Saturday, January 17, 2009

Berto vs Collazo Predictions

When top welterweights Andre Berto (145.8 lbs.) and Luis Collazo (145.6 lbs.) step into the ring on Saturday night much more than Berto's title belt will be on the line for the two fighters. The winner likely gets another fight on HBO, while the loser gets back in line and waits for another opportunity. However, it may not be that simple when all is said and done, as the veteran southpaw Collazo brings more to the table than the betting odds reflect.

Read on for predictions from the Boxing Bulletin staff.

If boxing followed a script, Berto would win this fight in impressive fashion to fulfill his potential as a star and set up big events with the likes of Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito or Shane Mosley, but chaos reigns supreme in this game. 43 year old greats aren't supposed to humiliate 26 year old undefeated champions. 7 foot, 320 lb monsters should be performing in professional wrestling rings, not wearing pro boxing gold. Old, erratic veterans have no business pounding on promising, young pugs...but it happens.

Despite Berto's world championship and all the big time exposure, he is still unproven against high level opposition. Collazo, on the other hand, has shared the ring with former world champions, Mosley and Ricky Hatton. Even though he lost both fights, he showed no fear in going head to head with a pair of elites, and that has to give him an edge over his somewhat green opponent. You get the sense that there is nothing Berto can do in there that the New York lefty hasn't seen before. The reverse may not be true.

That said, the current title holder has a few things working in his favour going into this fight, as well. The heavily tattooed Collazo hasn't been in a meaningful fight since he lost to Mosley in early 2007. He's been in the ring twice since then, but not against anyone who was there to give him anything more than a chance to work off some rust. It's unclear what kind of fighting condition the challenger will be in based on recent opposition, but he has had ample time to prepare for this fight, so he should be ready to go.

Another of Berto's supposed advantages is a wide-spread perception that Collazo is just good enough to beat the guys he is supposed to beat, but can't get over the hump against the best fighters around. That may be the case, but to be completely fair, Berto hasn't shown that he is on the level of Mosley or Hatton, who both held significant edges in experience over him at the time. This time around, he is the grizzled one.

All things considered, this may be a closer fight than many are forecasting. I'm not convinced that Berto should be considered on the elite level, nor do I think he is going to be comfortable against a strong southpaw who should still have some good work left in him. I think Berto's style is more suited to conventional fighters that will trade with him on the inside, where he can let go with his flashy bursts as leads or counters. For the first time in his career he may have to step outside of his usual style and just fight, if he wants to stay undefeated.

The Boxing Bulletin Staff Predictions:

I think Luis Collazo is going to push the youngster to places he's never been in his professional career, and show that he still has work to do, while raising his own profile. However, I also believe that there is substance to go with the hype surrounding young Berto and I suspect he's got enough fight in him to do the things necessary to convince the judges that he did just enough after 12 rounds.

In a fight that could go either way, I'm predicting that Berto scrapes by with a razor-thin decision. Some fans will turn on him, and calls of "overrated hypejob" will be plentiful, but the kid will have learned plenty by the time it's all over and the veteran will be invited back, so neither loses too much

-Lee Payton

I favor Berto to win a close decision.

-Michael Nelson

A lot of people are counting Collazo out, because of his showing in the Mosley fight, but he's better than that, and I wouldn't be too surprised if he pulled the upset. That said, I think the most likely outcome is Berto by a hard fought decision (7-5, 8-4 type scores).

-Andrew Fruman

This will be a very close fight. I feel that Collazo is the better fighter but he hasn't faced a live body in quite sometime. While Berto's competition isn't much for a champion, it has still been better recently.

Collazo will land the cleaner punches and Berto will throw more. In the end I think Berto's flash will get him a controversial SD over Collazo's substance. Andre pulls it out by the skin of his teeth.

-Mark Lyons


Andy said...

Great great fight. I had it 114-113 Collazo, but thought 114-113 Berto was fair.