Unlikely Collins comeback on the cards
Boxing: Steve Collins (48) has announced a return to the ring after a 14-year absence to settle a grudge with Roy Jones Jnr (44 tomorrow). The former WBO middleweight and super-middleweight champion, seems well aware this is a bizarre decision but the prospect of facing a man he claims avoided him all those years ago is too tempting to turn down.
“It’s not a comeback as such, at my age I’m too old for that, but it will be the end of a 15-year grudge,” he told TalkSportthis morning. “It’s a fight Roy Jones needs. He claims to be one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters around but he refused to fight me.
“I was very happy with my career, but the one fight I wanted was Roy Jones, and when that didn’t happen I retired. To me he was afraid of me. I don’t think he’s a coward, but at the time he was!
“But now it’s happening. I spoke to Roy and we’re going to get it on. He wants one more fight before he retires and this is the one he wants. If we get a good offer we’ll split it down the middle and get it on.”
Jones, a 64-fight veteran with 56 wins and eight defeats, has yet to confirm the news but Collins insists the fight is pencilled in for 10-12 weeks from now, with Dubai the most likely venue.
“I would like 10-12 weeks to get ready,” said Collins. “In my mind I already see how that fight goes and I can see the outcome. I feel like I’ve never been away. I’m looking forward to it.”
Collins has an out. He’s in no mood to take risks and should he not pass a medical between now and then, he’s adamant he won’t fight. “I’ve got medical tests arranged and if I don’t get a 100 per cent pass form the doctors, then forget it. There’s no way I’ll fight if I don’t get the all-clear.”
If Jones backs out, or simply contests that he has no idea what Collins is talking about, the Irishman who beat both Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn twice in a career that boasted 36 professional wins and three defeats, has no intention of fighting anyone else.
“This is still a match. We’re the same generation. I wouldn’t even consider fighting as guy 15 or 20 years younger than me, because that’s not a match. But we’re the same age and this is a fair match. It won’t be any different to how it would have been 15 years ago.”
Jones Jnr has lost three of five fights since December 2009, having been beaten in light heavyweight bouts by Bernard Hopkins, Danny Green and Denis Lebedev.
It's yet to be established what weight the pair will fight at when they meet, but Jones Jnr has been installed as “unbackable favourite” at 1/500 by Paddy Power, with the draw set at 200/1 and a Collins a 40/1 punt.