A former World Boxing Organisation super-middleweight champion, Collins retired from the sport 18 months ago, after apparently having given up hope of ever facing the American. But the fighter nicknamed the "Celtic Warrior", along with his solicitor, Brian De La Hunt, were at ringside to witness Jones' two-round demolition of New York's Ricky Frazier on Saturday night in Florida.
Afterwards Jones, regarded by many boxing observers as the best pound- for-pound fighter in the world, immediately challenged Collins to a showdown which is expected to net both fighters the biggest pay-days of their career. Stanley Levin, a lawyer and business advisor to Jones, said: "The date is set - 17 April. We are looking at Madison Square Garden or a venue in England or Ireland as possibilities. When Steve was with Frank Warren I tried to make the fight but couldn't - it has taken two and a half years. We still have to get the economics sorted out and will have further discussions."
On the prospect of facing Jones, 35-year-old Collins said: "I feel I have the strength to cope with anything he could throw at me and I love the thought of taking him on as the rank outsider.
"I was not given a chance against Chris Eubank and beat him twice, and everyone said Nigel Benn had the power to finish me off but the story was the same. I don't need the money at all because I am very comfortable. It is all about finding out who is the best, and that is all I ever wanted in my career."