Steve Collins Wants Dream Fulfilled With Roy Jones Fight

  • January 30th, 2013
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by Charles Jay

Roy Jones Jr. is at a point in his career where he has to react when 48-year-olds call him out. These days he is trying to cut his bones as a promoter but still needs to fight, because the word is that the IRS has not been especially kind to him. So when the chance comes to make a buck he won’t make light of it, even if it’s against someone who hasn’t fought since the previous century.

So, someone during 2013 – and the sooner the better, considering their combined age is 92 years – a pair of former champions will square off in a bout that, to be gentle, will appeal to a “niche” audience at best.

The funny thing is that it may be kind of interesting.

Of course, the continued exploits of Jones have to be an acquired taste. If you’re the type who advocates that men should be able to make their own decisions about their health and well-being as regards taking risks in the ring, you don’t object to hard about Jones being able to fight. If you prefer to make value judgments on such a thing, well, anything involving him is going to considered a sideshow.

If so, we can only imagine how you’re going to feel about his next proposed opponent.

Steve Collins is a fighter most fans on this side of the pond (the American side, that is) have long since forgotten about. Not that he didn’t have any credentials. When he was campaigning in the United States, he scored wins over capable people like Kevin Watts and Tony Thornton, and certainly didn’t embarrass himself in losing to Mike McCallum and Reggie Johnson. After a loss to Sumbu Kalambay in Italy, he confined his pursuits to Great Britain and Ireland, where he won a couple of WBO titles.

Collins may have been an alphabet champion, but he was hardly a paper one. He won the WBO’s middleweight championship, then quickly moved to 168 pounds and captured that crown too, making seven defenses afterward. He scored two wins each over Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn, and retired while still holding the belt.

But that was in 1997, and he hasn’t fought since.

Collins appeared to have gotten this bout by making some comments about Jones being scared of him, specifically intended to goad him into a fight. Well, if Jones is indeed scared of him, that would be a sad state of affairs, considering his challenger has not competed in fifteen and a half years.

Jones has fought 29 times since Collins announced his retirement, so he is the more active fighter, for sure. Over the last couple of years, he has been boxing in oblivion; do you need more proof than the fact that he broke a three-fight losing streak 14 months ago when he defeated Max Alexander for the Universal Boxing Organization Intercontinental cruiserweight title? To his credit, one supposes, he did score a win over an undefeated, albeit untested fighter named Pawel Glazewski last June. If he had carved out a more sympathetic image during the prime of his career, like Evander Holyfield in recent years or Muhammad Ali long before that, bleeding hearts would be practically holding a vigil every time he stepped into the ring. But instead they just kind of shake their heads.

While Jones seems to be chasing the call of the wild dollar wherever and wherever possible, for Collins this is not a “comeback,” per se, but a one-off deal. His objective was to fight Jones, and fight Jones is what he is likely to do. In a way, this is somewhat reminiscent of the light heavyweight comeback of former champion Henry Maske, as he came out of a ten-year retirement to fight, and get revenge over, Virgil Hill in March 2007, except that Collins has sat out for a significantly greater period of time.

Whether Collins is going to have a success on the order of Maske is anybody’s guess. But one thing’s for sure: he’s got a better shot now than he would have had in 1999, when he was campaigning hard for a chance to fight Jones, and wanted to come out of a two-year hiatus to do it. As we mentioned, Collins was credentialed, but he was not in the same league with Jones in terms of skills. This was around the time that Jones was walking through the 175-pounders virtually unchallenged, having just beaten Richard Frazier easily and yet to fight the likes of Johnson, David Telesco, Richard Hall; and Eric Harding. And there was some talk of him eventually fighting Dariusz Michalczewski, who was the undefeated WBO 175-pound champ at the time. Obviously, that never materialized.

A Jones-Collins fight, which would take place in the cruiserweight class, naturally would have more value and interest overseas than it would in the United States, where it might not have any at all. In Britain or Ireland, the timing is not ideal as this comes on the heels of an unsuccessful attempt by Ricky Hatton to come back after “only” three and a half years out of the ring. Collins told BoxNation, “We’re waiting for the offer to come in that appeases us both.” Which jurisdiction winds up passing the 48-year-old Collins or the 44-year-old Jones is another question, which is why there is discussion about such exotic fight locations as Dubai and Malta. maybe Luxembourg can come back into the picture somewhere, the way it did for the David Haye-Derek Chisora fight.

If they really want to put the fight on, and the money is there, they’ll figure out a way to do it.

What are your thoughts?

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