Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag
Read on for all the fan feedback you can handle on Saturday’s welterweight barnburner between Andre Berto and Luis Collazo in this week’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag. Enjoy!
BERTO AIN'T COTTO (DUH!)
Hey Dougie, Happy MLK Day!
I know it's perhaps unfair to compare Andre Berto to Miguel Cotto, but HBO obviously sees Berto as the next big thing, so he should be measured by high standards. What seemed impressive about Cotto early on was that despite flaws, he always found a way to win. Berto exposed tremendous technical flaws (stepping straight back; backing into corners; fighting the other guy's fight; squaring up too much; the list goes on and on) vs. Luis Collazo. However, he did go to hell and back – after the third round, he could have easily given up, and after that head butt, could have wilted again – instead, he did show amazing perseverance by at least lasting 12 rounds and dominating the last round (although I had Collazo winning the fight in the end).
My point is that Berto could have put Collazo away – after those sick body punches in the middle of the fight, Luis couldn't even raise his arms for two rounds – and Berto let it slip away. Cotto, on the other hand, would smell blood and go for the kill. So my question is – could Berto be great, without that killer instinct? He seems very intelligent (“he speaks so well!” – see Chris Rock), and he can obviously work on all those technical deficiencies. But you can't learn instinct – what do you think? – Boris, NYC
I think Berto does possess a killer instinct; but against crafty vets like Steve Forbes and Collazo he simply lacked the experience to follow-up effectively enough to put them down or get them outta there after stinging them. However, I think he’s learning his craft and there’s evidence that he may figure out how to deal with gutsy fighters who possess solid chins and a degree of defensive prowess. I also thought Collazo won Saturday’s fight, but like you, I was impressed with the manner in which Berto roared back after being stung in the first round and the way he figured out how to hurt Collazo (by going to the body) in rounds six, seven and eight after he looked lost and a bit overwhelmed in rounds three, four and five. I scored rounds 11 and 12 for Berto, which was impressive considering the caliber of opponent he had in front of him and the intensity of the fight.
I think the 24 rounds he’s gone with Forbes and Collazo have matured him into a legitimate (but still lower) top-10 welterweight contender. Berto will probably never systematically grind quality guys down the way Cotto does, but with his natural athletic ability, and with a little more seasoning, he’ll probably score more sensational knockouts against good opposition in the years to come.
COLLAZO IS THE NEW OBA CARR
I finally found your new home. Nice to see you at the Bible of Boxing.
Luis Collazo may be the new Oba Carr. I had Collazo winning by the same score as Lederman. Initially, I had an issue with the scores but realized it was only the 116-111 scorecard that tainted an otherwise great fight. I could see it go either way. – J, Florida
Glad you found me J. I also thought the fight could have gone either way, but for the record I had Collazo up by two points (115-113) after 12 very entertaining rounds – or 6-5-1 in rounds, minus one point for Berto because of his holding penalty in round four. If Berto hadn’t been docked a point I would have had Collazo up by only one point. If I scored the round I had even (the sixth) for Berto I would have had it a draw (with the point deduction) and I would have had the titleholder up by one point (without the point deduction).
Anyway, I had it close watching it on TV and I realize that the impact of the punches landed isn’t as evident from the tube than it is sitting ringside, so I won’t argue with anyone who had Berto up by a point (like the two judges who had a clue), especially if those observers were at the fight.
I wouldn’t compare Collazo to Carr, even though both were welterweight bridesmaids. Collazo actually won a major title, which Carr never did. Also, while Carr was competitive with the big three 147-pound title holders of the second half of the ’90s (Felix Trinidad, Ike Quartey and Oscar De La Hoya, all of whom were undefeated at the time) he definitely lost those fights (Tito and Goldie stopped him; Bazooka walked him down the entire fight). Many observers believe Collazo won his fights with Ricky Hatton and Andre Berto. So perhaps a better comparison to Collazo would be perennial 115-pound contender Jose Navarro, who was robbed in a title fight (vs. Katsushige Kawashima), lost a very narrow decision in another (vs. Dimitri Kirilov), but was also legitimately beaten (vs. Masamori Tokuyama and Cristian Mijares) as Collazo was against Shane Mosley. Collazo and Navarro are also similar in and out of the ring. Both are crafty and gutsy southpaws with skill and solid fundamentals but not enough punching power to impose themselves on foes with equal or more skill, or those who are more aggressive and athletic. Both are very classy, soft-spoken and down-to-earth fellows out of the ring.
