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Berto survives Collazo in Biloxi

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

760x316_01_medium WBC welterweight titlist Andre Berto came into the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Miss., to face the toughest test of his young career. Former welterweight titleholder Luis Collazo made the fight live up to that hype.

Berto was able to adapt and overcome just enough to squeak out a tight unanimous decision victory over the somewhat snakebitten Collazo, who is now 0-3 against perceived elite opposition. He was robbed, some would say, against Ricky Hatton, and when he fought Shane Mosley, he got hurt. This time, the 12th round was the difference, as the stronger Berto fired on a winded Collazo for the entire three minutes, sealing the victory.

Official scores were 116-111 and two cards of 114-113. Berto had a point deducted in the fourth round for repeated holding. The scorecards reflected what I saw, which was the fight being up for grabs in the 12th and final round, which Berto unquestionably dominated.

It was a hell of a good fight that boiled down to a few bullet points.

  • At distance, Collazo was no match for Berto. Berto's natural athletic gifts were too much for Luis, who had to rely on timing and wits in those situations. In those instances, it sort of resembled Yuriorkis Gamboa's fight against Roger Gonzalez last week.
  • Inside, Berto was outgunned by the rugged, steel-chinned Collazo. Collazo did a ton of body work meant to slow Berto down, which worked beautifully. When he got him in close quarters, he took Berto's rhythm completely away.
  • It was a fight with great ebb and flow. And it was a hell of a battle that will unfortunately be semi-forgotten, I assume, as the year rolls on and bigger fights litter the landscape.
After the bout, Berto said he'd "love to" give Collazo a rematch, who said he'd gladly take one. Collazo also took the loss in stride, though he did rightly question the rather absurd 116-111 Berto card, which means that judge thought Berto won 9 of 12 rounds, a ridiculous idea. HBO's Harold Lederman scored it 115-112 for Collazo, and Bad Left Hook had it 114-113 for Berto.

I don't think Collazo was robbed, but as we said in the comments during the live coverage, it was tough not to feel for him. He fought his heart out, but frankly his conditioning seemed to leave something to be desired. He gave away two rounds in the middle of the fight, and essentially gave away the 12th due to an empty gas tank, too. That's a problem, and it's why he lost the fight.

A Berto rematch is the only big fight for Collazo. He's too good for a lot of guys to risk since there's really no money in his name. He's a lot better than a gatekeeper, but he's a notch below the truly top guys. Berto could fight anyone right now, though I suspect if he doesn't fight Collazo again straight off, he might look for a softer touch to continue building his record and his highlight reel. And by "he," I mean his handlers. I think Berto would fight anyone.

We discussed a Berto-Josh Clottey fight, where I think after tonight I'd pick Clottey, another guy that likes to mix it up inside. Berto has a lot of Shane Mosley in him. Despite great natural skills, he's just wired to go any way the fight takes him. If it's a brawl, he'll brawl, even if that's against his better idea.

For now, though, it's worth it just to bask in the glow of what was a hell of a good fight and the best win of Andre Berto's career. For Luis Collazo, it's another tough pill to swallow. Sadly, as I said, I really think he has mostly himself to blame.

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