New Faces: Oscar Collazo
Hometown: Villalba, Puerto Rico
Weight class: Strawweight
Height/ Reach: 5-foot-1 (155 cm) / 62½’ (159 cm)
Amateur record: 136-15
Turned pro: 2020
Pro record: 3-0 (2 knockouts)
Trainer: Carlos Ortiz, Juan De León
Manager: De Leon Management Team: Dr. Ramón Negron and Juan De León
Promoter: Miguel Cotto Promotions, H2 Entertainment and Golden Boy
Best night of pro career and why: Collazo is most pleased with his six-round unanimous decision win over Francisco Bonilla on the Ring City show in Puerto Rico in March. The setting made it stand out in the young fighter’s mind.
“The view in Old San Juan is unique,” Collazo told The Ring through Bryan Perez of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “The way they put the ring outside in front of the Old San Juan was iconic, you could see the sunset coming down in front of the ring, the vibe of the people, all around a great experience.”
Worst night of pro career and why: Collazo has dominated the opposition so far and hasn’t had any difficult moments.
“I haven’t had any bad nights, thank God.” he said.
What’s next: Collazo will face one-beaten Pedro Villegas in his first scheduled 10-rounder at Los Andes Mall, Panama City, Panama on Friday.
“I think is going to a great fight,” he said. “It’s going to be a very good experience for me as I go up in my professional career. It’s going to bring the best of me. This is the step I needed to make my name stand out.”
Villegas turned professional in 2016. The 22-year-old has fought almost exclusively in his native Ecuador. He ventured to Chile to face Andres Campos in March 2020. Although he lost a 10-round unanimous decision Villegas turned in a gutsy performance. He has since returned to the win column, upping his record to (13-1, 4 KOs).
Why he’s a prospect: Collazo is a decorated amateur. He won five national titles, gold at the 2019 Pan-Am games and had aspirations of representing his country at the 2020 Olympics
. However, with his weight class not being recognized at the Olympics he decided to make the switch to professional boxing.
In his amateur days, he shared the ring with the likes of Joahnys Argilagos, Yuberjen Martinez and Yankiel Riviera.
He has sparred with former WBO junior flyweight titleholder Angel Acosta and the recently minted WBO 108-pound titlist Jonathan Gonzalez.
Collazo has many key skills but singles out two key areas: “My biggest strengths are my IQ in the ring, my footwork and fast hands.”
His trainer, Juan De Leon, see’s similar attributes.
“His intelligence in the ring and the way he can adapt to any style,” said De Leon. “His dedication, respect for the sport of boxing and his impeccable discipline, not to mention that Oscar has a great IQ.”
Four-weight world champion and future Hall of Famer, Miguel Cotto, who is part of his promotional team is also keen to praise his young countryman.
“Oscar is a gifted, talented boxer, with very impressive skills,” said Cotto. “He is the type of talent that you can bet on him to become a world champion.”
Why he’s a suspect: So far, Collazo passes muster, however, his upcoming fight should allow us to see more of his overall game against the best opponent he’s faced to date.
Fighting overseas in Panama will also be a good experience that will aid his development.
The Puerto Rican boxer-puncher feels ring time and activity will help him the most.
“For me to get to the next level is to fight the best opposition and [keep] working hard,” he said. “Those details are going to get me to the higher level in boxing.”
De Leon believes if his charge is able to stay calm under fire it will help open different avenues inside the ring: “[If he can] relax a little bit more so that he can land the blows effectively to hurt his opponent because Oscar hits hard for a strawweight fighter.”
Storylines: Collazo was born in Newark, New Jersey before his family moved to their ancestral home of Puerto Rico when he was 8-year-old.”My early years were like every normal family,” he explained. “My family was an average working family, always had clothes on my back and food to eat.
“A house of four boys always fighting, we were never linked in boxing, we had to learn how to protect ourselves, so we showed each other how to fight. I thank God for my humble family and giving me everything they could.”
Despite those skirmishes with his brothers, the young Boricua wasn’t initially interested in boxing.
“I used to play baseball, that’s was my first love in the sport,” he said. “I went to the Puerto Rican baseball team when I was 13-years-old but I did not play. Then when I was 15, I decided to go into the sport of boxing and I loved it since day one.
“Little by little I went up in the ranks winning every tournament. It’s was difficult because they did not want me on the Puerto Rican national team, and I had to force my way on to the team, by beating all the elite top fighters.”
Collazo hopes to use boxing as a tool to not only better his life but those around him.
“My goal in boxing is to become world champion,” he said before adding. “[I want] to be an inspiration to young people and buy a house to my parents.”
Away from boxing, he likes spending time with his family, helping others, having fun at the beach and relaxing at home.
March 25 – Francisco Bonilla – UD 6
Dec. 5 – Kevin John Cruz Jusino – TKO 2
Feb. 15 – Vicente Castro Cheneque – TKO 3
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on [email protected]