BILOXI, Miss. – January 8, 2009 –DiBella Entertainment is starting 2009 in style with a great world championship matchup, 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, to be seen on HBO’s Boxing After Dark, on Saturday, January 17 at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT, from Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Miss.
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 boxings 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.
“January 17 represents the hallmark of the Boxing After Dark franchise, featuring rising stars along with up and coming fighters and providing them a great showcase to demonstrate their talent,” said Luis Barragan, director of programming, HBO Sports. “Each fighter on the card is in a position to make a statement very early in 2009.”
In addition, fans in the live audience on January 17 at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino will get the opportunity to see local Light Heavyweight favorite Will McIntyre in an eight round bout, New York Heavyweight prospect Tor Hamer in a 4 round bout, undefeated Super Middleweight and top prospect Edwin Rodriguez from Worcester, MA in an eight round bout and Jonathan Nelson from Little Rock, Arkansas in a 6 round Super Middleweight bout.
“Beau Rivage is happy to be partnering with DiBella Entertainment and HBO Sports to bring world championship boxing back to Biloxi,” said George P. Corchis, Jr., president and chief operating officer of MGM MIRAGE’s Mississippi resorts, which includes Beau Rivage in Biloxi, and Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica. “The headliner of Andre Berto vs. Luis Collazo is a competitive match and the undercard bouts are bona fide prospects to watch.”
Doors open at 3 p.m. and preliminary bouts begin at 4 p.m. Ticket prices are $45, $100 and $150 plus tax and service charge and can be purchased at the Beau Rivage Box Office or by calling 888.566.7469. Beau Rivage room reservations can be made by calling 888.567.6667 or visiting www.beaurivage.com.