Bunce on Boxing: Roy Jones and Steve Collins agree to stage another freak show

 

Roy Jones was the world's best boxer in 1999 when Steve Collins wrecked his victory celebrations and climbed through the ropes and challenged him to a fight.

"He ran like a child," remembered Collins. "I knew that he was not interested and would never be interested in giving me the fight that would get me back in the ring."

It was in Florida where Collins issued his challenge. Just seconds earlier Jones had knocked out Richard Frazier in two, one-sided rounds; Jones was fighting at light-heavyweight at that time and would move through the weights, winning a legitimate portion of the world heavyweight title in 2003, and he is still fighting now.

A few months ago a throwaway comment by Collins, the type that fighters throw like lazy jabs, upset Jones. It was nothing too outrageous but, after a bit of mischief online, the quote by Collins led to the pair speaking over the phone. The phone call led to the two fighters agreeing terms, including a split for the money, and it now looks like they will finally fight. "I said a couple of things about Roy being scared of me. It got him a bit annoyed, we spoke and now there will be a fight. I clearly said the right thing," said Collins, who was renowned for his ability to upset his opponents in the days and weeks before fights.

Collins, who is 48 and has not fought since the summer of 1997, retired as WBO super-middleweight champion. "I had been asking for Jones to fight me for years – we were the last two left at the weight. He had beaten all the Americans and I had taken care of all the Europeans [Collins beat Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn twice in world title fights]. I had to go and confront him in the end."

Jones has fought 29 times since Collins last did but it has not been an endless line of glory and now, at 44, he can look back on a decade spent flitting in and out of a boxing twilight zone of denial. There are too many images of Jones out cold or taking a beating in recent years. If Collins was not on the horizon, Jones would still be fighting.

If Jones was not still fighting then Collins insists that he would simply be enjoying life. This is not strictly about the money. "It's not a comeback, I don't have to fight again," insisted Collins, who has been in the gym hitting things since before Christmas. "This is just about me getting the only fight I ever wanted – I get Jones and I will knock him out now like I would have done 17 years ago. I told him that, he was not very happy."

Last year there was the disturbing image of Ricky Hatton collapsing in a comeback fight after just three years out of the boxing ring. Dozens of other fighters train hard, suck in their bellies and give it another go after breaks of between three and 15 years. It can end in pain, like Hatton, or just in frustration that the timing and desire are sadly no longer working in tandem.

The Collins and Jones fight could be different and would certainly be an event wherever it ends up. Dubai and South Africa remain favourite destinations for the ultimate "unfinished business" fight, but Malta and Ireland could come in with late offers.

Jones has been active but has looked far too vulnerable and easy to hit in the last few years. Collins has everything to gain and, win or lose, he will still be remembered for the Eubank and Benn wins. There will be full medical tests for Collins, including MRI scans, and when he gets his licence, which he will, the fight will take place and it will not be the biggest freak show of 2013.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?