Tim Smith

Luis Collazo stops Victor Ortiz in second round, kick-starts career

BROOKLYN – Fortune finally smiled on Luis Collazo in his match against Victor Ortiz at the Barclays Center on Thursday night. More accurately Collazo took matters into his own hands. Instead of waiting for what may have been another lousy decision by the judges, Collazo brought matters to a sudden and concussive conclusion, knocking out Ortiz at 2:59 of the second round before a hometown crowd of 8,050.

“I knew he was going to come out aggressively and I had to stay focused,” Collazo said. “I could see the shots coming. I came back with a fade and a hook. I’m not a big puncher, but I’m a hooker. People say I can’t punch, but I guess they’re wrong.”

Collazo (35-5, 18 knockouts) landed a short right hand that caught Ortiz on the chin and sent him kneeling forward. As Collazo rushed toward him landing a couple more shots on the side of Ortiz’s head Ortiz turned his back and crouched down, stumbling into the second rope and landing on both knees. That’s where he stayed, with his back turned, as referee Benjy Estevez counted him out. Ortiz (29-5-2, 22 KOs) appeared to be stunned by the shot, but he didn’t appear inclined to get up once he went down.

“I knew he was going to come in wide, so I just waited for it,” Collazo said. “Once he got him and went down, I knew he wasn’t going to get up.”

It was a thrilling victory for Collazo, who grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and was headlining at the Barclays Center for the first time, though he had fought at the arena two other times. Before the fight he said he wanted to put on an exciting show for the Brooklyn crowd during Super Bowl week. Not known for his power, Collazo seemed just as stunned with the knockout as Ortiz.

As soon as Ortiz was counted out, Collazo collapsed and kneelt face first on the canvas, overcome with emotion.

Before the fight Ortiz said that he didn’t have any respect for Collazo or any other welterweights. He considered them all pretenders to the throne. Collazo soaked in all that disrespect and turned the tables on Ortiz, whose future is clouded by the KO loss. It was his second straight loss. He had been out of the ring for 19 months after Josesito Lopez broke his jaw in their match on June 23, 2012. While he was recovering from the surgery to repair the broken jaw he performed on the TV show “Dancing with the Stars” and had a role in the upcoming movie “Expendables 3.”

“I’m good. I got caught. It’s no big deal. It happens. I’m just one of the fighters and I put my heart out there,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz has been stopped in four of his five losses. And all of them have been ignominious in nature. His first loss against Marcos Maidana came on a sixth round stoppage because of cuts. He was KO’ed by Floyd Mayweather, Jr. after throwing an illegal headbutt, apologizing profusely and dropping his guard when the referee called time in to continue fighting. And he had his jaw broken and was trailing on the cards after the ninth round against Lopez in his last fight.

Collazo said Ortiz told him in the ring after the fight that he was going to retire. Ortiz turns 27 years old on Friday (Jan. 31).

“That’s what he said. Let’s see if he keeps his promises,” Collazo said.

Collazo’s future in the welterweight division took an upward turn… finally. Twice in notable welterweight championship matches against Ricky Hatton and Andre Berto he had been robbed of decisions. Collazo considered this a match to determine the course of the remainder of his career.

“This fight was my future,” he said. “Now with this win I’ve opened up my future.’’

There are plenty of welterweights in the Golden Boy Promotions family that Collazo can meet – Adrien Broner, Paulie Maligannagi, Marcos Maidana, Keith Thurman and Amir Khan. And if he decides to move up soon, junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia.

But Collazo, 32, has his sights set higher.

“I want what the fans want. I want Floyd Mayweather, Jr. I want him to come to the Barclays Center here in Brooklyn,” Collazo said.

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