WHAT A START TO '09!
Happy New Year and glad to have found you in your new home at The Ring. As for Saturday's contest… CRACKING good fight (as the Brits might say). I had no favorite going in. I just wanted to see a good matchup. So here's what I thought. Round 1… BOOM! The ropes were all that kept Berto from winding up in the 3rd row. I thought… reality check for Berto as Collazo outworked Andre through the first four rounds. Berto, to me looked gassed at that point and the possibility of a later stoppage seemed likely. Berto then came back showing great heart but despite landing big shots did not look to be hurting Collazo at all. Then Collazo came back again with renewed vigor and I found myself on my feet shouting (this fight was one of those reasons I have always been a boxing fan because boxing at it's best is the most exciting sport of all.) To Berto's credit, he rallied down the stretch and Collazo seemed a little winded but I still did not think it was enough to pull it out.
When the decision was announced my reaction was, “Collazo got robbed.” I will have to watch it again but I don't believe I will think differently. You've got to hand it to Berto. He won a lot of fans with his heart and will to fight but he came up a little short this time. I will be interested in your thoughts on this one. – David, Nashville
I thought Berto lost the fight, but I don’t think Collazo was robbed, if that makes any sense to you.
I scored rounds one, three, four, five, nine, and 10 for Collazo. I scored rounds two, seven, eight, 11 and 12 for Berto. I scored the sixth even.
Collazo took the competitive first round with that big left that buzzed and backed Berto into the ropes. Berto took the second with a series of hard right hands. Collazo won rounds three through five with superior infighting. He outworked and outlanded Berto in these rounds, nailing him with uppercuts and attacking his thick midsection. In the sixth, I thought Berto was more aggressive and landed the harder punches, but I thought Collazo was busier and landed more clean shots, including when he was against the ropes. In rounds seven and eight I thought Berto took the wind out of Collazo’s sails with his body attack. Collazo did more posing than punching in these rounds, which I thought belonged to Berto. But Collazo dug deep in rounds nine and 10, again outhustling Berto, who foolishly squared up in front of the veteran. However, the young gun redeemed himself by matching Collazo’s punch output in the 11th and jumping all over the more experienced fighter in the final round.
When I go over the ebb and flow to the consistent action and exchanges, as well as the character both fighters showed, the main impression I’m left with was that we witnessed a very, very good fight. The one bad scorecard turned in by Bill Clancy (or to paraphrase Lennox Lewis, “Bill Can’t-See”) is secondary.
A few quick points on Collazo-Berto:
1. I can't really argue with 114-113 for Berto, even though I thought Collazo won by that score, but 116-111 is crap.
2. I think Berto's dense muscles and the extremely tight way he holds his guard, especially the right, adds to a possible stamina problem for Berto – what do you think?
3. If Berto fought Shane Mosley Saturday night, he wouldn't have made it to the final bell. Being a little chinny and getting gassed early is not the recipe to win against even a 37-year-old Mosley.
4. How can someone with his boxing skills and ring experience be so bad at commentating? Of course, I'm talking about Lennox Lewis. It's not even that he doesn't have the best voice for the mic; he's also has terrible answers and weak observations. Can Ross Greenburg get Mike Tyson on the phone? I'm sure he needs the money.
Hope you're loving your new gig – peace! – Kwok, Minneapolis, MN
Thanks Kwok (that’s a cool name). I am lovin’ it.
2)I agree in part, but I think his squat stature and that densely packed, muscled core of his is also the reason he’s so damn quick and can explode with leverage and power from odd angles. Maybe Berto’s gift is his curse, but I think he just needs to learn how to relax a little bit more, not to try and force his power, and figure how to gauge the proper distance from which to let his shots go.
