Video: Paulie Malignaggi shares his thoughts on the Victor Ortiz-Luis Collazo fight and style matchup.
Ortiz-Collazo will happen three days before the NFL’s Super Bowl, which will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., less than an hour drive from Brooklyn.
"This is a damn good fight and probably the hardest fight to pick on paper so far this year," states Matt Richardson of Fightnews.com. "I truly don't know what either fighter has left at this point.
An all-action fighter who is scheduled to compete the day before his 27th birthday, Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 knockouts) will be ending a 19-month ring absence, having been cast for a role in the third installment of Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables and participating in Dancing With The Stars during his time away from the sport.
"Victor Ortiz' penchant for drama has led to a role in The Expendables and spot on Dancing With The Stars. On the stage, it works. In the ring, it doesn't," states Norm Frauenheim of THE RING magazine and www.15rounds.com. "If there's an encore of his well-documented ring drama against Luis Collazo, Ortiz can start full-time work on what appears to be a second career."
“I was in the gym hitting the bags with mettle plates in my mouth and my mouth wired shut four days after the injuries,” said Ortiz, referring to his right jaw.
“The doctor said, ‘Don’t make your heart pump when you’re like this.’ He said, ‘Just trust me.’ I ignored him of course. I went into the ring. Eight, nine, 10 rounds later, I’m like, I was gushing blood in my mouth, and I was like, ‘Oh, I get it.’”
But Ortiz has been going to war since June of 2009, when he was dropped twice during a fight in which he scored three knockdowns of his own before suffering a sixth-round stoppage loss to Marcos Maidana as 140-pounders.
Ortiz then reeled off four straight wins, three of them by stoppage, including a third-round knockout of ex-beltholder Vivian Harris in September of 2010 that followed a unanimous decision win over former titleholder Nate Campbell in May of that year.
Following a majority draw with current IBF 140-pounder beltholder Lamont Peterson in December of 2010, Ortiz debuted as a 147-pounder and dethroned Andre Berto as WBC titleholder by unanimous decision. There were four knockdowns in Ortiz-Berto — two by each fighter.
In his next fight in September of 2011, however, Ortiz lost the belt by fourth-round knockout to Floyd Mayweather Jr. before facing Lopez.
"If it's true that the brutality of boxing diminishes its participants and renders them less effective tomorrow than they were yesterday, then perhaps Victor Ortiz is a fighter in need of a time machine," states Jeffrey Freeman of www.KODigest.TV.
"Back-to-back knockout losses have left the former WBC welterweight champion a beaten man, both physically and mentally. After 19 months off to heal from a shattered jaw, broken at the hands of light-hitting junior welterweight Josesito Lopez, one has to wonder how much 'Vicious' Victor really has left and how much he's capable of bringing to the Barclays Center against perennial gatekeeper Luis Collazo."
Collazo, 32, split-decisioned Jose Antonio Rivera for the WBA's 147-pound belt in May of 2005 and stopped Miguel Angel Gonzalez in the eighth-round of his first defense in August of that year before losing the title to Ricky Hatton in a disputed unanimous decision after being floored in the first-round in May of 2006.
From there, Collazo went 3-2 with two knockout wins over his next five fights, falling by unanimous decision to Shane Mosley and Berto in February of 2007 and January of 2009, respectively.
"Luis Collazo never seems to get a break," states Tom Gray of RingTV.com. "For this reporter, he bested both Berto and Ricky Hatton, despite coming up short on the scorecards."
Collazo has gone 5-1 with three knockouts victories since then, and is 3-0 with one knockout since falling by 10-round unanimous decision to Freddy Hernandez, who dropped him in the eighth round in October of 2011. Before winning a unanimous decision over Alan Sanchez in Texas in his last fight in September, Collazo won two straight, with each of the wins taking place at Barclays Center.
"It's not that Collazo is significantly more skilled, it is just that his style of fighting could get rough, and that's not where Ortiz wants to be," states Andreas Hale of KnockoutNation.com.
"Collazo seems to be still upset about his controversial decision loss to Andre Berto in 2009 and, despite being upset by Freddy Hernandez, has remained busy and proven that he's physical enough to derail any hype train."
Whether or not Hale is right remains to be seen, however, he is one of the 17 boxing insiders polled by RingTV.com, below, as to their thoughts on what will transpire in Ortiz-Collazo.
Victor Ortiz UD 10 Luis Collazo: There's never any telling which Victor Ortiz will show up, much less one who hasn't fought in 19 months.
Assuming he's at full strength, this seems like the type of fight where Luis Collazo is once again forced to play the bridesmaid role.
The decision will be disputed in some circles, but the end result being Ortiz reemerging in the welterweight mix.
