On Jan. 17 the WBC welterweight title will be on the line. Andre Berto will be making his second defense at the Madison Square Garden against Luis Collazo. Collazo, coming off two wins in '08 hopes to make his third straight win for the title.
Berto’s manager and trainer have done a great job mapping his way to the top by carefully picking opponents who will showcase his skills and strengths. Berto fought his way to a WBC vacant title match, defeating Miguel Rodriguez by KO.
After winning the title he continued to show growth by defending his belt against Steve Forbes. Forbes was coming off a string of loses against Demetrius Hopkins' nephew, Bernard Hopkins, and Oscar De La Hoya.
However, Forbes did beat rising star Francisco Bojado, and regained his name from the reality show, "Contender." With 40 fights and 296 total rounds fought, Forbes was still a tough test and a great opponent for Berto.
Berto will now face another worthy fighter with good skill and the hunger for greatness. Collazo with a record of 29 wins (14KO) and three losses will be up for the challenge.
Collazo has been on the big stage before, facing the likes of Sugar Shane Mosley, and Ricky Hatton. Although he lost both fights he went 12 rounds with both fighters. Many say that Collazo won the Ricky Hatton bout as he stunned Hatton on more than one occasion.
Although the fight with Collazo is mandatory by the WBC, this bout will help Berto improve and grow. Pushing him closer to fight other big names like Carlos Quintana, Isaac Hlathshwayo and Zab Judah.
My prediction is that with Berto's strength and improved boxing skills, he will prevail in the match. Collazo has only been stopped once, but his loss shows that he can be beat. Berto should use his strength to get inside and work on the body.
Good body work will slow down the quick moving Collazo, leaving more opportunities to catch him with a finishing power punch in the mid rounds.
Collazo will need to focus on his jab to keep Berto at bay. By doubling up his jab and using a quick hook to the body he may have a chance of taking Berto’s power away, and slow him down.
Although he won't have a big chance to knock Berto out he can drag the bout to 12 rounds and take the decision.
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