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COLLAZO, MOSLEY SET FOR BATTLE.

Byline: ROBERT MORALES

BOXING

Luis Collazo has ideas floating around in his head regarding Sugar Shane Mosley, and it's the kind of thinking that could land Collazo in trouble tonight when the two square off at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

On the line will be the World Boxing Council interim welterweight title. HBO will televise.

According to Collazo, Mosley will not present any problems for him in the power department. He said Mosley is not to be feared that way at this weight, even though Mosley has won world titles in the lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight divisions. Nor does Collazo believe that he will need to distribute much power of his own to emerge victorious.

Collazo said that's why he got a good deal of his sparring in prepartion for tonight from a junior welterweight by the name of Kendall Holt.

"Shane is not a natural 154-pounder or 147-pounder. He is a natural 130-, 135-pounder," said Collazo, a native of Brooklyn. "So I'm not looking for any real power. I'm used to sparring with heavier guys, but for this fight I just want my speed and my quickness."

Collazo also is of the mind that Mosley is not the fighter he used to be.

"He's probably about 80 percent of his prime," Collazo, 25, said of 35-year-old Mosley. "But a lot of people still consider him one of the best, and that's going to be better for me after I beat him."

Well, during a conference call this week, Mosley came off as someone who has discovered the fountain of youth. It's true that he is coming off consecutive technical knockouts of Fernando Vargas. But how much stock should be put into those victories is debatable considering Vargas' days as a top fighter appear over.

"I have never felt so good in my life," said Mosley, of Pomona. "I feel great. I feel almost high. The way I feel now, I don't think anybody can beat me. I think the peak is coming. I'm just getting better and better and better, like I'm going back in time."

Say what?

"I think it's the training that I'm doing and the mental preparation for the fight," Mosley said. "I'm getting older and wiser. And for some reason, I'm getting so quick, so fast, it's scary to me."

Although Mosley (43-4, 37KOs) has always lived a clean life, he describes himself today as being faster, stronger and more disciplined than ever. He said fans tonight might be shocked to see how fast he is. It's because of those fans, Mosley said, that his dedication has never wavered.

"My goal is to keep fighting until I can't fight no more," Mosley said. "I want to fight all the top guys out there and give fans what they deserve. That's what I'm there for. It's a great feeling to be able to go out in front of millions of people all over the world, thousands of people in the arena, so they can see a spectacular show.

"One of our greatest sports is boxing. I want to give back."

Mosley is looking for a "spectacular" performance against Collazo.

But it's not going to be easy. Even though it appears Collazo might be off in his assessment of Mosley, don't expect him to come into the fight overconfident. He was a tough nut for Ricky Hatton to crack last May in Boston, and he figures to be equally tough tonight.

Collazo lost his World Boxing Association welterweight belt to Hatton via narrow, yet unanimous decision. Most experts expected Hatton to walk through Collazo, but Collazo gave as good as he got and even had Hatton hurt late. There were cries from many ports of another incorrect decision.

It was a very solid performance by Collazo (27-2, 13 KOs).

According to his manager/trainer Nirmal Lorrick, Collazo slowed Hatton's career. Hatton has had one fight since, and he took the International Boxing Federation junior welterweight belt from Juan Urango last month via wide decision. Hatton looked little like the terror who took apart Kostya Tszyu in an 11th-round technical knockout in June 2005, however.

"Everybody saw what happened with Luis and Hatton and knows that Luis beat him," Lorrick said. "Hatton's whole camp knows that. That's why Hatton's back at (junior welterweight). I don't think Ricky is the same fighter anymore."

Antonio Margarito's defense of his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt against Paul "The Punisher" Williams should be a heck of a fight -- assuming it takes place.

Dan Goossen of Goossen Tutor Promotions in Sherman Oaks secured the rights to promote this fight by winning a purse bid last week of just more than $1.5 million.

Goossen signed Margarito and Williams to contracts Monday, with the fight set in either late May or early June. Two possibilities for a site are Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

There could be a problem, however.

Bob Arum, who promotes Margarito, said his fighter did not have his permission to sign to fight Williams. Moreover, Arum said he was expecting Margarito to challenge Miguel Cotto for his World Boxing Association welterweight belt June 9 in NewYork City. Cotto is also promoted by Arum.

"He has a contract with us, an exclusive contract with us," said Arum, chairman of the board of Top Rank Inc., of Margarito. "We didn't participate in the purse bid because they (Margarito's co-managers) told us not to because they were fighting Cotto. It (Margarito-Williams) may be a done deal as far as (Goossen) is concerned, but these people have no authority to sign a contract because they're under an exclusive promotional agreement with us."

Sergio Diaz manages Margarito, along with Francisco Espinosa. He said that they only signed to fight Williams because they couldn't come to an agreement with Arum for a fight with Cotto. Team Margarito also had concern that if it didn't pull the trigger on a fight with Williams, it would lose that fight as well as the WBO belt because Williams is the mandatory challenger.

"We did what Bob told us to do, that was to take Paul Williams," Diaz said. "We weren't happy with the terms that we were getting for Cotto and he said to go fight Paul Williams, and that's what we did."

Arum said Tuesday he was going to take immediate action to prevent that fight from happening. He said he was on the brink of filing a lawsuit against Margarito, his co-managers and Goossen.

Goossen was in Selden, N.Y., this week to promote a card that was televised Friday by ESPN2. Before he left Tuesday, he said he would also be visiting the Manhattan offices of Showtime and HBO to discuss the television rights to Margarito-Williams.

He scoffed at Arum's threat of legal recourse.

"All I can tell you is, Bob's entitled to do whatever he wants to do," Goossen said. "We're proceeding exactly per the WBO rules. Nothing more, nothing less."

Margarito, of Tijuana, is 28. He is 34-4 with 24 knockouts. Williams, of Augusta, Ga., is 25. The left-hander is 32-0 with 24 knockouts.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos, box

Photo:

(1) Sugar Shane Mosley, left, and Luis Collazo face off during an official weigh-in ceremony Friday at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

(2) MARGARITO

Box:

Etc.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 10, 2007
Words:1219
Previous Article:L.A. CONFIDENTIAL.
Next Article:LAKERS NOTEBOOK: COOK IN WITH NO INCIDENT.


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