Record: 2-1 [Garcia TKO 10 Burgos]
Draw: This is a fascinating matchup and a terrific main event for basic cable. I think both former welterwieght titleholders bring considerable experience, talents and tools to the matchup and I believe they will mesh in an evenly fought and entertaining contest. Ortiz has youth, size, speed, power and brute physical strength on his side. However, he's been inactive and he's never been the most consistent or level-headed boxer out there. Collazo, on the other hand, is unflappable. He has strong resolve that backs up a busy, fluid, savvy boxing style. I think Collazo, who has been active in recent months, will outbox, outmaneuver and outwork Ortiz to an early lead, but when Ortiz strikes, he'll live up to his "Vicious" nickname and hurt the 32-year-old veteran. Collazo's heart, experience and Brooklyn pride will enable him to survive and fight back, but I think Ortiz will close strong once he's knocked some rust off, and he will likely score at least one knockdown. Collazo will win the majority of rounds, but Ortiz's superior power will be the equalizer.
Record: 1-0 [Pascal UD Bute]
Victor Ortiz TKO 8 LUis Collazo: Victor Ortiz' penchant for drama has led to a role in The Expendables and spot on Dancing With The Stars. On the stage, it works. In the ring, it doesn't. If there's an encore of his well-documented ring drama against Luis Collazo, Ortiz can start full-time work on what appears to be a second career.
Ortiz can only beat himself against the competent, yet journeyman-like Collazo. One question is whether Ortiz can discipline his abundant energy and emotion. If he can't, Collazo will frustrate him, distract him and force him into doing something dumb. A bigger question is Ortiz' surgically-repaired jaw. How will he react the first time Collazo lands?
The guess is that the jaw will withstand anything Collazo throws at it. There's just not enough power in Collazo' punches to make Ortiz second-guess himself in his first bout since suffering the injury 19 months ago. That will embolden Ortiz early and propel him to an overwhelming stoppage in a later round.
Record: 3-0 [Last pick: Garcia TKO 10 Burgos]
Luis Collazo W 10 Victor Ortiz: If it's true that the brutality of boxing diminishes its participants and renders them less effective tomorrow than they were yesterday, then perhaps Victor Ortiz is a fighter in need of a time machine. Back-to-back knockout losses have left the former WBC welterweight champion a beaten man, both physically and mentally.
After 19 months off to heal from a shattered jaw, broken at the hands of light-hitting junior welterweight Josesito Lopez, one has to wonder how much "Vicious" Victor really has left and how much he's capable of bringing to the Barclays Center against perennial gatekeeper Luis Collazo. The feeling here is not much.
Yes of course, Ortiz should win, and he desperately needs to win. But he won't. Collazo will out-hustle a rusty Ortiz early to take control of the contest, and the popular Brooklyn brawler will then out-fight him late to secure the biggest win of his hard luck career. Keep an eye open also for the possibility of Ortiz fouling out when he realizes that Collazo won't fold up as easily as he'd like him to.
Record: 3-0 [Last pick: Garcia TKO 10 Burgos]
Luis Collazo W 10 Victor Ortiz: I will take Luis Collazo. Victor Ortiz has been busy dancing and acting. I can barely remember the last time he fought.
Luis Collazo SD 10 Victor Ortiz: I've swayed one way, then the other in this attractive all-southpaw matchup, and finally gone with the home fighter. I’ve followed Victor Ortiz since he turned professional, and although the Kansas native possesses undoubted talent, there are clear mental frailties.
Marcos Maidana-agate, Floyd Mayweather-gate and more justifiably Josesito Lopez-gate tragically diminished the former champion's finest hour against Andre Berto in 2011.
On the other hand, Luis Collazo never seems to get a break. For this reporter, he bested both Berto and Ricky Hatton, despite coming up short on the scorecards. Collazo is due a change of fortune. I think he can earn a split-decision in New York.
Record: 2-1 [Last pick: Garcia UD 12 Burgos]
Luis Collazo UD 10 Victor Ortiz: Victor Ortiz hasn't won a fight since April of 2011. Let that sink in for a minute. He was well on his way to losing a decision to Floyd Mayweather before he made the fatal mistake of hugging him. Then he had his jaw broken by a smaller Josesito Lopez. Beating Andre Berto honestly doesn't mean much because Berto was never all that good to begin with.
Fighting somebody who constantly has a chip on his shoulder like Collazo is either going to prove that Ortiz is back or send him directly to retirement. I'm going with the latter. It's not that Collazo is significantly more skilled, it is just that his style of fighting could get rough, and that's not where Ortiz wants to be.
Collazo seems to be still upset about his controversial decision loss to Andre Berto in 2009 and, despite being upset by Freddy Hernandez, has remained busy and proven that he's physical enough to derail any hype train. I just don't see Ortiz keeping it together for 12 rounds as Collazo immediately tests his chin and tries to impose his will on a guy with a questionable heart who hasn't fought in nearly two years. Too many questions for Ortiz for me to pick him to win this fight against a solid all-around boxer.
Record: 3-0 [Last pick: Garcia TKO 8 Burgos]
Victor Ortiz UD 10 Luis Collazo: This is a huge moment for Luis Collazo, who'll fight in his hometown against a high-profile opponent. He'll box well enough to make some rounds tough to score.
But the motivated, stronger Victor Ortiz will earn a close win in just his second fight since Floyd Mayweather knocked him out more than two years ago.
