the skills and length to keep Tony at bay. The problem is Nelson doesn’t normally use his natural reach and tends to mix it up which should equate to a fun fight! Harrison UD or Late TKO
Also, after the ESPN card checkout an equally matched fight between Mauricio Herrera and Hank Lundy on HBO Latino. There will no doubt be some slow spots with two counterpunching type guys who like to establish themselves on the outside first. With that said both guys are somewhat busy for their styles anyway, so I do expect a competitive bout. Herrera MD
2 more fights to keep your eye on will be Terry Flanagan and Jose Zepeda from the UK and Donnie Nietes vs. Francisco Rodriguez!
Written by Chris Carlson Owner & Host of Rope-A-Dope-Radio blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio
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