Collazo right up Shane’s alley

Feb 6, 2007 6:48 AM

Odds are Sugar Shane Mosley will be favored over Luis Collazo this Saturday and that unless he’s facing the United States Marines, I like Mosley.

I have been a Mosley admirer long before he won the lightweight title. When Cedrick Kushner signed him back then, I told the promoter Mosley was the best fighter he ever had.

Sugar still is mighty good but, at 35, he’s in with a real danger 10 years his junior. What’s more, Collazo is from Brooklyn and this HBO fight represents a good chance for him to get out. Heck, I spent the better part of my life leaving Brooklyn.

Seriously, Collazo can fight. He’s proved it big time with a stunning performance last May against another of boxing’s best pound for pound, Ricky Hatton. He stunned Hatton in both the 11th and 12th rounds and there were many (I was not among them) who thought he deserved the decision that went to England.

Collazo, who’s had a gimme victory since, lost his WBA welterweight title to Hatton. However, he showed so well that he became a prominent player in that division. He is a very mobile southpaw, who knows the angles. While Luis does not have great power, he can wear on someone not in the best shape.

We all know Mosley trains hard, but this is Sugar Shane going back to 147 pounds for the first time since 2005. He spent all of last year knocking out Fernando Vargas as a smallish junior middleweight. Okay, the first time was because of a hideously swollen eye, but the second was from a luscious left hook.

It is my belief that at 147, Mosley is still a major player in the division that has an absentee ruler in Floyd Mayweather Jr. and a new Prince Charming in Miguel Cotto. Until Cotto’s blastout of Carlos Quintana in his welterweight debut, I thought Mosley was the only 147-pounder around. That includes Antonio Margarito, who would have had a shot against Mayweather.

I still believe in Mosley and, after all these years, he has lost to only two guys (twice each). Against conventional wisdom’s advice, he immediately signed up for rematches with Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright.

Collazo is a fine craftsman, but not in the class of Forrest or Wright especially physically. That’s where it matters most against Mosley. Those fighters had significant height advantages over Mosley, who could not reach up to throw his combinations without getting countered. He won’t have that problem with the 5-foot-9 Collazo.

A lot of people, starting with Hatton himself, have been talking up the fine left-hander. Hatton explained his off night against Collazo by saying, in part, that it was because he was facing a very good opponent and just watch him against Mosley.

I hope that kind of talk spreads. I have a feeling that Mosley will be an overlay and a bargain at anything less than 2-1. There comes a time, of course, when suddenly it’s gone. I don’t think that time has come for Mosley. He should handily get by a worthy opponent. Pick: MOSLEY

”˜Vicious’ undercard

There is a worthy semifinal on the Mandalay Bay card in Las Vegas. Here too I have a strong lean without seeing any odds. My guess is that this one is going to be close in the books and that Vicious Vivian (How can you not like someone named that?) will be a slight underdog against Juan Lazcano.

My guess is Harris, whose shocking knockout loss a couple of years ago to Carlos Maussa took him out of the 140-pound elite, will be the master of this matchup. Harris, who obviously overtrained for Maussa, is 27-2-1 with 18 knockouts.

In this match, he is the bigger man at 5-11 to Lazcano’s 5-9. Plus, Harris has a 74-inch reach to Lazcano’s 72. Lazcano is moving up from lightweight, where his 37-3-1 record was fashioned in large part against some old names. He was out-toughened by Jose Luis Castillo rather handily. I think he will be bullied by Harris, too. Pick: Harris.

Another thing. Harris is from Guyana, where Vivian is often a boy’s name. But he’s been living in Brooklyn for a while. I don’t think Brooklyn will get shut out.