Germantown's Benny Collins, young protege of International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Simon Brown, calls it the "calm before the storm."

His professional debut, along with the first heavyweight fight for Richard "Hard Face" Mason, highlight a seven-bout card tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Rockville.

Collins, noncommittal about his chances, battles Hagerstown resident Luke Cooper in a four-round junior welterweight fight in the second of a series of professional cards at the hotel.

"I'm just thinking about winning, not about a knockout," Collins said. "I want to do what {Brown} does and do it better. He can't be copied, but I hope to reach his level and eventually pass it."

Mason (15-2-1, 11 knockouts), who knocked out Virginia's Ric Lainhart as a cruiserweight a month ago in Rockville, is moving up in weight class tonight to challenge journeyman Rick Keller (23-26-2, 17 KO) in a 10-round bout. Keller has fought five cruiserweights in his career, knocking out each.

Despite his No. 5 IBF ranking, Mason said he has no plans to abandon the cruiserweight class forever.

"I'm shooting for a title shot by the end of the year," Mason said. "I want to unify all three titles."

Tonight's promoter, Don Elbaum, who also handles Brown's fights, said Mason may fight for the vacant United States Boxing Association cruiserweight title as early as August. Mason is ranked third by the USBA.

Elbaum added that Brown is still weighing an offer from the camp of District resident Darryl Lattimore, who stunned Victor Davis in a welterweight bout Friday.

"They've made a substantial offer to Simon and we're looking to make a decision by this week," Elbaum said. "We're just looking to get the best offers for now."

A Brown-Lattimore bout likely would take place in August in either Washington or Atlanta, Elbaum said.

Rockville's Les Johnson and Phil Gilberti also are on tonight's card.