Oscar Collazo wants to make history as fastest to win boxing title from Puerto Rico
Oscar Collazo can knock two birds with one stone.
Collazo can become a world titleholder at 105 pounds, and he could also make history by winning a world title faster than anyone from Puerto Rico.
Melvin Jerusalem, the WBO world titleholder, stands in Collazo’s way of accomplishing those goals. Both will square off Saturday night at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. The 12-round bout will precede the main event bout between welterweight contender Alexis Rocha and Anthony Young.
Both fights will stream live on DAZN (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).
At Friday’s weigh-in, Jerusalem weighed in at 104.5 pounds. Collazo came in right at the strawweight limit of 105 pounds.
Saturday’s clash between Jerusalem and Collazo is an intriguing bout featuring fighters ranked in the top 10 by The Ring at 105 pounds. Jerusalem and Collazo are ranked No. 3 and 10, respectively.
Collazo (6-0, 4 knockouts), who resides in Villalba, Puerto Rico, last fought on January 28, dropping Mexico’s Yudel Reyes twice en route to a knockout win in round 5. In his previous fight on July 16, Collazo was able to recover from a knockdown to defeat Vic Saludar of the Philippines by unanimous decision.
The southpaw fighter will now embark on a significant step up in opposition when he squares off against Jerusalem, who won the world title belt in his last bout on January 6, stopping Japan’s Masataka Taniguchi in the second round. Despite having significantly less fights than the Filipino fighter, Collazo is confident in his skill-set to come out victorious.
“We’ve worked for this,” Collazo told The Ring earlier this week. “I’m very motivated for this and I want to make history for my country. I feel well-prepared for this. We have been working hard for the last four and a half months. I’m dialed in and focused. We had quality sparring. Everything has been going according to plan.
“Melvin is a great champion. I know he will come to fight and I know it will be a great challenge. He’s a strong boxer. He throws everything. He will come in at his best. We have to be smart and look to counter. We trained for everything to the tee.”
The Jerusalem fight will mark Collazo’s third 12-round fight. Despite not having as many rounds as a pro as Jerusalem, Collazo has confidence in the work he has done in the gym, along with sparring sessions.
“All the work we put in the gym has allowed me gain experience,” said Collazo, who is co-promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Cotto Promotions. “I may have less rounds of pro experience compared to Jerusalem, but as far as what I am able to do, I feel that I’m effective. Look at what I was able to do in the Saludar fight. I was able to show I can box or sit down on my punches.
“In the Reyes fight, I was able to display power. For this fight against Jerusalem, I want to show all aspects of my skill-set. I want to show I have boxing I.Q. and that I can fight any style and be victorious.”
A win over Jerusalem would move Collazo up the rankings at 105 pounds.
“I believe I’m one of the best fighters in the division. A win over Jerusalem would put me in the upper echelon of the division. I know I can demonstrate I can be No. 1 and best in the world at this weight.”
Collazo is aware of the stellar and extraordinary history of boxing in Puerto Rico. Having been exposed to the sport at an early age, along with watching the sport on television, Collazo’s boyhood dream is to not only win a world title, but to also add his name to the rich history of the island nation.
A world title belt could be the beginning of Collazo leaving his mark on the sport, but also adding his name to the list of great Puerto Rican fighters.
“For me, this fight will be the key. This is where the path opens to greatness. I could add my name to the likes of Ivan Calderon, Miguel Cotto, Hector Camacho. I want to open that door. Everyone has their legacy. I want to create my own legacy. I will attempt to do that Saturday night.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]