‘Cassius’ Clay Collard just wants to keep fighting, whether in a square ring or caged octagon.
The dual-sport athlete and current middleweight spoiler is thriving in his latest occupation, having rapidly earned a reputation as a prospect slayer. For the third times in as many fights in 2020, Collard managed to bump off a previously unbeaten boxer—the latest coming in his six-round decision win over Israeli southpaw David Kaminsky (now 6-1, 3KOs) in a June 18 ESPN-televised preliminary bout from Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I just love this s--t, dude,” Collard (7-2-3, 2KOs) told BoxingScene.com after scoring his second consecutive televised upset win. “I’ve been doing this since 10 years old and I just want to fight.”
Collard previously competed as a mixed martial artist (MMA) as part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) circuit for eight years before crossing over to boxing full time last May. The 27-year old from Cache Valley, Utah hit the ground running, with his 12 pro opponents to date boasting a combined record of 65-3 prior to the opening bell four each fight.
Eight of his 12 foes were unbeaten heading into the night, ranging from welterweight to light heavyweight and with that entire spread coming over the course of his past four fights. Collard’s lone loss inside the distance came well above his preferred weight, suffering a 2nd round stoppage at the hands of 2016 Olympic Silver medalist Bektemir Melikuziev (2-0 at the time; now 5-0, 4KOs) in a light heavyweight bout on the undercard of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s 11th round knockout of Sergey Kovalev last November in Las Vegas.
Melikuziev was the first of four straight unbeaten opponents Collard has faced, scoring wins in each of the last three contests. Collard entered his latest bout on the heels of an off-the-canvas 2nd round knockout of Raymond Guajardo (5-0, 4KOs at the time) this past February. It was thought to have been his last appearance as a boxer for a while, having signed a lucrative contract with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), a tournament style MMA league.
Those plans were ruined once PFL was forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With that, Collard made his way back to the ring for his latest fight, which took place in front of a crowdless venue at MGM Grand Conference Center. Despite the lack of a live audience, his win was celebrated by home viewers voicing their approval through social media.
Collard was forced to sweat out a split decision in a fight he clearly deserved to win, earning scores of 58-56 from judges Dave Moretti and Lisa Giampa while losing by the same tally on the dissenting card of judge Patricia Morse Jarman. The reward for his effort is a quick turnaround, as BoxingScene.com has learned that he could be back in the ring as soon as July.
ESPN.com senior writer Steve Kim revealed via social media that the sport’s current favorite spoiler could come in as the A-side for a change. If you ask the fighter himself, though, the preference is to resume his current role.
“I love these fights, I just want to fight real dudes,” Collard insists. “Otherwise, if the guy is too easy then what’s the point? I just want to put on a show every time I fight.”
By Jake Donovan
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