KNOCKOUT NATION:Berto Escapes War, Margarito-Mosley Tonight! Cotto Wants Revenge, Archie Moore

Berto Beats Collazo in Barnburner

With

his back against the wall, undefeated WBC champ Andre Berto (24-0, 19

KOs) dug deep to escape with a controversial decision win over tough

contender Luis Collazo (29-4, 14 KOs) this past Saturday (January 17).

A

feel out first round was broke wide open when Brooklyn’s Collazo

stunned Berto with a hammering straight left. The blow knocked the

champ clean across the ring, and the challenger immediately attempted

to pounce with short hooks on the inside. But Berto showed true poise

from the early test by surprising Collazo with a sneaky counter right

hand on the lunging Brooklynite.

Collazo, remembering past title chances that have escaped him, remained defiant and closed the round with two left hand shots.

In

the second stanza, Berto utilized his superior hand-speed advantage to

get off first with hook combinations. However, Collazo easily slipped

away from most of the punches and patiently countered with a straight

left and hook when Berto’s momentum put him off balance. When Berto

would step back and give himself space on the outside, his longer arms

proved successful to strafe Collazo with uppercuts and overhand rights.

Realizing

Berto’s mid and long range offensive strategy, Collazo came back in the

third by consistently pressuring the champ to the body on the inside.

Berto’s leaky in-close defense was exposed badly as the champ would

repeatedly square up and get clipped with short hooks to the head and

body. In the round’s second half, a Collazo left-right combo again

stunned Berto, causing the young champion to stumble into the ropes.

Although Berto would immediately fire back with quick albeit wild

combinations, it was Collazo who was landing the clean and more

effective punches. At the round’s conclusion, Andre Berto was warned

for excessive holding.

By

the fifth round Berto was still unwisely languishing on the inside and

allowing the shorter-armed Collazo to outwork him. Even with his

normally effective speed advantage, Collazo was finding success timing

his foe with rhythm-disrupting jabs and consistent body-punching in the

clinches. To compound Berto’s problems, an accidental headbutt opened a

cut above the champ’s right eye. Even though both men were guilty of

spells of mauling, the referee saw fit to deduct a point from Berto for

holding.

In

rounds six through eight, Collazo’s success pressuring Berto diminished

as the WBC champ began to finally circle and carry the fight at with

lateral movement, snappy jabs, and shoeshine combinations. Even though

Collazo would occasionally get inside, it was Berto who maintained his

fight in most of these rounds. By the end of the eighth, a slashing

Berto’s left hand opened a cut above Collazo’s left eye.

Perhaps

remembering his controversial loss to Ricky Hatton, Collazo stormed out

in the ninth and tenth rounds. Focusing on inside body work, Collazo

again put Berto on the defensive and took away the champ’s previous

punching advantages at long range. Here, Berto appeared to get

outworked, especially when Berto would attempt to clinch and slow down

the action.

After

impassioned speeches by each corner before the twelfth, it was Berto

who came out with guns blazing. The young champion kept busy with

flashy combinations throughout the round, while Collazo, perhaps due to

fatigue, seemed reluctant to let his offense hang out in this deciding

round. While Berto was not landing many clean shots, his activity was

allowing him to carry the round and possibly steal a close decision.

However, it turns out that at least one judge did not see a close fight.

Scorecards

for the bout read 116-111, and 114-113 twice, all for Berto by

unanimous decision. In a fight that could’ve gone either way, both men

were very gracious.  And in a rare statement by a champion after a tough challenge, Berto wholeheartedly welcomed a rematch.

“Luis

Collazo is a monster. He caught me with some clean shots,” Berto stated

in the post-fight interview. “I’d love to give him a rematch. This was

two tough, young guys going at it in the toughest division in the

sport. It’s definitely a wonderful way to start the 2009 boxing season.”

Indeed

it was, and look for Berto’s management to further test their

undefeated charge against the Margarito-Mosley winner, Miguel Cotto, or

possibly Paul Williams.

Margarito-Molsey Is Must-See TV TonightJust

one month into 2009, the Fight of the Year has likely already been

decided. This Saturday, reigning welterweight champ Antonio Margarito

and former pound for pound #1 Shane Mosley will engage in a guaranteed

punishing slugfest with large implications for boxing’s best division.

Weighing

his options, Antonio Margarito has been dormant since his

career-defining TKO of Miguel Cotta last July. Despite potential fights

with Joshua Clottey and Paul Williams, the Tijuana Tornado’s promoter

Bob Arum has remained patient  in looking for the best fight to raise Antonio’s profile and line his pockets.

On

the other hand, Shane Mosley has never been concerned with anything

other than fighting the best possible opponents out there, even when it

went against his financial best interests. When no one else would touch

them, Mosley sought out fights with dangerous contenders Vernon Forrest

and Winky Wright. And even after suffering decisive defeats, he jumped

at immediate rematches.

Now

in the twilight on his career at 37, Mosley hopes to topple a seemingly

impossible hurdle in the younger, pressure heavy Margarito. A win not

only allows Shane to reclaim the welterweight crown he lost seven years

ago, but leaves him as one of the last men standing from the 90s era of

boxing stars.

Conventional

wisdom has most experts advocating Mosley’s best strategy being an

attempt to blueprint Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey’s early round

successes against Margarito over twelve rounds. The problem is that

Mosley has never been a disciplined boxer. He can be easily dragged

into brawls, but most of the time he has been victorious due to his

hand-speed and solid power.  And defensively, Mosley’s offense has always been his defense.

