Coming off two losses, a broken jaw and a long layoff, Victor Ortiz needs a big victory over Luis Collazo on Thursday night at Barclays Center.
A win could put Ortiz (29-4-2) back on track for a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr. A loss could make him just another boxer. As harsh as that sounds, it is the truth. If Ortiz is intent on getting back in the ring with Mayweather, he needs to win.
Mayweather has announced that his last fight will take place sometime in September, 2015. Should we believe Mayweather? Considering he has four bouts remaining on his six-fight deal with SHOWTIME, it’s perfectly reasonable to believe that Mayweather, who turns 37 on Feb. 24, will stay true to his word.
Ortiz’s last foray into the ring ended with a loss and a broken jaw on June 23, 2012 at the hands of Josesito Lopez.
Can Ortiz overcome a 19-month layoff? Will he struggle in the early rounds? “Absolutely not,” Ortiz said. “I’m completely 100 percent confident. I have no ring rust whatsoever.”
Collazo (34-5-3) acknowledged how much he needs to beat Ortiz.
“This fight is for my future. I’m trying not to look past it, but this victory means everything to me,” Collazo said. “It means I have a future. If not, I have to start all over again from scratch.”
Collazo isn’t just fighting for himself. The former WBA welterweight champion from Brooklyn will be fighting for Brookville’s 15-year-old Allie Genatt.
Genatt suffers from Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a disease that damages kidney function. Late actor Gary Coleman and former NBA all-star Alonzo Mourning were both afflicted with the disease, which often requires dialysis or a transplant.
“As a fighter, we fight to give the fans entertainment,” Collazo said. “To be a champion fighting for your life, you have to be a champion in your heart.”
Collazo will dedicate his bout to Genatt and the NephCure Foundation, a non-profit that funds the fight against FSGS. Collazo will wear www.NephCure.com on his robe and trunks for the main event, which will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes.