New York (December 18, 2008) – DiBella Entertainment is starting 2009 in style with two great world championship matchups, featuring hard-charging WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto making his second title defense versus number-one rated challenger and former WBA world champion Luis Collazo, and budding 154 pound superstar Sergio Martinez taking on undefeated, world-rated contender Joe Greene, for the interim WBC belt, to be seen on HBO’s Boxing After Dark, on Saturday, January 17, from the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, MS.
With his dominant TKO victory over Miguel Angel Rodriguez this past June to claim the vacant WBC welterweight crown, Andre Berto (23-0, 19 KOs) established himself as one of boxing most feared champions. Just 25 years old, Winter Haven, Florida’s Berto has already defeated proven veterans such as Cosme Rivera, Michael Trabant and Steve Forbes. Berto will need to draw on all of this valuable experience when he takes on mandatory challenger Luis Collazo (29-3, 14 KOs). Crafty southpaw Collazo, from New York City, is poised to win his second world championship – having already reigned as WBA welterweight king.
“Berto-Collazo has all the makings of a spectacular match up. Andre’s punch volume and non-stop pressure combined with Collazo’s poise and big-fight pedigree, make this the first ‘can’t miss” fight of 2009. Let’s not forget Luis has already gone 24 competitive rounds with Ricky Hatton and Shane Mosley. This is a great opportunity for Andre to show the world the champion that he is,” said DBE president Lou DiBella.
Madrid, Spain’s Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs) by way of Buenos Aires, is a former IBO 154 pound titlist, who put the American boxing audience on notice in October, as “Maravilla” produced a dazzling TKO victory over then WBA # 1 rated contender Alex Bunema to earn the interim WBC 154 pound title. Martinez faces a serious challenge in the form WBA # 3 rated Joe Greene (20-0, 14 KOs). New York southpaw Greene has already captured regional titles at 154 to 160 pounds, and is prepared to make his own sensational showing on HBO’s big stage.
“We all saw what Sergio Martinez can do in his last fight when he dismantled Alex Bunema, one of the top contenders in the junior middleweight division, who was rated by every major sanctioning body. Sergio will need to perform equally well against Greene because Joe is ready for his own statement,” said DiBella.
In addition, fans in the live audience on January 17 at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino will get the opportunity to see undefeated and WBC # 9 rated junior middleweight contender Ronald Hearns (21-0, 17 KOs) in ten round action as well as local heavyweight favorite Will McIntyre in an eight round bout.