4)I thought Lewis had one of his better nights during Berto-Collazo, but I guess most hardcore fans think that’s not saying much. I think ‘Big L’ will continue to improve this year; to my ears, he seems to be doing more prep work for the broadcasts than he has in the previous three seasons of the revamped B.A.D. Having said that, I would LOVE to hear Tyson’s commentary again (he works a couple of shows for Showtime in the very early ’90s and I recall thinking that he had a lot of promise if he committed himself to the role, which isn’t as easy as some fans think).
GREAT FIGHT, BAD SCORES
What a scrap! What an awesome start to 2009. Now I'm fired up big time. If I wasnt in such a good mood from the great action I'd bitch a lot about the decision because I thought Collazo deserved the win clearly, 114-113 is debatable, 116-111 is a slap in the face and thanks to Max Kellerman for pointing that out twice.
I'm not sure if this fight should tell me that Berto isn't good enough (right now) to take on the big guys at 147, or if it means he has the heart and toughness to go against anyone (but the fight just finished, I need to think about it). What do you think this fight tells us about Berto and does it really go up as just a loss for Collazo and put him into gatekeeper status?
I don’t know how tall Berto is, but for a 147 lber he looks very bulky. – Steve, Montreal
Berto is listed at 5-foot-8¾. I think he’s more like 5-foot-7. What’s the big deal? Carmen Basilio was only 5-foot-6¾ and he won the welterweight AND middleweight crowns. (I’m being sarcastic folks, spare me your angry emails for comparing Berto with Basilio.)
Based on Saturday’s fight, I think Berto needs a little more seasoning before stepping in with the top five RING-rated welterweights of the world, but he showed me enough grit to believe that he would be competitive with anyone – until he got clipped by a clean shot. The only top-five RING contender I’d give him a shot at beating right now is Joshua Clottey because the Ghanaian badass lets his hands go in spots and appears to have the kind of slow stalking style that can be exploited by a boxer with Berto’s hand and foot speed (provided Berto employs a stick-and-move strategy and remembers to go to the body).
Even an obviously faded former champ like Zab Judah, who is about the same size as Berto, would be dangerous because of his power and the young Floridian’s porous defense and questionable whiskers.
BERTO’S ALL HEART
What's up Dougie.
Haven't written in as while ’cause I didn't know where the hell you went. I actually thought you got a regular 9 to 5. Berto and Collazo are both warriors. Berto proved he has what it takes mentally. He showed flaws, like being on the inside when Collazo RIPPED him to the body constantly. But I think we should focus more on how good Collazo was, rather than how bad Berto looked. He can still learn, and this will be a valuable learning experience. The bottom line is it was a tit for tat great fight and both should be applauded. I had Berto winning because Collazo fought part time and Berto fought the full 12. Even when he was gassed Berto had the heart to keep trying. He should take a little rest and then work on his inside fighting, ’cause he was damn near chopped in half. Berto did land some thudding body and head shots, and what a way to close the show when he knew it was necessary to win the 12th. I thought when Collazo went down it was real, from exhaustion. I think we can now put away those questions about Berto's heart and chin, because Collazo was no slouch.
On a side note, that ref was atrocious. Berto wasn't excessively holding, and at the time the point was taken away, Collazo initiated. Then that ref didn't follow up, probably because he realized that when there is so much inside fighting, there's bound to be holding. When Collazo just stood there, he would have been a sucker for a right hook to the body. Good luck being De La Hoya's employee (just kidding). Peace out. – Alex
You would be surprised at how many industry people tell me the same thing and they’re dead serious.
I thought both Berto and Collazo were exhausted by the end of the fight and both took brief rests during the 12-round barnburner. The difference was that Berto took breaks in spots during each round (except for the 12th) while Collazo took entire rounds off (seven and eight) when he wasn’t punching non-stop as he did in the majority of rounds.
I agree that we can put away questions about Berto’s ticker. The young man has heart, but I think the jury is still out on his chin. Collazo’s a tough, crafty and experienced vet, but he only has 14 knockouts in his 29 victories and none of the guys he stopped were world beaters. Let me put it this way: I wouldn’t toss Berto in the ring with Kermit Cintron based on what I saw Saturday.
