Jose Benavidez Jr and Luis Collazo have agreed to terms to meet this summer in a welterweight bout, according to Mike Coppinger, in what will be a must-win situation for both fighters, who are at very different stages of their careers.
The 26-year-old Benavidez (27-1, 18 KO) was at one point considered one of boxing’s top prospect, a true blue chipper who had great amateur success, including winning the National Golden Gloves at 139 pounds when he was just 16 years old in 2009.
He turned pro in early 2010, and started hot, living up to the promise early on, but his career seemed to stall out a bit in recent years, with his best wins coming over Mauricio Herrera in 2014 and Francisco Santana in 2016.
Last year, he took a big step up in competition and challenged Terence Crawford for the WBO welterweight title in October. Benavidez did OK, but eventually Crawford built up a sizable lead and then stopped Benavidez with just 18 seconds remaining in the 12th and final round.
Collazo (39-7, 20 KO) is a 38-year-old former titleholder, as he held the WBA welterweight belt back in 2005, beating Jose Antonio Rivera before losing the title 13 months later in a disputed defeat against Ricky Hatton.
Over his career, the southpaw Collazo has been in with a lot of top names — Hatton, Shane Mosley, Andre Berto when Berto was still on the rise, Amir Khan, Keith Thurman — and he’s come up short in those fights.
But other than that, he generally gets his hand raised, suffering only two losses (in 2002 and 2011) to fighters who weren’t considered upper-tier at the time. You’ve gotta be good to beat Luis Collazo.
Right now, Collazo is on a three-fight win streak, beating Sammy Vasquez, Bryant Perrella, and Samuel Vargas in those outings.
Frankly, I like this one. I don’t know if I love it as a main event, but it’s got potential to be a good matchup, and I think it’s a strong use of both fighters by Top Rank. Benavidez obviously has talent, he always has, but he’s lacking quality wins, and Collazo, while no top contender anymore, can still give you work if you’re not a real deal top of the line fighter. It’s a chance to find out more about who Benavidez really is as a pro — we know he’s better than a lot of guys, but he’s not quite at that Crawford level. There’s a lot of space in between to see what he really has, and Collazo is a solid opponent in that space.