Record: 3-0 [Last pick: Garcia TKO 10 Burgos
Victor Ortiz UD 10 Luis Collazo: This is an interesting matchup, crossroads fight, "loser leaves town" type of thing. Victor Ortiz is the X-factor in this one. Don't know what he'll bring to the table. A long layoff, injury and lots of other interests add to the mystery.
Luis Collazo is pretty much a given: Solid skills and a real professional. However, I think Luis is in a slow, although not severe decline. His boxing abilities should be enough for him to make it a puzzle, but you've got to have a real punch to trouble Victor.
That won't be the case. Ortiz is young enough to fight through his rustiness, and wear down Collazo. He'll do enough to hammer out a solid, although not spectacular victory by decision
Record: 2-1 [Last pick: Garcia UD 12 Burgos]
Victor Ortiz W 10 Luis Collazo: When last seen in the ring 19 months ago, Victor Ortiz suffered a broken jaw against Josesito Lopez. Prior to that, after apologizing multiple times to Floyd Mayweather, he dropped his hands. Mayweather dropped him for the count. Luis Collazo won both his fights in 2013. Neither of his opponents were ranked in the top 10. Collazo is tough, but Ortiz should have just enough speed to win by close decision.
Record: 3-0 [Last pick: Garcia TKO 11 Burgos]
Luis Collazo W 10 Victor Ortiz: This is a damn good fight and probably the hardest fight to pick on paper so far this year. I truly don't know what either fighter has left at this point. I do know this, however: Luis Collazo has been fighting, and winning, and Victor Ortiz hasn't.
Collazo has fought three times recently while Ortiz hasn't fought since June 2012 and hasn't won a fight in almost three years. He's really just a part-time fighter these days and that's probably going to be a big factor in this fight.
Anything can happen in an Ortiz fight, and often does. But barring the unforeseen, I just think Collazo will be slick enough and smart enough to keep his career alive with a close but clear decision in a very good fight.
Record: 2-0 [Last pick: Garcia late TKO Burgos]
Victor Ortiz UD 10 Luis Collazo: I am giving Victor Ortiz a slight edge in this one, but I think it will be a very competitive fight. Luis Collazo definitely shouldn't be overlooked, but I feel Ortiz will find a way to pull this out.
Victor Ortiz W 10 Luis Collazo: I'm not sure where to go on this. It feels like Luis Collazo is old but he's not. He's only 32. He's tough, he's cagey. But he's always struggled with speed and he's not been a big puncher.
Victor Ortiz, for the flaws he has, has speed and explosiveness. If he still wants to be a fighter, and one would assume he does, this is a back against the wall moment akin to the Berto fight. I think he brings that game and wins a decision with some tough moments.
Record: 2-1 [Last pick: Garcia W 12 Burgos]
Victor Ortiz UD 10 Luis Collazo: Victor Ortiz is a giant question mark after a 19-month hiatus from the ring. The talent is there, but will his mind and heart be? Luis Colazzo also has spent time away from the sport.
And recent victories over marginal opponents don't prove much. I think Ortiz, a better all-around fighter who probably will enter the ring hungry, wins a competitive fight.
Record: 3-0 [Last pick: Garcia KO 8 Burgos]
Luis Collazo UD 10 Victor Ortiz: I'm going with Luis Collazo on a unanimous decision victory. I think he will use his boxing skills and angles to stay one step ahead of victor Ortiz for most of the night.
Record: 3-0 [Last pick: Garcia KO Burgos]
Victor Ortiz W 12 Luis Collazo: I'm picking Victor Ortiz here because of his power edge. With Ortiz, if you can't hurt him then you can't get his respect. It's my guess that Luis Collazo won't be able to hurt Ortiz significantly enough to alter his game plan. I'm picking Ortiz by a decision.
Record: 2-1 [Last pick: Garcia UD 12 Burgos]
Victor Ortiz UD 10 Luis Collazo: Victor Ortiz hasn’t fought in 19 months, since badly breaking his jaw. He will be rarin’ to go. I believe his long break will be good for him. Ortiz had some bad luck — mixed in with a little stupidity — in his last two fights — but I expect him to fight smartly this time.
This is a battle of southpaws, and Luis Collazo has never been able to beat top competition. This will be no different, even though it’s in his birthplace of Brooklyn. Ortiz’s power and freshness will make the difference.
Record: 0-0 [Last pick: Garcia TKO 9 Burgos]
Victor Ortiz TKO Luis Collazo: This fight for either man — if lost — is the end of the line in his career. Victor Ortiz is a great talent and could have had much more in his profession if it wasn't for his mental makeup.
Luis Collazo has all the basic fundamentals to beat most welterweights on a good night, but the influential flair against the heavy-handed Ortiz may be too much, leaving the heavily-tattooed Collazo examining his future vocation. "Vicious" Victor Ortiz TKO's Luis Collazo inside of 10 rounds.
Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Pascal TKO 11 Bute]
The experts give Victor Ortiz the edge by the margin of 11-to-6 (with one draw prediction) to defeat Luis Collazo in a clash of southpaw former welterweight titleholders.
Video / Bill Emes