Keith Thurman Stops Luis Collazo; Calls Out Floyd Mayweather

By Joseph Santoliquito Jul 11, 2015
It was hard to believe as Keith Thurman moved, jabbed, and attacked former world titlist Luis Collazo that “One Time” was the fighter with the handicap on Saturday night, on the Premier Boxing Champions debut show night on ESPN/ESPN Deportes, from the USF Sundome, in Tampa, Florida.

But according to ESPN’s Teddy Atlas, the ringside color analyst for the PBC telecast, Thurman had hurt his left hand in training. And during the 12-round welterweight fight, Thurman at times used his left jab as a range finder, sometimes pawing with the jab than throwing anything substantial behind it. So Thurman, using a lot of right-hand leads, was basically fighting with one hand.

You couldn’t tell.

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One Time remained undefeated at 26-0 (21 knockouts) when the fight was stopped after the seventh round of the scheduled 12-round WBA title fight when Collazo (36-7, 19 KOs) retired after he told his corner he couldn’t see due to a cut on his right eyelid. The official announcement called it over at :01 of the eighth round.

“It was a great fight,” Thurman said. “This performance, we trained hard for this fight. Luis Collazo, I have to give him credit. He caught me with a great body shot. Luis Collazo has been a huge underdog his whole career, and he fought like a true champion, so did I.”

As for Floyd Mayweather, Thurman said “I’m a young, strong champion, come and get it. Come and take my ‘0.’ I beat this fighter, I can beat any fighter.”

Thurman overcame a little scare in the fifth round. Collazo nailed him with a left to liver, which clearly hurt Thurman. One Time doubled up, but had the wherewithal to grab Collazo and survive the round. It was the only round Collazo won.

“The first round (in the fifth round) the cut happened, I was fine,” Collazo said. “The second round, when he caught me with another clean shot (sixth round) opened up the cut (on his right eyelid). I caught him with a liver shot in the fifth. I’m not going to say (Thurman) is a great fighter, but he has a ways to go.”

On the main co-feature, Willie Nelson remained relevant in the junior middleweight division with a sudden, dramatic ninth-round upset stoppage over the previously undefeated Tony Harrison (21-1, 19 KOs). Until the ninth, Harrison had been dominating the fight, using short, accurate punches, negating Nelson’s height advantage and was basically more active.

But that changed near the end of the ninth. Nelson (24-2-1, 14 KOs) had waded in, feinted, pulling Harrison forward left, and Nelson landed a looping right on top of Harrison’s head. The 24-yaer-old wobbled backwards and was clearly in trouble. Nelson then followed up with a straight right through Harrison’s guard, sending him to the canvas for the first time in his pro career.

Referee Frank Santore Jr. reached the count of eight, and as Harrison got on his feet, it was obvious Harrison was out on his feet. Santore waved it over at 2:57 of the ninth.

“I was just taking my time being patient,” Nelson said. “I still have a lot more to work on in letting my hands go. I have to give credit to my coach (new trainer Brian Schwartz). He told me to feint and go with the right hand. I don’t know what this will do for my career. Since everyone is jumping on the Floyd Mayweather bandwagon, give me him, too.”

Harrison, who came with over-the-top panache, wearing sun glasses into the ring, was still stunned minutes after he lost.

“I trained my ass off for this fight; I let the anxiety get to me,” he said. “This is a guy I shouldn’t have lost to. It was a shot behind my head. I listened to the ref clearly. I thought I got up enough in time. I was winning the fight. I was trying too hard with every shot. It’s a lesson learned.”

Nelson had looked good in spurts, but nothing prolonged. In the eighth round, both fighters were booed by the capacity-filled Sundome crowd. Harrison was far more active throughout the fight, ahead on Sherdog’s scorecard after eight rounds, 78-74.

Joseph Santoliquito is the president of the Boxing Writer's Association of America and a frequent contributor to's mixed martial arts and boxing coverage. His archive can be found here.


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