Against

Margarito, Mosley will be facing his strongest and toughest foe ever at

welterweight. And nine years removed from his welterweight prime, it’ll

be extremely difficult for the Mosley to keep up with the unrelenting

late round punch output Margarito rains on his opponents.

While

Mosley is definitely a very live underdog, expect Margarito to take

over in the second half after absorbing Mosley’s bombs in the early

rounds. If Mosley’s wilts down in the stretch, there’s a strong

possibility Margarito could possibly score a stoppage.

Whatever the outcome, make sure you catch this fight.

Jermain Taylor vs. Carl Froch or Glen Johnson?

Promoter Lou DiBella is currently working on securing Jermain Taylor a March 28 date against 168 pound contender Carl Froch.

According

to various reports and rumors this past week, Taylor is seeking to

immediately capitalize on his win over Jeff Lacy this past November. If

finalized, the fight will mark Taylor’s first ever appearance on

Showtime and provide a solid test for Taylor’s place in the 168 pound

division.

Unfortunately,

there is a strong possibility of the fight falling through due to Carl

Froch not having much name recognition in America. If so, DiBella may

surprisingly put “Bad Intentions” against another one of his fighters,

the rugged Glen Johnson.

“I

thought he won the last fight with Chad Dawson and frankly it was close

enough that I’m not going to argue about it,” DiBella told

maxboxing.com. “But it was such a tremendous performance by him. Like

Bernard Hopkins, he is not a normal guy pushing 40. He’s quite bit

younger than Bernard but this guy does not fight like a 39-year old.”

Taylor

would likely not last with Johnson, so expect DiBella to steer the

younger, more marketable former champ to an easier matchup to kick off

’09.

Miguel Cotto Welcomes Margarito Rematch and Pacquiao Fight

Puerto

Rican star Miguel Cotta returns to the ring on February 21 for a PPV

card against Michael Jennings with stablemate Kelly Pavlik facing Marco

Antonio Rubio.

Even

though this is Cotto’s comeback fight for the vacant WBO welterweight

title, he’s already looking ahead to possible rematch with Antonio

Margarito, the man that knocked him out last July.

“I

would like to get the rematch right away with Margarito, but I have to

wait for the company to decide then we will see,” Cotto stated at a

recent press conference for the card. “It is a rematch that I want. Not

badly [laughs], but I want it. When I fight him again, I will try to be

a better boxer. I never watched the fight. I’ve been there, so I don’t

get to see it [laughs]. If Manny Pacquiao wants to stay at 147 and

fight one of the biggest names in boxing, I am available.”

Calzaghe Bored With Division Challenges

Basking

in the aftermath of his lopsided beating of faded legend Roy Jones, Jr,

current light-heavyweight champ Joe Calzaghe wishes he was lighter or

heavier to challenge rising stars in other weight classes.

In a self-penned piece for southwalesargus.co.uk, Calzaghe revealed his wish list of potential megafights.

“To

be honest, I wish I was in a different weight category. If I weighed

the same as Ricky Hatton or David Haye, you can bet I would fight on,”

Calzaghe explained. “If I had a shot at a Klitschko or even at Haye

himself to look forward to, that’s the kind of occasion that would get

me excited. But sadly I am just too small….I would love to fight a

Manny Pacquiao or Antonio Margarito, or even better than that, Floyd

Mayweather.”

Regarding

the challengers that remain in his weight class, Calzaghe remains

dismissive and may be close to fulfilling his vow to retire.

“Unfortunately

for me, the best three fight out there: Hopkins, Jones and Mikkel

Kessler, would all be rematches,” Calzaghe argued. “It only really

leaves Chad Dawson, who is totally untested at the highest level.”

If

the Welshman decides to fight on, the final challenge he faces is

Dawson. Bad Chad has more than proved himself with wins over Antonio

Tarver and Glen Johnson. Whether this fight happens depends on how good

Dawson looks in his March rematch with Tarver.

Throwback Fighter of the Week: “The Old Mongoose” Archie Moore

The

original ageless wonder Archie Moore had only of the most illustrious

careers in boxing: spanning three decades, three weight classes, and

legendary opponents like Ezzard Charles, Floyd Patterson, Rocky

Marciano, and Muhammad Ali.

Moore

began his career in 1935 and endured nearly 20 years of being frozen

out of a title shot due to racial politics. Finally, Moore received his

first shot against Joey Maxim in 1952. Making good on his word, Moore

easily defeated Maxim and went on to make 4 successful defenses and

post 13 non-title wins before moving up to face undefeated world

champion Rocky Marciano in 1955.

In

a classic encounter, Moore seemed on the verge of an upset after

dropping Marciano in the second with a counter right. But Rocky came

back with relentless pressure, bullying Moore against the ropes and

taking Moore’s best shots. Eventually, the Rock’s assault secured five

knockdowns before the bout was stopped with a ninth round KO.

Moore

regained the light-heavy crown the following year, but returned to try

his luck at heavyweight against newcomer Floyd Patterson for the vacant

heavyweight strap. This time, Patterson’s fast hands were too much for

Moore, who was KO’d in five rounds.

Back

at light-heavy, Moore would engage in two classic fights with contender

Yvon Durelle in 1958 and 1959. In the first bout, Moore overcame four

knockdowns (three in the first), to TKO Durelle in the eleventh round.

Moore’s last hurrah came in 1962, when he was KO’d in four by a young Muhammad Ali, his former pupil.

In 1998, Moore passed away died due to heart failure.

He is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and has more knockouts than any other boxer in history.

Archie Moore’s final record stands at 185-23-11 (131 KOs).

Moore vs. Durelle I

Moore vs. Durelle II

Moore vs. Marciano

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