STEVE COLLINS, THE former two-weight world boxing champion, is planning a shock return to the ring for “a 15-year grudge match” against Roy Jones Jr.
Collins retired in 1997 but the 48-year-old revealed today that he is getting ready for a bout against the American once considered the finest pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
“It’s not a comeback,” he told Richard Keys and Andy Gray on talkSPORT. “You don’t make comebacks at my age.”
Collins famously won the WBO super-middleweight title with a unanimous decision against Chris Eubank in 1995 but the Dubliner never managed to tempt Jones into a high-profile unification bout before hanging up his gloves. In 1999 he briefly came out retirement and was preparing to face Joe Calzaghe, a bout seen by many as the prelude to a meeting with Jones, when he collapsed in sparring and called off the comeback.
“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,” said Collins.
Now that 43-year-old Jones is ready to retire himself, Collins says his decision to duck the long-standing challenge is hanging in the air. No deal has been agreed with promoters and though Collins would like the fight to take place in the UK, potentially in April or May, he indicated that there has also been interest from Dubai, Russia, China as well as Hollywood actor-turned-boxer Mickey Rourke.
I think it’s a fight he needs because he claims to be one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters since the Marvin Hagler era, but the one thing that’s hanging over him is that he refused to fight me and avoided me. Even when I climbed into the ring and challenged him after one of his fights, he ran.
It’s bothering him. He’s talking about retiring and it has come up — you’ve avoided Collins.
Collins is due to undergo a medical next week and insisted that he will not risk his health if he does not get the doctors’ seal of approval.
“If the examinations aren’t 100%, forget about it, it’s not going to happen. There’s no chance of it happening if I don’t get a 100% pass from the doctors.”