I didn’t think the referee was out of line but I thought his point deduction was a little premature.
THE REF DID RIGHT
Very good start to 2009 on HBO with Collazo-Berto! Finally, a good competitive challenge for Andre Berto. Berto really showed me something by overcoming some rough spots in the 12-round fight. While he's not at the level of Margarito, Cotto or Paul Williams, I would like to see him continue to challenge himself against the likes of Cintron and Clottey. And I don't mean any disrespect by this – I think Collazo is a great, tough gatekeeper.
One more comment, I'm sure many people would disagree with me, but I really like that the referee warned and deducted a point from the “house” fighter Berto for holding. Holding is part of the game, but it is an ugly and illegal part of the game. After the point deduction, you could really see Berto making a conscious decision to fight on the inside instead of grabbing Collazo. It made the fight so much more exciting for the fans. It's boxing, people, not ‘Dancing with John Ruiz’. – JL, San Diego
You might be right about the referee’s early point deduction changing the complexion of the fight. After the third round I thought Berto might rely on holding Collazo to slow him down whenever they were in close for the duration of the bout, but after being docked a point the younger man was more choosey with his clinch opportunities.
I think Collazo’s better than a gatekeeper. Two of his three high-profile losses to “name fighters” could have gone his way. I still consider him to be a top-10 contender and I think he deserves another title shot later this year – if not a rematch with Berto than perhaps against IBF beltholder Clottey, who needs a dance partner now that Cintron has decided to throw his hat into the 154-pound arena.
I agree that Berto isn’t ready for the Margaritos, Cottos, and God forbid the ‘P-Wills’. If Mosley loses this Saturday, but in competitive and respectable fashion (and I can’t picture him not being competitive), I think he’s a prime candidate for Berto’s next step. If not Sugar Shane, then perhaps Zab Judah.
I can't believe how the HBO cheerleaders were not in the least bit disturbed with that decision. Berto needed a lot more than the 12th round to take that one. That judge that had it 116-111 ought to be barred from ever judging another fight. Lot of big talk but no way is Berto gonna give him a rematch. Take care. – Harry B., Stratford, Conn.
I disagree with you on both points. I thought the HBO commentating crew called the fight like it was – a close one. Harold Lederman scored it for Collazo by THREE points. Bob Papa constantly gave Collazo credit for his infighting and body punching, even when the challenger’s back was to the ropes and Berto was pressing him. Lewis pointed out Berto’s technical and tactical mistakes numerous times during the broadcast. Kellerman went on a mini-tirade about Bill Clancy’s scorecard after his in-the-ring interviews. I’m not saying HBO’s commentators haven’t had bad/biased nights in the past, but Saturday wasn’t one of them.
I think Berto will give Collazo a rematch. He made it through the first fight and he’ll be able to look over those 12 rounds with his team and see what he could have done better. At his age and this stage of his career, I think he WANTS to show people that he can do better (whether he actually can or not). And who is else can he fight that anyone will give a rat’s ass about? Margarito’s too dangerous. Williams is fighting at middleweight, and he’s too dangerous at 147 pounds anyway. Cotto’s also dangerous and already committed to a rematch with the TJ Tornado. Pacquiao’s looking at Hatton and then Mayweather. So Berto either isn’t ready for the big-money fights or those bouts aren’t there for him. And after winning an excellent action fight against a real contender like Collazo, I don’t think HBO is going to let the quality of his opposition slide backwards. The days of Michel Trabant and Miguel Rodriguez are over. I don’t think HBO will accept WBC top-five contenders like Jackson Bonsu (who barely got by old and faded Carlos Baldomir) or Luis Abregu (who struggled with Berto victim David Estrada) or even Jesus Soto-Karass (who I think would give Berto a good fight). So who the hell is he going to fight in the next six months? If Mosley isn’t available, Collazo might make the most sense (and dollars).
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Collazo photo by Clark Brooks-Hoganphotos.com