Can Luis Collazo’s experience negate Bryant Perrella’s youth?

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A battle between former welterweight world champion Luis Collazo and contender Bryant Perrella is the type of match that some would consider a show stealer. Tucked underneath a stacked PBC on FOX card that is headlined by former 147-pound world champions Andre Berto and Devon Alexander, Collazo-Perrella pits two boxers with the same temperament and styles – aggressive, high-action southpaws.

The 37-year-old Collazo (37-7, 20 KOs) is highly experienced and has faced some of the best boxers of the past decade. The Brooklyn native has lost decisions—most of them close—to the likes of Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, and Berto. Collazo possesses an underrated ring IQ that can come only from years of facing quality opposition and hundreds of rounds fought.

In his last bout, Collazo stopped top prospect and fellow southpaw Sammy Vasquez in the sixth round with a short right hand to the chin. By the time Collazo steps into the ring with Perrella on Saturday, he’ll have been out of the ring for 18 months. The New Yorker had surgery last August to repair a torn left biceps tendon, and the lengthy layoff may result in some ring rust for Collazo.

One of the benefits, though, of experience like Collazo’s is that he’s seen it all before. He’s had lengthy layoffs in the past, he’s dealt with injuries, he’s been hurt during a match, and he’s been knocked down. Through it all, Collazo’s enormous heart and willpower has prevailed, even in defeat. When he’s victorious, it’s often his craftiness that has earned him the win. He has a way of lulling his opponents into a sense of comfort and then snatching the victory out from under them.

Collazo is a world level fighter. He has a great 1-2, utilizing his right jab to set up a straight left hand. His balance is on point, which enables him to land his punches with more ferocity during exchanges, or in the late rounds, than his opponents sometimes do.

Perrella (15-1, 13 KOs) is a 29-year-old Florida native looking to establish himself in the welterweight division. The southpaw had an impressive amateur career, having defeated super lightweight world champion Regis Prograis in the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials. As a pro, he worked his way up and knocked out fellow prospect David Grayton in the second round in June 2016.

Perrella has only lost to the best the division has to offer just like Collazo. That single loss in September of 2016 was to Yordenis Ugas. Aside from having to deal with Ugas’ remarkable ring intelligence and fundamentals, Perrella was suffering from a right leg injury sustained during training camp. After a 14-month layoff to recover, Perrella was last seen in December 2017 when he defeated top prospect Alex Martin by unanimous decision.

Perrella stands 6’1” tall, a four-inch advantage over Collazo. While Perrella doesn’t typically utilize his height to full effect, his length does give him great leverage on his punches. A potential problem for Perrella is that he often drops his lead right hand, which could leave him open for Collazo’s straight left.

His awkwardness and unorthodox style is perhaps his strongest asset. Perrella shows his opponents different looks consistently and has his own solid 1-2. His southpaw right hook, when he finds an opening for it, is quick and devastating—as he illustrated when he dropped Martin with it last December. His 81% knockout ratio speaks for itself.

Does Collazo still have enough left in the tank to defeat a young, hungry, and tricky fighter? Is Perrella ready for a gritty and experienced veteran like Collazo?

This battle of lefties at dramatically different stages of their careers is a classic match-up of youth versus experience, and which will prevail is anyone’s guess. What isn’t hard to determine, though, is what we’ll see in the ring on fight night: two welterweights with no fear of letting their hands go, each of whom knows he needs to win in order to move on to bigger things and perhaps face the winner of the main event.

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