Collins targets title unification

Boxing
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The Independent Online
Ireland's Steve Collins wants to unify the super-middleweight division and has put Nigel Benn, Thulane "Sugar Boy" Malinga and Roy Jones on his list.

The World Boxing Organisation champion laid out his plan following Saturday night's 11th-round stoppage of the British middleweight champion, Neville Brown, at the Green Glens Arena in County Cork.

Collins, 31, is determined to step up again into the super- middleweight category after two low-key defences against Brown and Cornelius Carr, following his two fights with the former champion, Chris Eubank.

Malinga may have upset the odds by dethroning Benn, but the former World Boxing Council champion is still Collins' main target. "When Benn was champion, I literally begged him to fight me but he wouldn't give me a shot - now I'm the champion and I'm prepared to give him the opportunity," Collins said.

The Irishman has also set his sights on Malinga and arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world - the International Boxing Federation champion, Jones.

However, Collins claimed: "Roy Jones is a plastic champion - he talks a lot and then fights nobody. America has no Sugar Ray Leonard, so they're making him out to be something special - it's blown out of proportion. You never hear Roy Jones saying he wants to fight Steve Collins."

Malinga, meanwhile, is more than happy to agree to Collins' request. "I'll fight Steve in Ireland - wherever he wants," he said. "The way Steve fights is the way I would want him to - he boxes just like Benn and I would do the same as I did against him. Steve should forget about fighting Benn, a beaten fighter - better to lose to a world champion."

Collins will wait for his promoter, Frank Warren, who is in Las Vegas for Frank Bruno's defence against Mike Tyson, to map out his future plans, but he still had words of praise for Brown.

"Neville Brown has a big heart and he surprised me because I thought he was finished after the second round," Collins said. "He made the mistake of mixing it with me and once he did that I knew I'd catch up with him."

Brown, who was on the floor in the first, second and 11th rounds, admitted: "I fought the wrong fight and the heavier weight made a difference. I'm a middleweight and I still feel I've something to offer on the world stage as a middleweight."

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