Eimantas Stanionis had a night of apparent victory turn into one of frustration after a head clash cut former WBA welterweight champion Luis Collazo in the fourth round and saw their bout ruled a No Decision at The Armory in Minneapolis on Saturday night.
WBA No.1 147lbs contender Stanionis had impressed until the injury, softening up New York veteran Collazo with a stiff jab, hurtful hooks and right hands. Southpaw Collazo had his moments in the second and engaged in a firefight, but Lithuanian Stanionis seemed in a position of control before the fight ended in the fateful fourth.
With Collazo already nursing a swelling under his left eye, an accidental head clash cut him on his right eyelid and saw the former champion drop to the canvas. After being given five minutes to recover by referee Charlie Fitch, the ringside doctor was called and the bout waved off with Collazo unable to stand. With 39 seconds left in the fourth, the fight was ruled a No Decision as four full rounds had yet to be completed.
“He was coming into me and I wanted to show that I’m strong, too, and I could fight him off,” said Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs & 1 NC). “It didn’t feel like a big collision, but it must have been worse for him.
“It’s disappointing, of course. He’s a tough fighter and he’s a warrior, so it’s unfortunate it had to be like this. I was just getting started. I knew he was going to come forward like that and that the headbutts would be a factor. It is what it is.
“I feel great physically. I want to get back in the ring as soon as possible. Collazo always brings a great fight so I knew it was going to be a lot of action. He’s tested a lot of young prospects and taken them into deep waters. I wanted to entertain people and give the fans a great fight.”
Retirement now beckons for Collazo, who pushed Ricky Hatton all the way in their WBA title clash back in May 2006.
“Coming into the fight, we knew that we could test him,” said Collazo (39-8, 20 KOs & 1 NC). “We were both coming in at the same time and that led to the clash of heads. It happens a lot. I love this sport and I still have the passion for it, but it’s getting frustrating. I’m blessed to have the career that I’ve had. It’s on to the next chapter of my life.”
Earlier, Venezuelan Gabriel Maestre (4-0, 3 KOs) won a highly controversial decision over a luckless Mykal Fox (22-3, 5 KOs) to seize the WBA Interim welterweight belt.
The 6ft 4ins Fox, a late sub for Cody Crowley, dropped Maestre with a left hook in the second and appeared to win handily with his greater hustle, but the judges saw it differently. Scores were 117-110, 115-112 and 114-113.
“I was stunned by the decision,” said Maryland’s Fox. “There’s no way he won more rounds than me. I knocked him down. I hurt him. I don’t know what else I was supposed to do. I don’t know what the judges were looking at. Look at his face and tell me he won that fight.”
Maestre added: “Fox fought very well and he deserves a rematch. It was a very close fight. If my team says that’s what they want, I’ll be ready to fight him again.”
Meanwhile, Californian 147-pounder Lucas Santamaria (12-2-1, 7 KOs) scored a unanimous nod over former two-division champion Devon Alexander (27-7-1, 14 KOs), staggering the veteran with left hooks in the first and ninth rounds. The official scores were 98-92 (twice) and 97-93.
“My legs were the key for me, he was trying to catch me with the left and I was able to anticipate it,” said Santamaria. “I was too quick on my feet for him. My footwork was the key. I’m ready to keep stepping up the competition.”
A deflated Alexander added: “I hurt my right bicep in the first round and it really held me back from getting my offence going. I tried to shake it out as the fight went on but I just couldn’t get anything going. I’m disappointed.”
Main image: Sean Michael Ham/Premier Boxing Champions.