There’s no telling what Luis Collazo could’ve done Friday night if he hadn’t suffered multiple cuts and a debilitating injury to his left arm.
Collazo boxed Kudratillo Abdukakhorov essentially with one arm during the second half of a scheduled 10-round welterweight fight he lost by technical decision at Temple University’s Liacouras Center. An injury to his left arm prevented the 38-year-old former WBA welterweight champion from using it from the start of the sixth round until their bout came to an unusual conclusion in the 10th round.
Referee Benjy Esteves called an end to the bout once Collazo couldn’t continue after Abdukakhorov wrestled him to the canvas. Collazo struggled to get up.
Once he was on his feet, a doctor tended to a nasty gash above his right eye, the result of an accidental head-butt before he went down.
A ringside physician then suggested Esteves stop their fight with 57 seconds to go in the 10th and final round. They went to the scorecards because Collazo’s prohibitive injury was caused by an accidental foul.
Uzbekistan’s Abdukakhorov (17-0, 9 KOs) was ahead 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 at the time their fight was stopped and won a technical decision. His victory enabled Abdukakhorov to remain the IBF’s No. 1 challenger for its welterweight champion, Errol Spence Jr.
“Collazo is a great champion,” Abdukakhorov said, “and it was a pleasure for me to showcase my talent for the American audience. It was a tough fight, and this experience will serve me well as I continue my journey.”
Abdukakhorov added that he wants his shot at Spence next, but that he understands Spence’s injuries from an October 10 car accident in Dallas could delay his return.
Collazo (39-8, 20 KOs) suffered a cut around his left eye in the second round. The Brooklyn-based southpaw seemed to hurt his left arm in the fifth round.
Collazo had surgery to repair a torn left biceps in the summer of 2017, but he didn’t think Friday night that he suffered that same injury again. That initial injury was the primary reason he didn’t fight for 18 months, from February 2017-August 2018.
“Hey, it is what it is,” Collazo said. “This is part of the sport. We’ll see what’s next.”
Abdukakhorov clipped Collazo with a left hook late in the ninth round, but Collazo walked through it. Collazo continued to fight with one arm in the ninth round, yet Abdukakhorov couldn’t truly take advantage of it.
Collazo tried his best to jab and throw right hooks in the second half of the bout, but without the full use of his left hand he couldn’t hurt Abdukakhorov.
Collazo couldn’t get full extension on his left hand in the sixth round. He repeatedly shook it out during that round and barely threw it.
Collazo came back to his corner rubbing left arm after the fifth round. He took a straight right hand from Abdukakhorov that backed him up in the fifth.
The action slowed down during the fourth round, in which neither fighter was as accurate as during an action-packed third round.
Collazo continued pressuring Abdukakhorov in the third round and blasted Abdukakhorov with a left hand that drew a reaction from the crowd. Abdukakhorov seemed to breathe heavy in the third round while moving backward and attempting to keep his distance from Collazo.
Collazo was the aggressor again throughout the second round. Abdukakhorov landed plenty of shots as Collazo came forward in those three minutes, but Collazo caught Abdukakhorov with a left hand that seemed to stun him.
Collazo came back to his corner with a cut over his left eye after the second round as well.
Abdukakhorov caught Collazo with a left to the side of his head in the first round that moved Collazo backward. Abdukakhorov also landed a right uppercut as Collazo lunged forward later in the opening round.