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Collazo wants to tattoo Mosley

February 10, 2007|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

Shane Mosley is fighting a recent champion who's 10 years younger, a tricky southpaw who claims the time has come for the 35-year-old boxer from Pomona to "pass the torch."

Brooklyn's Luis Collazo said this week that former three-division champion Mosley is no longer "at his prime," and estimated the veteran is "80%" of the fighter he was earlier this decade when he handed Oscar De La Hoya two losses.

"My speed, my ability to move, my combinations -- I think I'll come out with a decision," Collazo predicted of tonight's interim World Boxing Council welterweight championship fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Mosley (43-4, 37 knockouts) isn't buying any talk that his skills are eroding. Since two losses by decision to Winky Wright in 2004, Mosley has won four consecutive fights -- including two technical knockout victories over Fernando Vargas last year. Tonight's bout marks his first fight back down in the 147-pound division -- "my comfort zone," Mosley called it -- since 2002.

"I'm going to come right at him," Mosley said. "I'm at the top of my game."

Collazo (27-2, 13 KOs) won the World Boxing Assn. welterweight title by gaining a split decision victory over Jose Antonio Rivera in 2005. He successfully defended the title once, then lost a decision to England's Ricky Hatton in a stirring bout in which Collazo rallied from a first-round knockdown before losing, 114-113, 115-112, 115-112.

"I out-boxed [Hatton] when I needed to," Collazo said. "I pushed him back when I wanted to, and I just controlled the whole fight, basically."

Mosley, outpointed twice by the bigger southpaw Wright in two light middleweight bouts, has brought in left-handed sparring partners to prepare for Collazo.

"I've learned new tricks: throwing more straight lefts and right hooks, how you place your feet," Mosley said.

"It's a tap-dance game, a whole different ballgame. Collazo's speed reminds me of [Hector] 'Macho' Camacho or Pernell Whitaker, how he zips in and tries to score: pop, pop, pop. I'll come at him more with power boxing."

Mosley described himself this week as "older and wiser," and said the fight against Collazo on HBO will prove beneficial as he angles toward a larger payday later this year.

"I respect Collazo," Mosley's father and trainer Jack Mosley said. "On tape, I don't see what he can do to hurt Shane, though. The bottom line is Shane is too strong and too fast."

If Mosley wins, he will be positioned to either be named WBC welterweight champion if current title-holder Floyd Mayweather Jr. vacates the belt after his May 5 bout against De La Hoya, or be first in line to fight Mayweather Jr. should the unbeaten boxer opt to continue his career.

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