Brooklyn for a long time has had a standing history of talent and tough fighters. Most recently Paulie Malignaggi took on Zab Judah for the right to be crowned the “King of Brooklyn”. Now a new threat to the throne has emerged. Last week on Fox Sports 1 in front of a national audience and his hometown crowd at the Barclays center, Luis Collazo (35-5 18KOs) sent shock waves throughout boxing with a second round knockout of the former Welterweight titlist Victor Ortiz.
Collazo in the past has come up on the short end of the stick in many fights specifically when he battled both Ricky Hatton and Andre Berto. Both fights were tough but many fans thought Collazo did enough to win but he wasn’t awarded the victory. Collazo is not a new name but if you asked a casual fan, they had no idea who he was until this fight. Now after knocking out Ortiz, Collazo has made a statement in the boxing scene as well as in the eyes of all those new fans watching because of Ortiz’ newly found fame.
Malignaggi says that he has known Collazo since they were kids and he feels that he never got the respect that he deserves because he wasn’t on mainstream TV. Since fans haven’t seen him on the air for some time, it was easy to write him off. Malignaggi said that was the first mistake the public made.
“I told a lot of people Luis is going to win the fight. People slept on Collazo just because they haven’t seen him. They called him shot or he was just not good enough, “stated Malignaggi. “You just can’t write someone off just because you haven’t seen him. Now he got his opportunity and he showed how good he was.”
With Malignaggi fighting and beating Judah this past December, you could ask yourself; would Malignaggi defend his publicly proclaimed King of Brooklyn title against Brooklyn native Luis Collazo? Paulie has never been short winded, nor has he ever shown publicly that he was afraid to fight anyone. He said that the fight with Judah was different because its not just respect that he has for Collazo, it’s his long time friendship and Paulie put to rest any rumors of that fight before they even get started.
“Collazo is a guy I don’t want to fight. I didn’t say because of fear. That’s a really good friend. Zab was a guy that when I was coming up I respected. Luis Collazo is a guy I used to room with together and we used to go away on amateur trips. Its almost like he’s a brother to me,” stated Malignaggi. “It’s not going to happen. I would rather retire than fight my boy.”
It’s almost to easy to write off fighters quickly because of a poor performances but Malignaggi says it’s the intangibles inside the ring that you don’t see that make Collazo such a special fighter. Now that everyone is on the Collazo Bandwagon, Malignaggi says that because the boxing public was blind to what they had, they missed out on a lot of entertainment.
“It’s just about how good he is technically; this kid is one of the most mentally strong fighters I have ever met.” He continued, “He deserves your respect and the “props” he is getting tonight. He’s deserved it for a long time. Shame on everybody who held him back for so many years because everybody could have been enjoy this kid for a lot longer than tonight.”