Both bouts Saturday produced surprise stoppages for different reasons.
SAN DIEGO, July 11, 2015 – Keith Thurman won his bout with Luis Collazo via TKO in Round 8 in the main event on ESPN’s first Premier Boxing broadcast Saturday. This is no big surprise.
The surprise came when Collazo quit on in his corner at the start of Round 8 due to damage from cuts over his right eye leaving him unable to see. It was a confused ending to a fight in which Thurman didn’t have the smooth sailing some observers predicted.
Thurman (26-0-1, 22 KOs) started off smartly, and he dictated the pace of the early rounds. Then Collazo (36-6, 19 KOs) gave Thurman the toughest round of his career. In the fifth round, Collazo landed a textbook left hook to the body that doubled Thurman over. He got on his bicycle for the rest of the round and managed to make it out on his feet.
Collazo’s only other stoppage was in 2002.The cut was not insignificant, and it’s up to every fighter to make the decision whether it is safe to continue. But after seeing competitors continue with far worse damage like Chris Algieri against Ruslan Provodnikov in 2014, there are skeptics who wondered about the decision. Collazo was significantly behind on the scorecards; this can influence a decision when you need knockdowns or a knockout to win and you know you can’t get there.
After the fight, Collazo posted on Twitter, “Want to say thnk you to everyone for the luv n support. Sorry how it ended, couldn’t see from my right eye. Sufferd 2 bad cuts.”
Thurman said after the fight, “I want to give it up to him, he’s a great veteran … He caught me hard with a body shot, but I endured it, we kept going.”
When asked whether he had a message for Floyd Mayweather, Thurman said, “I’m a young strong champion like you Floyd, come get it.” After nearly getting stopped by Collazo, Thurman may rethink his statement when he comes down off the adrenaline of winning the fight.
The televised co-main event started off the broadcast with a surprising knockout win for Willie Nelson (24-2-1. 14 KOs), handing Tony Harrison of Detroit (21-1, 18 KOs) his first loss at 2:57 of the ninth round.
The fight hadn’t really generating anything that could be called fireworks. Harrison was winning a workmanlike if uninspired boxing match, when Nelson hit him with a right and left to the head, and finished Harrison off with a double espresso shot of a right hand. Harrison hit the canvas hard on his backside. He got up to beat the count but was on wobbly legs and the referee didn’t like what he saw, calling the fight to a halt.
The pair had sparred verbally throughout the lead-up to the fight, but they were conciliatory afterward. Nelson called out the bigger names in the junior middleweight division, saying he wanted to fight “whoever has a title” including Cornelius Brundage, Erislandy Lara, and added Floyd Mayweather. Don’t get too ahead of yourself, Willie.
Harrison was disappointed and still a little glassy eyed in his post-fight comments, saying “I let the anxiety get to me, I felt the anxiousness to knock him out. I felt I needed to give Detroit something to look at, I let them down,” said Harrison. Whether the result exposed Harrison’s lack of good opponents to date, or was just one of those “anything can happen” upsets we see in boxing, we’ll get a better idea when Harrison gets back in the ring again.
ESPN’s announcing team Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas did a fine job with the broadcast; the supporting cast included Dick Vitale in a bizarre cameo talking about Keith Thurman’s abs. ESPN PTB (Powers That Be), more Teddy and less Dick, please.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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