Collins collapsed and needed oxygen after beating Eubank, court told

 

The Irish boxer Steve Collins collapsed in his dressing room and had to be given oxygen shortly after he defeated Chris Eubank to win the world super middleweight title in Millstreet, Co Cork, the High Court was told yesterday. Collins told Mr Justice O'Sullivan he had passed out after the bout on March 18th, 1995. He was wrapped in a silver blanket and received oxygen.

His manager, Mr Barry Hearn, was devastated by the result of the fight and was as "sick as a parrot", Collins said. He said that not only had he beaten Eubank, but he had beaten Mr Hearn and all the other people who did not want him to win.

Mr Hearn, who was also manager to Eubank, and the promoter of the Millstreet event, could not accept what happened that night, the boxer said. Mr Hearn was annoyed with the result and refused to take it on the chin.

Collins said Mr Hearn was "sneaky, begrudging and two-faced".

Yesterday was the 18th day of the hearing of the action taken by Mr Hearn and his company, Matchroom Boxing Ltd, against Collins. Mr Hearn is alleging breach of contract by Collins, a charge that is denied by the Irishman.

In court yesterday, Collins said that when he went to Las Vegas to train before the Millstreet fight, he did not have the services of his trainer, Mr Freddie King.

He said he had paid for sparring partners out of his own pocket. No arrangements had been made for access to a gym and his hotel knew nothing of any prior reservations.

Collins said that his former trainer, Mr King, had lied when he said he had been ignored by him after the Millstreet fight.

The boxer then handed into court Telecom Eireann phone records to show calls made by Collins to Matchroom Boxing Ltd in London where Mr King worked and to Mr King's own home.

Collins said a letter written by Mr Hearn to the WBO, which cast doubt on a finger injury sustained by the Dublin boxer, was of no benefit to Collins, nor was it calculated to make him any friends in the WBO. It was a very damaging letter.

Referring to the evidence of a referee, Mr Ron Lipton, who told the court last week that Mr Hearn had twice approached him alleging Collins was a dirty fighter who unfairly used his head against opponents, Collins said this was further proof of Mr Hearn's efforts to stop him winning the title.

Mr Hearn was supposed to be neutral between himself and Eubank, but his actions were biased in favour of the British boxer, he said.

Asked by his counsel, Mr Colm Allen SC, if in view of these events it had crossed his mind to go to Mr Hearn and "grasp him warmly by the throat", Collins said he was sure it had crossed his mind, but it was against the law for him to adopt such a course.

Cross-examined by Mr Rory Brady SC, for Mr Hearn and Matchroom Boxing Ltd, Mr Collins agreed he had signed three agreements with Mr Hearn during the course of nine months: a memorandum agreement of May 9th, 1994, a manuscript agreement of January 15th, 1995, and a bout agreement of February 17th, 1995.

While he never felt like a slave in his relationship with Mr Hearn, he did feel he was not in control, the boxer said. He was unhappy signing the manuscript agreement without having had it initially referred to his solicitor, he said. He agreed with Mr Brady that he had not asked for a copy to be sent to his solicitor either when he signed the contract or afterwards.

The hearing continues today.