Keith Thurman is set to put his WBA "regular" welterweight title on the line against Luis Collazo on Saturday at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, but few are giving the challenger a chance to win. The champ is a heavy favorite, and he hasn’t been shy about wanting to fight a different opponent.
Thurman continues to climb the ranks of the welterweight division, having never lost a fight since he turned pro. He’s fought some formidable opponents, most recently topping Robert Guerrero, but he’s still looking for a win over a marquee name that will put him among the elite fighters in his weight class. Thurman wants his shot at knocking off Floyd Mayweather, but even a convincing win over Luis Collazo won’t get him that chance.
“(Fighting Collazo) was not on my priority list, but at the end of the day, I wanted to stay active,” Thurman told USA TODAY Sports. “For the first time in my career, when (my team) called me about my next fight, they actually only gave me one name. Normally, I hear a list of names and they’re just like ‘Luis Collazo will fight you,’ and I’m like ‘OK.’
“What else am I going to say? Go find somebody else? … Who did I have to fight this summer? It wasn’t what I wanted, but … if this was the man that wanted to sign on the dotted line then this is what it’s going to be.”
Thurman was hoping to fight the likes of Amir Khan, Kell Brook or Marcos Maidana this summer, and a win over Collazo would not do too much to boost his resume. Collazo most recently beat Christopher Degollado, who has an uninspiring record of 12-5. Previously, Collazo lost a one-sided unanimous decision to Khan.
Even though Thurman might not have the name value as some of the sport’s top middleweights, a loss for him might be the most shocking defeat of 2015. He’s a heavy favorite, getting -5000 betting odds at Bovada.lv. Collazo is a +1400 underdog.
Despite getting 21 of his 25 wins by knockout, there’s a good chance Thurman will need all 12 rounds to improve his record to 26-0. None of Collazo’s six losses have come via knockout, and Thurman’s last two victories have come by unanimous decision.
Collazo did manage to beat Victor Ortiz last year, and he’s been successful in five of his last six fights, giving him hope that he can shock his opponent.
“Every fight you have to come prepared for, and yes, you’re going to see weaknesses while you’re watching the fight with all the fighters,” Collazo said on a recent conference call, via Ring TV. “But once you get in that ring it’s totally different, so we just got to stick to the game plan and like that we can get the victory.”
Prediction: Thurman by unanimous decision