Keith Thurman powered his way to a bloody TKO victory at Tampa’s USF Sun Dome in his first homecoming fight in more than five years.
Thurman dictated the pace early as Collazo measured his opponent, throwing few punches. But in Round 3, Collazo began to come forward in an attempt to jump-start his offense.
While he got some crisp blows in, he took more punishment than he was able to dish out, eating more punches than he landed.
Collazo continued to press the action in Round 4, getting Thurman on the ropes, only to get hammered by lighting-quick combos from Thurman.
But in Round 5, Collazo swung the momentum in his direction when he landed a vicious left hand to Thurman’s ribs that buckled Thurman’s knees and almost resulted in a knockdown.
From there, Collazo fired wildly at Thurman, who clinched at one point to weather Collazo’s charge, which he managed to do.
In the next round, Thurman opened a cut above Collazo’s right eye that bled profusely.
After Round 7, Collazo’s corner threw in the towel due to the vision-impairing injury.
Thurman was up on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage (69-64, 68-65, 69-64).
In chief support, a game-changing right hand saved the day for Willie Nelson, who seemed headed for defeat at the fast hands of Tony Harrison, who was leading on all three judges’ scorecards prior to getting stopped in Round 9.
There was plenty of bad blood leading into the fight, including a skirmish at the press conference Thursday, but it didn’t translate to a lot of good exchanges early on.
Throughout the fight, Nelson was tentative offensively. A tall, lanky presence at 6-foot-3, Nelson used his height and reach advantage to fight from a distance, but he seemed reluctant to engage, preferring instead to counter Harrison, who was the busier fighter.
Harrison outlanded Nelson and pressed the action most rounds. But in Round 9, Harrison got by a massive right hand from Nelson, followed up by a hard left an another right which sent him to the canvas.
Harrison was able to beat the count and get back to his feet, but the referee stopped the fight after Harrison failed to find his legs.